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St. Croix’s Ralph Motta Takes Home Silver at Taste of Caribbean Culinary Competition

PROUD CHEF: Ralph Motta of St. Croix at the competition in Miami. In the photograph is Motta’s passion fruit pan-seared yellowtail snapper with sweet plantain purée, cilantro mashed potato, cilantro lime shrimp and scotch bonnet glaze with roasted coconut.

MIAMI – Trinidad and Tobago is the Caribbean National Culinary Team of the Year.

The team won top honors in the finale of the 2018 Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition at the Hyatt Regency in Miami yesterday evening, after also winning the Bartender, Best Non Alcoholic Drink and Beef categories.

Ralph Motta of St. Croix took home a silver in the individual seafood mystery basket competition while representing the territory against 12 other islands. 

Chef Motta was also part of a combined “Caribbean Strong” team from Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the USVI, which won the Tony Mack Spirit of the Competition award.

Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty congratulated “U.S. Virgin Islands Culinary Ambassador Chef Ralph Motta” for his success at the Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition which was held in Miami from June 22 to 26.

Trinidadians in winners’ row included Shana Rajahram, who won the Caribbean Bartender Competition, and Tricia Gregoire, who captured the Certified Angus Beef-sponsored Beef Competition. The Best Non Alcoholic Drink award also went to T & T.

Hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos selected their best chefs and mixologists for this year’s event.

Jamall Small from the Bahamas was crowned Caribbean Chef of the Year while teammate Hazen Rolle was named Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year. Rolle also received the Hans Schenk Commemorative Award for the Most Innovative Dish Utilizing Indigenous Ingredients.

Vadivel Raju from Turks and Caicos won the Caribbean Pastry Chef competition; Radiance Modeste of the British Virgin Islands topped the Seafood competition, while Rodney Corbin of Barbados won the Cemoi-sponsored Chocolate category.

Best Rum Drink went to Bonaire; St. Lucia topped the vodka drink category, and Best Mystery Bar Drink, sponsored by Angostura, went to Curaçao.

A combined team representing chefs from some of the Caribbean destinations that were impacted by last September’s hurricanes also competed. The team, which included members from Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, won the Tony Mack Spirit of the Competition award.

“CHTA applauds this year’s Taste of the Caribbean participants, their national hotel and tourism associations, team managers and sponsors for another incredible demonstration of passion, purpose and performance,” said Frank Comito, Director General and CEO of CHTA. “These participants are the future of tourism and the teamwork and camaraderie on display augurs well for a united Caribbean.”

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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