Young people from North-East Tobago were encouraged to tap into their passion for the culinary arts as a means of creating brighter futures. Such was the goal of the Young People Can Cook Competition which was held on Saturday June 1, at Castara Bay. When the smoke cleared, Team Salt Bae beat out Limitless Eats (second place) and Super At Time (third place) to win full scholarships to the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (THTI). The initiative was hosted by Division of Sport and Youth Affairs (DSYA) in collaboration with THTI.
During the event, the three teams of five were tasked with creating a healthy meal and drink using distinctive ingredients. The creations included sauteed Snapper, cucumber and fish cups, “Yabba” soup and pasta in a cream cheese sauce. The winning dish was comprised of fish steamed with garlic butter, cassava balls stuffed with cheese accompanied by a pineapple salsa and orange/carrot Juice. All participants were between the ages of 15 to 29 and hailed from communities such as Castara, Parlatuvier and L’Anse Fourmi. The judges were Chef Shannon Skeete, Chef Arthur Patrick (THTI) and Chef Andre Church (THTI). Teams were judged on creativity, taste, texture, cleanliness and other criteria. The day of fun-filled activity also featured a head to head “Spectator Challenge” and informative display booths.
Youth Auxiliary in the Department of Youth Affairs (DYA) Laverne Manswell-Clarke expressed her satisfaction with the programme. She highlighted, “I am really pleased with the turnout of the competition and the passion displayed by the young people. Today we had the opportunity to expose the youth to invaluable experiences which will develop them holistically and bring them closer to finding their purpose. The aim is to spread this initiative throughout Tobago.”
In the aftermath of his team’s victory, Salt Bae’s Captain, Daveon Williams shared, “I’m happy and excited that we won. This was an opportunity to better my skills because one day I want to have my own restaurant. This competition was a stepping stone for me. It was a little challenging, but rewarding and I was able to meet new people as well.”
In his final comments Chef Arthur Patrick admonished the youth to continue honing their skills. He noted, “You all did a great job today and I want you to keep going. With practice comes improvement and you can achieve anything going forward.”