Eleuthera National Young Chef Culinary Winners accepts awards from Keyshan Bastian, Assistant Director of Education.
Eleuthera National Young Chef Culinary Winners accepts awards from Keyshan Bastian, Assistant Director of Education.

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Emotions ran high with streaming tears, broad smiles and unreadable expressions during the award ceremony of the 26th Bahamas Young Culinary Competitions, Friday, March 16, 2018.

Alyssa Neely and Avery Hall both from the island of Eleuthera are the 2018 winners of the National Junior Young Chef Competition and the National Senior Young Chef Competition respectively.


Hall, a student of Preston Albury High School, received a gold medal and $1,750 prize and Neely, a student of Samuel Guy Pinder All-Age School, received a gold medal and $650 prize. The ceremony was held at Marriott Courtyard Hotel.

In addition to Eleuthera, schools fielded students from other islands including Acklins, Andros, Cat Island, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Long Island, San Salvador.  New Providence schools were also represented.  The students put their skills into practice and concocted dishes to the theme “Infusing the Flavours of My Island: Dis We Bahamas.”

Students were required to participate at the school, district, then national levels. Competitions included the National Junior Young Chef, National Senior Young Chef, Young Chef Cupcake Challenge, Young Chef Signature Pastry and Young Chef Mystery Basket Hot Food.

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BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.

Keyshan Bastian, Assistant Director of Education with responsibility for Career and Technical Education, told the students that they are “gifted” and “educated” beyond measure. She urged them to take the knowledge and skills they have acquired to the next level.

“Cause the chefs you have touched bases with to remember you. Whatever you do in life autograph it with excellence,” she said.

Mrs. Bastian thanked parents for investing in their children and acknowledged the Ministry of Tourism, judges from the Bahamas Culinary Association, coaches and sponsors for their contributions.

In reflection, Chef Rolle, who served as a judge, recalled that 26 years ago he represented Freeport in the same competition.

Chef Rolle credited the competition to his ability to climb the ranks to his present position of Senior Head Chef at Atlantis.

“This is one of the greatest ‘starts’ for students,” he said. “Take it by the hand and run with it.”

He urged the students to listen to their coaches and nag their parents not for the latest electronic gadgets but for a chef knife or a small kitchen appliance.

Tasmaine Coleman, International Admissions officer at Johnson and Wales University confirmed that the first, second and third winners in the Senior Culinary Competition will participate in a culinary bootcamp during the summer.   She also announced that 4 to 5 senior participants in the competition are eligible to apply for 4-year scholarships worth up to $15,000 in tuition at Johnson and Wales University.

The competition is sponsored by the Ministry of Education. Participating sponsors include Mahatma Rice and Robin Hood Flour.

The following are the winners in the 2018 competitions.

  • Senior High Young Chef Culinary competition winners
    • 4th- Antrinique Winston (Huntley Christie High- Andros Island)
    • 3rd – Australia Hanna (Queen’s College – New Providence Island)
    • 2nd – Azavier Cox (Inagua All Age School)
    • 1st – Avery Hall (Preston Albury High – Eleuthera)
  • Junior Young Chef Culinary winners
    • 4th – Ceanna Fox (N.G.M. Major – Long Island)
    • 3rd – Melony Thelus (Patrick J. Bethell High School — Abaco)
    • 2nd – Tevin Wright (H. O. Nash — New Providence)
    • 1st – Alyssa Neely (Samuel Guy Pinder All Age School — Spanish Wells, Eleuthera)Winners of Bahamas

Young Chef Specialty Competitions

(Teams include 2-persons)Young Chef

  • Junior Cupcake Challenge-
    • 3rd – Micquel Cartwright/Kristen Ingraham (Preston Albury High – Eluethera)
    • 2nd- Mckell Saunders /Glen Rolle (Old Bight High – Cat Island)
    • 1st – Camaule Coakley /Noelle Symonette (Anatol Rodgers High – New Providence)
  • Young Chef Senior High Cupcake Challenge
    • 3rd – Antonesha Thompson /Ativa Collie (C. R. Walker Senior – New Providence)
    • 2nd – Shaelyn Sands/Ranad Davis (Samuel Guy Pinder All Age)
    • 1st – Broneka Williams / Kondonae Brown (C. C. Sweeting Senior High  — New Providence)
  • Bahamas Young Chef Mystery Basket (Hot Food)
    • 3rd – Andrea Greene / Shandera Dawkins (Arthur’s Town High — Cat Island)
    • 2nd – Shealyn Sands / Ranad Davis (Samuel Guy Pinder — Spanish Wells, Eluethera)
    • 1st – Denae Clarke / Gabriel Williams (L.N. Coakley High – Exuma)
  • Bahamas Young Chef Signature Pastry Competition Winners
    • 3rd – Harvey Pratt/Jasmine Burrows (Old Bight High — Cat Island)
    • 2nd – Deltinique Greene/Kajah Pinder (Patrick J. Bethell High — Abaco)
    • 1st – Avery Hall/Joshua Claridge (Preston Albury High – Eleuthera)

By Kathryn Campbell