Champagne is synonymous with celebration, glamour, and the good life. This year Veuve Clicquot, through Caribbean Cellars, recognizing the 'good life' that goes with yachts and fabulous food, was one of the premium sponsors of the prestigious and competitive Culinary Contest, now in its 6th year at the BVI Charter Yacht Society Boat Show.
The charter yacht chefs presented their dishes by the Village Cay Marina swimming pool. The judges, Executive Chefs Davide Pugliese, owner of the Brandywine Restaurant; Andy Nedenthal of Scrub Island, and Kenneth Molyneaux of Penn Hotels, were joined by contest coordinator and judge, Captain Jan Robinson, owner and author of Ship to Shore Inc.
The Awards ceremony was held at the Governor's House, with awards presented by Governor Boyd McCleary, and Janet Oliver, Executive Director of the Charter Yacht Society. The overall winner received a magnum of Veuve Clicquot champagne from Caribbean Cellars, a Bulova diamond dial watch with two-tone mother of pearl face and gold/stainless-steel strap, donated by Columbian Emeralds, and a write-up in All At Sea magazine.
Overall Winner of this year's competition was Caro Uy of the Catamaran Toucan Play.
Caro, 40, was born in Australia, and describes her family as obsessive 'foodies'.
"Before saying hello, father would say have you eaten. Mother was a great cook," says Caro, "and we grew up eating interesting, healthy food."
Caro had an opportunity to work with an 'old school' chef for a year. The chef taught her well and along with the basics, she learned the concept of colors, textures and flavors. In 1998, Caro traveled to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. She trained to be a dive instructor and worked in Morocco, Spain, France, and Egypt, where in 2001 she met her future husband Jeremy (Jez) Fletcher. The couple married in Australia in 2002.
"My mother had bribed me with the offer of a five course degustation dinner by Serge Dansereau, a chef whose work I love, featuring matched wines as a wedding reception," says Caro. "She was horrified when I said I wanted to cater and cook for my own wedding!"
For her entrée Caro planned to serve a Pork Belly dish, but it burned – she thought she had turned off the oven! With only a couple of hours before the contest, she came up with the Winning Entrée Wild Boar Braised in Red Wine, with crushed juniper berries, garlic, golden shallots, sage leaf, bay leaf, cinnamon stock and blood orange zest, stacked on caramelized roasted pumpkin rounds and garnished with crisp plantain curls.
Caro also won the Dessert Category with her Lime and Coconut Cream with Toffee Lattice and a Lime and Coconut Shot – sweet and tart, rich and tangy.
Lori Cady won the Appetizer/Salad Category.
Born in New Mexico, Lori's family moved to Alaska when she was six. The youngest of five children, including a twin sister, Lori says she loved growing up in Anchorage and enjoyed swimming and playing soccer. At 15, Lori and her twin drove across Alaska to Iowa and Winnipeg. Later, she traveled to Switzerland to attend a tourism/travel agent school before returning to Alaska. In 1988, Lori married Mike Cady and they spent their first vacation bare-boating in the BVI. A year later, they left Alaska aboard their own boat at the start of a two year circumnavigation of the world.
"I have always loved to cook," says Lori. "Mum was a great cook and had a catering company."
Every year Lori attends the Blue Ribbon Chef School on Lake Union, to hone her cooking skills.
Lisa Mead of the M/Y Viaggio took the honors in category Best of Coffee Bean, and secured third place for Appetizer and Dessert.
Lisa is another chef with an interesting background. Born in Malaysia, and schooled in Singapore, she received her Culinary Degree in Australia, held chef positions at several top restaurants, and played host on an FM radio show.
Moving to Tortola in 1996, Lisa fell in love with an Australian yacht chef. Together they lived in the artist hippie commune on Beef Island. Lisa is an accomplished painter whose work has been exhibited in homes and galleries throughout Australia and the BVI.
For more than a decade chef Lisa has divided her time between Europe and the Caribbean, cooking in well-known restaurants, luxury villas and yachts, and receiving glowing accolades from some very interesting people.
In March, TLC TV will feature Lisa on her own show – Galley Gourmet with Chef Lisa.
Overall Winner: Caro Uy, catamaran S/Y Toucan Play.
Appetizer Winners: 1st Lori Cady, S/V Sabore; 2nd Caro Uy, S/Y Toucan Play; 3rd Lisa Mead, M/Y Viaggio.
EntrÃ©e Winners: 1st Caro Uy, Toucan Play; 2nd Sylvie Vuillard, Tahuata; 3rd Angela Smith, Caribbean Dream.
Dessert Winners: 1st Caro Uy, Toucan Play;
2nd Angela Smith, Caribbean Dream; 3rd Lisa Mead, Viaggio.
Best of the Coffee Bean Winners: 1st Lisa Mead, Viaggio; 2nd Caro Uy, Toucan Play; 3rd Ann Gracie,