December 1st was a big night for Hamanasi as 3 of our staff members competed in the Belize Tourism Board’s “Taste of Belize” event held in the Cayo District. This competition determines the best chef, cake decorator and bartender in Belize. Hamanasi’s chefs took home 2 of the coveted prizes and our bartender came in second! The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia opened the event, which consisted of 3 different competitions, Cake Decorating, Bartending and Master Chef for 2012. The evening kicked off with Hamanasi’s very own Executive Chef Sheridan Polanco creating an absolute masterpiece. The cake, which had a Mayan theme in honor of Maya 2012, took her just under 3 hours to decorate and won her the title of Belize’s Cake Decorator of the Year. Her inspiration was the Mayan chocolate fruit also known as “Black Sapote” which she tied into the whole story of the Mayan calendar and the history of the Mayan traditions here in Belize. Yum!! (Chef Sheridan image courtesy of San Ignacio Hotel)
The second event featured three bartenders competing for the title of Belize’s Top Bartender. Hamanasi’s “mixologist” Mark Jacobs invented 3 outstanding cocktails. The first was a Belizean Beauty, second was The Energizer and finally he wowed the crowd with his Monkey Business Creation. The final challenge was a mystery box in which he only had a few minutes to create a drink with Craboo Cream and Traveller Bitters. The result was the tangy Belizean Stinger. Mark earned second place in the competition!
The third and final event saw chefs countrywide going head to head for the title of Master Chef. The challenge: cook three meals with four mystery ingredients in one hour. After preparing a full meal made with all the mystery ingredients the panel of four judges chose Hamanasi Chef Marcia Nuñez as Belize’s Master Chef for 2012! The first elimination round was an appetizer, where Chef Marcia made a Zucchini & Sardine fritter sprinkled with a watermelon salsa. The second challenge was the main entrée. This time she created a delicious pan-fried pork chop and hibiscus cilantro potatoes drizzled with a papaya, cashew & white wine sauce. This put her into the top two ending the final challenge with dessert. This time Chef Marcia made a bacon, peanut & cream cheese wrap served with a stout reduction. Chef Marcia exclaimed, “I was so happy to win! I enjoy cooking and love to experiment with food and create new dishes filled with flavour.” And we love to eat your food, Marcia! Well done. (Chef Marcia and Bartender Mark images courtesy of The San Pedro Sun)
Hamanasi congratulates Chef Marcia, Chef Sheridan and Bartender Mark for competing well in Taste of Belize 2012. We hope to share their delicious creations with you!