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MIAMI (June 26, 2019) – Barbados was named the Caribbean National Culinary Team of the Year, while Jason Thomas Ao of the Cayman Islands was crowned Caribbean Chef of the Year when the 2019 Taste of the Caribbean competition results were announced last night at Hyatt Regency Miami.

Jason Thomas Ao of the Cayman Islands is the 2019 Caribbean Chef of the Year.

Taste of the Caribbean featured 14 Caribbean destinations, competing in a friendly but intense battle for cooking supremacy.

The culinary tournament was held in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) annual industry conference, the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) from June 21-23, and the Caribbean305 culinary and cultural consumer celebration on Saturday.

The teams included the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.

Hazen Rolle of the Bahamas was named Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year. From left is CHTA’s CEO Frank Comito, President Patricia Affonso-Dass and judge Peter Olsacher.

Hazen Rolle of the Bahamas was crowned Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year; Rajasekar Ravindran of Turks and Caicos Islands named Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year; while Bonaire’s Dhanesh De Kok and Elise Weerstand took home the glory in the beef and chocolate competitions respectively. The Cayman Islands’ Dimuth Munasingha reigned supreme in the seafood category.

Caribbean Bartender of the Year Jurnick Merced of Curaçao celebrates in Miami.

The Caribbean Bartender of the Year award went to Jurnick Merced of Curaçao, and his nation also won Best Vodka Drink. Trinidad and Tobago won Best Non-Alcoholic Drink, St. Lucia captured Best Rum Drink, while Cayman Islands won Best Mystery Bar Drink.

Grenada won the Josue Merced-Reyes Spirit of the Competition award, while Floris van Loo of Bonaire took home Tony Mack Spirit of the Competition honors.

“We congratulate this year’s Taste of the Caribbean participants, their national hotel and tourism associations, team managers and sponsors for an exhibition of excellence, competitive spirit and camaraderie,” said Patricia Affonso-Dass, President of CHTA. “The future of food and beverage in the region is undoubtedly in good hands.”

Rajasekar Ravindran of Turks and Caicos Islands was named Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year. From left is CHTA’s Frank Comito and Patricia Affonso-Dass, and judge Augusto Schreiner.

For the full list of winners, visit

High resolution photos are available upon request.

Taste of the Caribbean’s host sponsor was Interval International, while House of Angostura® was the Bartender of the Year sponsor. Event sponsors included The Best Dressed Chicken, Certified Angus Beef®, Figment Design, Food Export USA – Northeast, Marketplace Excellence, MasterCard, OBMI, RAK Porcelain, U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S Pork, and the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. Product sponsors included Angostura® Orange Bitters, Certified Angus Beef®, Food Export USA – Northeast, Halperns’ Purveyors of Steak and Seafood, PromiseLand, RAK Porcelain, Superior Farms, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and U.S. Pork. For further information, visit

About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 50 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.

For further information, visit


2019 Taste of the Caribbean Winners
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