Barbados Food and Rum Festival 2018 returns with Michelin-Starred British Chef Tom Aikens
From 18-21st October, the sun-drenched island of Barbados will once again celebrate its world-famous Food and Rum Festival. Now in its ninth season, the event promises to be the biggest and best yet, a true celebration of gastronomic art and rum in all its glorious varieties, ending the ‘Year of Culinary Experiences’ with a bang.
The British born culinary genius Tom Aikens is best identified for his innovative home-cooked meals and best-selling books. He will be joining the four-day celebration of Barbadian cuisine as an official ambassador, encouraging his fan base to journey with him to experience the informative tastings, fun cocktail classes and tropical Bajan vibes on the sun soaked shores of Barbados.
This year, the festival line-up includes an opening night to remember with the Oistins Bay Gardens cook off, food and rum pairings at the ‘Taste of the Exotic’ signature event on the evening of Friday 19th October. On Saturday, a Gourmet Safari series will take place at various locations across the island, and the climax will be on Sunday at Holder’s Polo Field for the beloved ‘Taste the Spirit of Polo’ event.
Among the featured chefs for 2018 are Barbados’ own Damian Leach, Taste of the Caribbean Chef of the Year 2018; Craig Greenidge, owner and executive chef of CM Catering; Michael Harrison, executive chef of Camelot restaurant at Cobbler’s Cove, and pastry guru Javon Cummins of Tapestry restaurant.
Here at The Wealth Scene, we have been given exclusive access to Tom Aikens to find out all about his ambassador role and why he is so fond of the culinary capital of the Caribbean.
How much does travel influence your food?
Every time I travel whether it’s in the UK, Europe or other parts of the world, I am always interested in the local culture, food, restaurants, bars and food markets. It is important to me to really understand what the locals enjoy about their city and country, immersing yourself in the food and culture of a destination is certainly the best way to experience it. I always try to eat something unique to the destination, something that I won’t have tried before. For example in Barbados, I tried Macaroni Pie for the first time a few years ago – it is delicious, make sure you give it a go! Different cultures use different cooking methods; you can learn so much by watching and recreating, I try to incorporate what I have learned when designing new recipes in my restaurants. This year, I am really looking forward to being back on the island for my ambassador role. The food in Barbados is great as it’s simple and fresh but very tasty, I can’t wait to be sampling the food and creations from the island’s talented chefs.
Where’s your favourite country and/or city?
Barbados is definitely one of them, as it is so rich in experiences. Food wise it’s outstanding because of the broad spectrum on offer, from local street food and Oistins Fish Fry to higher end establishments like Tides, The Cliff & Cobblers Cove. I am a firm believer in it being the people who make an experience and the warmth and friendliness of everyone I’ve met in Barbados is unrivalled, plus the weather is good too. Barbados has a natural charm and beauty that cannot be beaten, I will try and visit Bottom Bay beach whilst I am on the island and make sure I indulgence in a couple of rum cocktails – it would be rude not to!
Tell us a little about your role as ambassador…
I love being part of this amazing event and I can’t wait to get back. The atmosphere is great; everyone truly gets into the spirit of things and has a blast. It is a real celebration of Bajan food and rum, with cook-offs and taster events plus, new for this year is a gourmet safari series. I will be there to celebrate the wonderful cuisine, offer advice to the local chefs and most of all, enjoy the fabulous food.
More information is available at the website: www.foodandrum.com