The smells, tastes and spirit of the Caribbean will heat up the food scene June 22–26 at the annual Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition and Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF). The events allow chefs and mixologists to show off their skills and promote learning about the food, beverage and hospitality trades.

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) has hosted Taste of the Caribbean for 25 years and CHIEF for four. This year, they will be held at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

Tasteful Connections

Attendees can network to establish new supplier/vendor relationships and sample and purchase each other’s products at Taste of the Caribbean.

“In addition to the exciting competitions, food and beverage managers and hospitality professionals will once again participate in innovative and exciting educational sessions that promise to enhance individual skills and increase the value of their businesses,” Frank Comito, CHTA’s CEO and director general, said in a press release.

The professional development sessions are interwoven between competitions and tastings. The aim is to learn the latest trends and techniques. Topics taught will include liquid spherification, menu planning and pricing, innovative meat cutting, Bordeaux pairing with Caribbean food and a bartender masterclass.

Conversation Reigns

Taste of the Caribbean runs concurrently with CHIEF. The forum will have general sessions, which will focus on diversity and inclusion, communication strategy and the current transformation of the accommodation industry. The breakout sessions will train attendees on everything from sustainability to virtual reality technology and digital marketing.

“CHIEF has established itself as the preeminent forum for the region’s hospitality professionals to share ideas and learn from each other, and we look forward to another weekend of stimulating presentations and discussions to help our industry,” Karolin Troubetzkoy, CHTA’s president, said in a press release.

This is a chance to prepare for the many challenges hospitality professionals will face in their career, Comito added.

Spicing It Up

Countries competing are Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos. A Caribbean Strong team, composed of chefs from countries affected by September’s hurricanes, will also compete.

The general public won’t be excluded from the vibrant festivities either. On June 23, the Treetop Ballroom in Jungle Island will let the flavor run wild at Caribbean305. Sixteen Caribbean destinations will serve up authentic creations for guests to enjoy.

Food, dance, music, rum, lively colors and dynamic entertainment will represent Caribbean culture.

An open-bar with award-winning concoctions from Caribbean Hall of Fame mixologists will further enliven the party. Local celebrities, city officials and big names in the food world will also join the celebration.