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Barbados Food & Rum Festival 2023 – Unravel Travel TV

Barbados Food & Rum Festival the Caribbean’s biggest Culinary Festival returns for its 12th year. The event will take place from October 19th to 22nd 2023 under the theme “Feed the Future”.

“After a decade, we have been looking at the evolution of the Festival and we have found the perfect recipe for success. One cup of culinary talent, featuring our local chefs and mixologists; two pounds of the community; a dash of vibes as this year we have top local, regional, and international acts like Ayra Starr and Skinny Fabulous; and last but not least, a garnish of showing off to the world and inviting visitors to experience why we are the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean and the Birthplace of Rum,” said Aprille Thomas, Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications at the BTMI.

Return of Community Pop-Ups

People are at the heart of the Festival and while the official events of the Festival will take place in October; beginning this week, 26th August 2023, persons can expect a series of community pop-ups.

August 26th 2023: White Rabbit Bar from 4:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

September 9th 2023: Fisherman’s Pub from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

September 23rd 2023: Bathsheba from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

October 7th 2023: Worthing Square from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

On September 1st, 15th and 29th 2023, the BTMI will host pop-ups in the carpark at the Headquarters in Warrens from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Festival Signature Events

This year, patrons will see the return of the Festival’s seven signature events and the introduction of one new event, Bajan Fair.

On Thursday, October 19th; ‘Oistins Under the Stars’ opens the Festival. Patrons will get the opportunity to indulge in a traditional Bajan Fish Fry while enjoying the best of Barbados’ entertainment.

Friday, October 20th patrons taking part in the ‘Chef Classics’ will take part in cooking demos hosted by Food Network’s Chef Anne Burrell; Celebrity Chef, Chef Juan Diego Vanegas; and UK Masterchef winner, Chef Shelina Permalloo.

In the evening; ‘Rum Route’ takes place. During this event, people will be transported into the world of rum and learn why Barbados is known as the Birthplace of Rum.

Early Saturday morning, October 21st 2023, ‘Rise and Rum: The Breakfast Beach Party’ ; the premium all-inclusive breakfast party takes place. This event will be held on one of Barbados’ picturesque beaches.

During the day, the new event ‘Bajan Fair’ takes place! This family-friendly event replaces the Food Truck Mashup event that we had last year. The Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition’ will also take place on this day, and people are encouraged to come out and support. Twelve aspiring chefs were selected to take part in the competition for the last six weeks. Last Saturday, following an elimination round, the eight quarterfinalists were chosen and announced during last night’s Barbados Food and Rum Festival’s Sponsors and Media Launch at Fustic House, St. Lucy.

The Quarter Finalists are:

–      Dejuan Toppin

–      Rojae Griffith

–      Raphael Blenman

–      Achan Callendar

–      Mya Thornhill

–      Sian Edwards

–      Domonique Grant

–      Jade Harewood

About the Competition

The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. remains committed to empowering the next generation of Barbadian chefs.

The Junior Chefs will undergo an 8-week training which will include culinary and destination tours, challenges, and elimination rounds. For most of the rounds, contestants will work as individuals, however, there will be the occasional team challenges and they will be given the opportunity to hone their skills under the mentorship of the esteemed Chef Peter Edey.

This year a tourism component will be introduced to the competition so participants will be out in the field during the training process to get hands-on experience. Additionally, the entire competition will be filmed and curated similar to MasterChef Junior and Chopped Junior.

The final eight contestants will then compete in the semi-finals and the top four will battle in the finals to see who the next Junior Chef Champion will be. This year the stakes are higher, and the prizes are even bigger as one winner will receive BBD $3000 cash, a scholarship to the Caribbean Cuisine Culinary Institute and an internship at the historic Crane Resort Barbados.

The Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition is a signature Festival event and epitomizes the overall Festival’s theme of ‘Feed the Future’. The finals take place on Saturday, October 21st from 4 pm-7 pm at the Bajan Fair, which is a new family-friendly event added to this year’s line-up.

Admission for the Junior Chef Cook-Off Competition finals is $USD 15.

In the evening, three of our international chefs will be hosting a ‘Journey of Food’ private dinner at different restaurants. Celebrity Chef, Renee Blackman will be hosting her dinner at O2 Beach Club; UK Masterchef Winner, Shelina Permalloo will be hosting her dinner at All Seasons Resort; and Celebrity Chef, Juan Diego Vanegas will be hosting his dinner at Colony Club. These dinners will begin at 7:00 p.m. Families can enjoy an unforgettable day filled with food, rides, toys and so much more!

