US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Barbados took the number one team spot at Taste of the Caribbean.

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 at Hyatt Regency Miami.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.”

For the full list of winners, visit

High resolution photos are available here.

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