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Bonaire’s Awards Include Nine Medals, Leading With the Overall Winner of Caribbean Chocolate Competition

The Bonaire Culinary Team at Taste of the Caribbean 2017.

The Bonaire Culinary team was on fire at Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean Awards on June 6, as the team took home nine medals. Taste of the Caribbean is a culinary competition which takes place each June in Miami, Florida.

In recent years, Bonaire has earned the reputation as having some of the best chefs in the entire Caribbean, presenting diverse cuisine to offer both visitors and residents.

Sherundly Pernabela, Overall Winner of the Chocolate Taste of the Caribbean CompetitionThe Bonaire Culinary Team 2017 was formed with Senior Chef Miguel Saragoza, Chef Sherundly Bernabela, Junior Chef Dustin Libiee, Pastry Chef Maria Mastrangelo, Bartender Kelvin Ventura, Head Coach Floris van Loo and team.

The team brings home nine medals.

The Bonaire awards included:

  • Overall Winner: Caribbean Chocolate Competition: Sherundly “Shur” Bernabela, for his very creative “Tropical Bonaire Paradise” showcasing Bonaire’s salt mountains, its sea and land elements for which Bonaire is so famous; Shur also competed in the seafood competition and won a bronze medal with his dish preparing a colorful plate with red snapper and shrimp.
  • Gold: Caribbean Chef of the Year: Miguel Saragoza
  • Gold: Caribbean Junior Chef of the Year: Dustin Libiee with his “Dry-rubbed Tera Cora beef medallion & green herb and citrus snapper”
  • Silver: Caribbean Beef Competition: Miguel “Poppy” Saragoza, with a dish which included a superb Bonaire style ceviche. Miguel also won a silver medal for the individual beef competition in which he prepared this meat 4 different ways and combined with modern Bonairean twists in using vegetables and seasoning
  • Silver: Caribbean National Team of the Year: Bonaire
  • Bronze: Caribbean Bartender of the Year: Kelvin Ventura for his use of fresh and well balanced flavors accomplished in all his four different cocktails using local ingredients
  • Bronze: Caribbean Seafood Competition: Sherundly Bernabela
  • Honorary Mention: Caribbean Pastry Chef of the Year: Maria Mastrangelo

Bonaire's Culinary Team at 2017 Taste of the Caribbean

The full team, led by manager Floris van Loo, delivered on their promise to showcase not only talent, but also excellent team work by winning a silver medal for the Team of the Year competition, a three-course lunch, which included the mouth-watering dessert prepared by pastry chef Maria Mastrangelo, using locally picked Shimaruku berries.

About Taste of the Caribbean.

Kelvin Ventura making his rum cocktail at the 2017 Taste of the CaribbeanTaste of the Caribbean is a yearly culinary competition for professional chefs and bartenders organized by CHTA. Since 1993, the best chefs and culinary teams unite to learn and demonstrate their professional skills. They provide the general public a scintillating exhibition of the most savory and delectable treats in the Caribbean.

(Source:  TCB, Bonhata)


Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 

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