Chef Amy Knox wins at CHA "Taste of the Caribbean"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 38            October 16, 2003

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Chef Amy Knox

Belize was well represented last week by resident chefs who brought home two silver and two bronze medals from the Caribbean Hotel Association's (CHA) "Taste of the Caribbean 2003" culinary competition in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. San Pedro Chef Amy Knox of Victoria House Resort was one of three Belize delegates who earned a Caribbean Food and Beverage Award of Excellence. Chef Amy was presented a silver medal at the awards, which honor food and beverage professionals from around the Caribbean.

    Also earning accolades were Chef Rob Pronk of the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina, and Jason O'Campo from Harbour View Grill in Belize City. Pronk earned a silver medal in the beef category and a bronze medal in the pork category. He also nabbed a bronze medal for an exquisite ice carving he created and earned the distinguished Individual Effort Award. Jason O'Campo won a silver medal in the pork division.

    Chef Amy Knox exclaimed, "It was a wonderful experience to witness so many people from different regions ėcreating' together. I really enjoyed myself and am proud to have represented Belize."

    Chef Amy also provided The San Pedro Sun with information on the competition as follows: The competition was a culmination of 12 competing national teams and individual competitors who had won titles and awards for their ėTastes' in their respective countries. Being named Chef of the Year at the Taste of Belize, I had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica to watch the teams in competition, attend seminars and witness all the action and fun. 

    The BTB and American Airlines provided my transportation to attend this event. Prior to leaving for the competition, other winners of the Taste of Belize tried to create a national team to represent Belize, but to no avail. To compete, three nationals, one manager, one pastry chef and one bartender are needed. With only five months, it was hard to pull a team together so fast.

    As competing in the team events was not possible, I contacted the Caribbean Culinary Federation that was running the event and they informed me that there would be individual competitions. I jumped at the chance and informed some of the other Taste of Belize winners.

    With newfound ambition, I worked hard at developing a recipe that could possibly win me a medal at the Taste of the Caribbean. 

    The event in Jamaica was different than the one held in Belize. Here, we were given a pantry of items to work with and a mystery basket containing the main ingredient of our dish. In the Taste of the Caribbean, we could choose which main ingredient category we wanted to compete in, plus we had to supply our own ingredients. Also, we had to submit (in advance) a written recipe of the item we were preparing. 

    We were graded on a point system that judged taste and presentation of the dish, our hygiene while preparing the dish, our timeliness, our skill, the difficulty of the dish, and our use of Caribbean ingredients and flavors. There were 11 people competing in each category of individual competition.

    The categories were beef, fish, pork, lamb and chicken. I competed in the individual fish competition with ėChili Seared Snapper Towers,' which is a rendition of a dish that is currently on the menu at Victoria House. I ended up winning the silver medal for the individual fish competition.

    Taste of the Caribbean is an annual affair, which showcases the development and refinement of Contemporary Caribbean Cuisine. The three-day event was sponsored by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and the Caribbean Culinary Federation (CCF).

    Congratulations to Chef Amy Knox and her fellow Belizean delegates for a job well done!
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