Think fish chowders, rum cakes, exotic dishes combining steak, potatoes, avocado, curry and fruit salsa. Bermudian cooking is very much alive and ready to build a bridge with the rest of the world. To showcase the island’s emerging culinary talents, the Bermuda Hospitality Institute created the Rising Chef of the Year Competition, an annual cooking challenge that brings the most innovative creations to the Bermudian table. The five-day competition is organised in a progressive elimination format, with 12 chefs selected each year to participate in the four semi-final rounds. Contestants have 25 minutes to prepare and plate an entrée with the ingredients in the Mystery Basket — a blend of local meat, produce and spices. Spectators get to sample each entrée, which is served with wine and dessert. Each night one competitor wins the “Audience Favorite” category and one wins a place in the Final Round, where only four chefs will compete for prizes, including all-expense-paid trips and gift certificates. The final judging panel includes local hospitality personalities, who grade taste, presentation, originality and work ethic. The 2013 winner was Keishe Simmons. Livio Ferigo, the executive chef and owner of Bone Fish Bar & Grill, says he believes the competition will only grow bigger, as it has already blossomed into a major local event, with tickets selling out in as little as two days. “Being a chef in today’s world is a wonderful opportunity,” says Chef Ferigo. “You can travel the world, open your own business, be your own boss. Our young people need to hear from us what it is all about so they can consider a career in this business.” For more information on the 2014 edition of Rising Chef of the Year, visit bhi.bm, the official website of the Bermuda Hospitality Institute.
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