St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Montpelier Plantation Inn won the Nevis Food and Mango Festival Cook-off.
They edged out Four Seasons in a head to head three course competition on Sunday afternoon at the festival grounds at Oualie Beach. Each three-member team had to prepare an appetizer, entree and dessert featuring the main ingredient, the mango.
Team Montpelier was led by Chef Halva and the Four Seasons team by Chef Garreth.
WINNFM spoke to the leader of the winning Montpelier team, Chef Halva, about his experience competing in the Nevis Food and Mango Festival Cook-Off.
WINNFM: What was it like cooking outside of a kitchen, in front of people, and under the pressure of a timed competition?
Chef Halva: The feeling was a bit overwhelming, I had a bit of doubt, it was a moment to experience for everybody, for myself, for my team, and all the other participants.
WINNFM: Your team got some criticism early on, did that dampen your spirit or did you use it to your advantage?
Chef Halva: Well we used it to our advantage because people criticize you where they believe that you can do better in whatever you are doing in life so I use criticism as a motivation.
WINNFM: How excited was the team about winning the competition?
Chef Halva: Words cannot describe how we felt, we thought that we lost to Four Seasons, we had a bit of doubt because all of the attention was directed towards us at Four Seasons but we kept our cool and were very extremely happy to know that we have won the contest.
Chief Executive Officer of the Nevis Tourism Authority Greg Phillip, says that the Nevis Food and Mango Festival was given a warm public reception, and discussed the future of the Nevis mango festival.
“The objectives we had this year were simply that it would be successful, successful from the viewpoint that the new events which we added would be well accepted by the public and also that we would have larger crowds at the Nevisian Chefs Mango Fest, that we know from yesterday was really something that we have to say was one of the greater things that we achieved we are glad for the support of all who came out. Our long-term objectives are essentially we want the Mango festival to firstly become an event that is a draw for more people to come to Nevis during summer time we know that it is going to take a few more years before we get to that point but yesterday at the conclusion of Mango Festival 2017, we are really confident that we made a significant step toward achieving that objective. We also have objectives for the festival itself as an event, as a franchise, we really and truly are thankful for it because we believe that the way in which we are progressing our other long-term objective - to make it one of the premier food festivals - in the region is achievable now.”
Mr. Phillip highlighted how important the event is to Nevis’ tourism slogan, “Nevis Naturally.”
“Well I think it’s safe to say that every single mango on Nevis is organic, so yes the play on the words, the term Nevis Naturally, it fits perfectly I think with the Nevis Food and Mango Festival, where we are not using something that is created by man, it is something that occurs naturally on the island and we are blessed, I mean we have over 40 different varieties of mangoes on Nevis, therefore what other perfect way is there to celebrate that natural side of Nevis but with embracing what we have on Nevis in abundance.”
The Nevis Mango and Food Festival runs from July 6th to the 9th and is focused on highlighting one of Nevis’ premier foods, the mango. The festival showcases the talents of both international and local chefs who participate in cooking demonstrations, cook-offs, master classes, and orchestrate dining experiences in various events that take place in Nevisian restaurants, beach bars, and hotels.