When it comes to covering all the basis during Haitian Heritage Month, food is definitely on top of the list. Orchestrated by the Haitian Culinary Alliance, the 2nd annual Taste of Haiti was definitely an absolute blast. Now I’m not just saying that because I happen to be a judge a the Madam Gougousse Chef Cookoff…on did I mention that I was a judge?!! yes I was ..LOL
I had the pleasure to sit alongside Celebrity Chef Amadeus, Frere Joel Trimble host of the popular show La Bonne Nouvelle in Haiti, Celebrity Chef Hugh Sinclair from Irie Spice, Celebrity Chef Ivan Dorvil from the Food Network and last but not lease Celebrity guest Roberto Martino of T-VICE. I was indeed sitting among royalty of the culinary industry. A true honor it has been.
The Chef Cook off featured the best of the best of upcoming Haitian chefs, on the panel were Chef David Destinoble the runner up of last year’s competition, Chef Landdy Antoine, Chef Gino Belancourt and Chef Markens Isidor .
The task was to put together a dish comprised of these ingredients: Petit Mil, Goat, “Tayo” (malanga) and Guava. Needless to say the competition was fierce. The chefs only had 45 mns to put a delicious dish together that would be judged on 5 categories Taste:
- Culinary skills
- Use of Ingredients
These were my thoughts:
Dish #1 : Chef David Destinoble
The keyword here was KISS…Keep It Simply Simple, I appreciated the fact that all ingredients were used to their purpose, the goat was definitely the best cooked, it literally melted in my mouth and had the right amount of spices, the Petit Mil had the perfect texture and love the fact that you couldn’t tell you were eating grains. The guava sauce added an excellent accent to the dish.
In my book I gave it 4 stars.
Dish #2: Chef Landdy Antoine
“Se sa yo rele bon jan fanm Ayisienne lan” (That’s what you call a true Haitian woman) . Every Haitian woman knows that peppers are the key ingredients to any Haitian dish as well as the key to Haitian men’s heart, you should have seen Roberto’s face when he tasted Landdy’s dish he couldn’t stop talking about the “Piman” that was in it….PRICELESS!!! Indeed her dish was unforgettable, for it depicted that kick that the dish needed. The goat also melted in my mouth and the hash of vegetables created a great addition to the medley of flavors it needed. Now let’s be clear I’m not a lover of spicy food, however I can appreciate the signature taste of Landdy’s masterpiece.
I also give it a 4 stars
Dish #3: Chef Gino Belancourt
Unfortunately that was my least favorite, I don’t like fighting with my food, the goat was still a bit hard when it came to the plate, the Petit Mil didn’t really have much flavor, however the puree could have saved the dish if perhaps it was presented with the vegetables and guava only. I could appreciate Chef Gino’s knife skills though, his speed was to be applauded. Time was of the essence. I can understand that 45mns wasn’t much time to create the perfect dish but indeed I think there is room for improvement.
I give it a 3 star rating.
Dish #4: Chef Markens Isidor
Chef Markens has proven to be an innovator in his field. His dish was indeed every judge’s favorite. I mean who doesn’t like mangoes?!!! He was definitely the most creative of all. By infusing little sticks of sugar cane into the goat and coupling it with the fruity flavors of mangoes and sweet plantain, was totally genius!!. It gave it an unique Caribbean twist with a mix of different flavors appealing to the palette.
I give it 5 stars
When all was said and done Chef Markens Isidor won the Cook Off through and through with a compilation of 224 points, he knocked the competition out of the park. Congratulations again Chef Markens!!
Overall I had a blast and I can’t wait to do it next year. It was an eventful experience and I will be ready to discover the new talents of the culinary industry that my dear country is so tactfully hiding LOL.
GAUTREAUX MEDIA PRODUCTION
SPECIAL THANKS TO JIMMY MOISE, CHEF DAVID DESTINOBLE AND CHEF ALAIN LEMAIRE
THANK SO MUCH FOR THESE AWESOME PICTURES ( GO ON TO FACEBOOK AND LIKE TASTE OF HAITI TO SEE MORE PICTURES: