The City of Hamilton’s Taste of Bermuda culinary experience attracted more than 5,000 attendees this past weekend, leaving tastebuds tingling and stomachs satisfied!
The three-day event brought throngs of foodies to the streets of Hamilton for the biggest curated food-centric event in Bermuda and one of the most anticipated events of the year!
The City’s Director of Marketing and Communications Jessica Astwood said, “We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout at Taste of Bermuda this year. Tickets sold out almost immediately for Set the Bar: Cocktail Competition as well as Front Street Formal: Live Dining Experience – which we feel is a testament to the confidence the public has in this event being an unmissable experience! To all of the participants, the emcees, our sponsors, and of course to all those who came out and enjoyed Taste of Bermuda, I hope we satisfied your tastebuds and delivered an event you’ll not soon forget.”
On Friday evening, the City teamed up with Bacardi at their headquarters to present Set the Bar: Cocktail Competition, Bermuda’s premier cocktail competition, featuring speciality products, flair bartending and delicious creations.
Five local bartenders – Matt Francis (Co-owner of The Blind Pig Cocktail Co.), Keirston Samuels (Intrepid), Stefan Dill (Devil’s Isle), Janico Burrows (Green House Bermuda) and DeJavon Paynter (Intrepid) – all brought their A-game to the table and wowed a packed house of more than 200 assembled guests with their impressive skills.
Ultimately it was Stefan Dill from Devil’s Isle who took home the winning prize with his delicious cocktail medley of Angle Envy, St. Germain, Sweet Vermouth, Creme de Cocoa, Simple Syrup and Lime Juice.
A full list of prizes are as follows:
• 1st Place – $500, a 2-night stay at the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club, Bacardi product, a Golden Shaker and the Taste of Bermuda Trophy: Stefan Dill (Devil’s Isle)
• 2nd Place – $300, Bacardi product, a bartending kit: Matt Francis (The Blind Pig Cocktail Co.)
• 3rd Place – $100, Bacardi product: DeJavon Paynter (Intrepid)
• People’s Choice Award – Premium bar kit from The Chef Shop and Bacardi product: DeJavon Paynter (Intrepid)
Participants and their cocktails were judged on visual appeal, balance of flavours and taste, creativity/originality, inventive use of ingredients, knowledge and accuracy of the recipe, and time of production.
Judges were Tiffany Swan (Bartrain Bermuda at Bermuda College), Matt Conway (International Guest Flair Bartending Champion) and Danielle Paynter (Bacardi Director of Corporate Affairs). DJ Chubb and hosts Laurel Burns and Vernon Pemberton kept energy levels high throughout the evening.
On Saturday night, Front Street Formal: Live Dining Experience proved a huge success when Front Street was shut down in style to assemble Bermuda’s longest dinner table. More than 250 attendees dressed all in white and indulged in a 3-course plated meal with wine pairings and enjoyed live local entertainment showcases and the hosting talents of Alex ‘Symone’ Williams, closing out the evening out with a nightcap and dancing in the centre of Hamilton’s most iconic street to music by The Wall Street, In-Motion School of Dance: Ballet dancers, and DJ Rusty G. Part proceeds from the dinner will go towards the Bermuda Red Cross.
Sunday afternoon featured the Tasting Village: Festival of Flavours – a lively street festival which offered a range of entertainment, an ultimate kid’s zone (inclusive of free bouncy castles, giant slide, zipline, rock climbing wall, ball pits, mini golf, face-painting and roller skating) and culinary delights served up via Bermuda’s most beloved food vendors and culinary institutions along Front Street.
Hosts Patrina Power Girl O’Connor & Nadanja Bailey kept audiences engaged, entertained and informed throughout the fun-packed afternoon while DJ Chubb lived up to his reputation as one of Bermuda’s most-popular DJs.
The flagpole viewing stand was transformed into a culinary stage and activated with upbeat cooking demos. Ashley’s Lemonade provided a live and interactive demonstration to show spectators how to make their very own fresh lemonade and there was even a ‘build your own fruit pizza’ station and popular ‘libation station’.
There was something to suit all tastes and satisfy any craving at the street festival, with a variety of food available, from Caribbean and Mexican-inspired cuisine to sweet treats and gourmet teas! There were pie-eating competitions; food and cooking demonstrations and performances by Bermuda Jump Rope Federation, Warwick Gombeys and Rated E Dance Crew, as well as a flair bartending showcase by international guest and champion, Matt Conway.
The City successfully partnered with PTIX for the ticket sales which resulted in participating vendors at the Tasting Village generating $53,358 in revenue collectively. The City consulted with environmental group Beyond Plastics prior to the event to discuss ways to reduce single-use plastics during the festival. At the Tasting Village attendees received reusable trays and cups.
This year, the City was honoured to be joined by special guest Celebrity Chef Anne Burrell. Mrs Burrell is an American chef, television personality, published author and former instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education. She is the host of the Food Network show Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and co-host of Worst Cooks in America. In 2015, she won the fourth instalment of the Chopped All-Stars tournament. She also hosted the series Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell from 2012 to 2013. Mrs. Burrell has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York. On Sunday Anne took part in two cooking demonstrations at the City’s Tasting Village followed by a book signing. She also spoke on Friday with Bermuda College culinary students to impart her knowledge and inspire a generation of aspiring chefs.
Prizes were awarded for the ‘Best of the Fest’ – a public vote cast in person at the Tasting Village for attendees’ favourite vendor. Prizes included the newest Samsung Galaxy flip phone courtesy of One Communications, a gift certificate from International Chef Shop and a trophy. The winner was The Cloud (1st Place), and NovelTea received runner-up (2nd Place).
Mrs. Astwood added: “The City would like to thank our sponsors, Bermuda Tourism Authority, Bermuda General Agency, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Gosling’s Ltd, Burrows Lightbourn Ltd., Exclusive Group of Companies, Bacardi Ltd., John Barritt & Son Ltd., Bermuda Rentals, Ultimate Grills, International Chef Shop and One Communications for helping us to showcase our island’s culture, celebrate our community and support Bermuda businesses through this one-of-a-kind event. It is through this collaborative effort that Taste of Bermuda has become the biggest curated food-centric event in Bermuda and one of the most anticipated events of the year, for both residents and visitors alike, attracting thousands of attendees each year.
“This bespoke culinary experience has been designed to create an atmosphere which connects attendees collectively with both old traditions and new trends in the culinary industry while also adding to our tourism product. One of the reasons for the event’s success is that Taste of Bermuda appeals to such a wide range of Bermuda’s residents and visitors – from those seeking family-friendly activities for the weekend to those interested in unique, memorable eating, drinking and entertainment experiences and anyone with a simple love of food!”
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