The Festival ends with its ultra-premium event, Liquid Gold Feast’ on Sunday, October 22nd 2023.

Sponsors Announcement

As the Festival evolves, the BTMI recognizes the importance of being inclusive and creating opportunities for everyone to get involved. Last year, The Festival was opened up for corporate Barbados to come on board to partner with the BTMI to have their brands featured on the global stage.

It would not be Food and Rum without the Rum and BTMI welcomes Cockspur and Mount Gay as the official Rum Partners.

Gold Sponsors this year are:

–       CIBC First Caribbean Bank

–      Roberts Manufacturing

–      Massy Group

Silver Sponsors are:

–      WIRD (West Indies Rum Distillery)

–      Emerging Brands Barbados

–      Bajan 1966 Rum

–      Go! Insect Repellent

–      Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC)

Hotel Partners are:

–      The Crane Resort

–      O2 Beach Club Barbados

–      Colony Club Hotel

–      All Seasons Resort

Friends of the Festival this year are:

–      Rubis

–      Event Hub

–      National Cultural Foundation

Media Partners this year are:

–      Power Broadcasting

–      Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

–      Nation Publishing

–      Capital Media HD

–      Hitz FM

–      Starcom Network

“The BTMI serves as the marketing arm of the destination and we are investing heavily in the promotion of the Festival across the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. All of these sponsors will benefit from that exposure here and internationally. Our local advertising campaign kicks off tomorrow, and we are looking forward to seeing Food and Rum take over the streets and the airwaves of Barbados,” said Craig Hinds, Acting CEO, BTMI.

Culinary Promotions

The aim of the BTMI is to bring visitors to our shores to enjoy different events throughout the year; and the Festival has become a welcomed staple in Barbados’ calendar that many look forward to attending.

“Our teams across the source markets in the USA, UK, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, have been aggressively promoting the Food and Rum Festival to our audiences abroad with the aim of increasing visitor arrivals to the destination,” said Hinds.

BTMI, Director, Public Relations and Corporate Communications said that ticket sales have been performing well and they expect tickets to be sold out well before the Festival.

“The Festival is on track to achieve its goal of a 60:40 split in ticket sales between local and international attendees,” said Thomas.

Culinary Talent

This year, the BTMI has partnered with 22 talented chefs and mixologists to elevate this year’s Festival and Executive Chef of the 2023 Barbados Food and Rum Festival, Henderson Butcher announced them.

With chefs to pastry chefs to vegan chefs and mixologists; there will be a little bit of everything on the menu to be enjoyed by everyone.

Award-winning Chefs

Talented Liquid Artistes

Damian Leach

Philip Antoine

Javon Cummins

Shane McClean

Seth Hasin-Bromley

Natasha Jules

Trevon Stoute

Jamaal Bowen

Shaunte Flatts

Rohan Hackshaw

Jamal Whittaker

Antonio Busby

Adrian Cumberbatch

Alex Chandler

Ann-Marie Leach

Marvin Applewaite

Nicholas Ifill

Rodney Corbin

Kiara Riley

Shanese Phoenix

Creig Greenidge

Steffi Sealy

This year, four international chefs will take part in this year’s Festival.

–      Food Network’s Chef Anne Burrell from the USA;

–      Celebrity Chef, Chef Reneé Blackman from the USA;

–      UK MasterChef, Chef Shelina Permalloo;

–      and from Colombia, Chef Juan Diego Vanegas

“Everyone has been saying that this is shaping up to be the best Food and Rum Festival ever. We have been nominated at the World’s Culinary Awards for the Caribbean’s Best Food Festival. I am confident that we will be victorious when the winners are announced in Dubai in October. So, let’s take a moment to celebrate our culinary talent; the heart and soul of the Festival,” said Butcher.

Partnership with Condé Nast

Once again, the BTMI has partnered with Condé Nast to position Barbados as a top culinary destination. This year’s partnership will continue to garner international appeal, excitement, and interest in the Festival well ahead of the official start date of the Festival.

Condé Nast will host a series of creative digital content to highlight the island’s cuisine and historical influences as well as Instagram takeovers and email blasts to their millions of followers so that people will keep the upcoming Food and Rum Festival in front of mind.

For more information on the Festival and to purchase tickets to the events, visit