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Taste of T&T 2008 - We Does Eat Nice (article)

Posted Aug 04 2008 7:15pm

The following appeared in the Sunday Express and is being archived here for posterity in casethe original linkever expires. Interestingly it mentions a budgetary decrease for the entity that organizes the Taste… could this be part of the reason for the relative lack of promotion this year (along with a change in Tourism Ministers)? Hmmm….

We Does Eat Nice

by BC Pires

With the fourth Taste T&T Food Festival closing at the Hasely Crawford Stadium today, Jason Baptiste,

marketing director atthe TDC (the Tourism Development Company)explains the way to the tourist’s wallet might be through his stomach.

Q: What is Taste T&T?

Taste T&T is a festival under the Ministry of Tourism, with the [TDCbeing] the executing arm. We have sought to create a festival of flavours, a celebration of food and entertainment. This year we’ve expanded the festival to three parts. Two weeks ago, we had the Pot Spoon Throwdown.

We want to brand and celebrate our local food so we had the bestbake-and-shark, the bestcorn soup, bestoildowncompetition. The winners of those will be featured this Saturday and Sunday at Taste T&T.

Immediately following that will be Restaurant Week, so a lot of the gourmet chefs will have special prix fixe meals, lunch or dinner we’ll advertise and approach. So, from a two-day, we’ve made it almost a two-week festival now.

Q: You expect people to come to Trinidad for it?

Absolutely! The interest in food is tremendous and we’re creating, not just food but a festival they’re coming for: a signature event that defines Trinidad and Tobago, able to draw visitors from the Caribbean, North America. We have some international media who will write and talk about the festival.

Q: Is there live entertainment?

Three stages, more than 150 different artistes. In addition to our celebration ofsoca and calypso, it’s Chinese and belly dancers, classical music, violin quartets, tassa drummers, music festival winners-an overall experience.

Q: We’re trying to get fat people to come to Trinidad?

[Laughs]You’re giving people a reason to come. All over the world, people fly in just for culinary festivals. We’re always looking for something new, something adventurous.The New York Times did a two-page spread on [our] food last yearand calledbake-and-shark“the best sandwich in the world”. They talked about the experience of not just buying the food but of getting the food.

That’s why we have the demonstration kitchen: to show how we make our food. Just as interesting are the chefs who are fusing local recipes in a kind of fine dining experience, creating a whole new explosion of flavour.

May, traditionally, is one of our low periods. We want our people from the diaspora, visiting friends and relatives to know Taste T&T is happening this weekend so, instead of coming in March or April, [they’ll] come in May.

Q: Has Taste T&T made up its mind whether it’s a fine dining or street food festival or both?

[Eight-second pause]We think we can celebrate both. We can distinguish between them on different dates, so the Pot Spoon Throwdown before Taste T&T focuses on the local foods and the Restaurant Week following Taste T&T focuses on the gourmet. And, within Taste T&T itself, we have a bit of an equal footing. People are coming for different reasons. We have Miss Trim coming from Tobago for crab & dumpling, we havebake-and-shark. One of our objectives is to identify food that originates in Trinidad & Tobago as being part of Trinidad & Tobago. Jamaica has done very well with that: when you think of jerk chicken or patties, you think of Jamaican jerk chicken and patties.

We want to make sure that, when you think ofdoubles,“>corn soupor“>oildown, you think of Trinidad & Tobago doubles, corn soup and oildown. And those are just a few. We know we havecallalooandpelau. This is just to start the ball rolling.


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