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REGIONAL: Miami sizzles in run-up to Caribbean305 celebrations

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unnamed-2Nationally recognized culinary leader Allen Susser eagerly anticipates the debut of Caribbean305, the region’s newest gourmet culinary and cultural celebration happening at Miami’s Jungle Island on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 8 p.m.

Chef Allen believes South Florida is the perfect location to showcase the culinary creativity of the region, represented by professional chefs from 16 Caribbean nations and territories, including Anguilla, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Martin, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The diversity of the Caribbean is not only in the Caribbean, but it reflects here in Miami,” said Chef Allen, speaking at the media launch of Caribbean305 at Jungle Island earlier this month.

The award-winning, Brooklyn-born chef chose Miami to blaze his own distinctive path and develop his career, not least because he recognizes that the Caribbean inspires so much of the city’s cuisine. “Its culture is Caribbean in its nature. It really is, it’s another land mass that just didn’t become an island. The rest of the Caribbean became (islands). Florida here and especially Miami, we’re Caribbean, believe it or not.”

“Having different countries and (their chefs) cooking here is very exciting for them, but (it’s) actually more exciting for us here in Miami,” he continued, “because we’re getting to taste the authenticity, the love (and) the passion that these chefs (demonstrate) on a daily basis in their homes, in their restaurants, (and) in their hotels in the Caribbean.”

He described seeing Caribbean305 come together, with Miami and Caribbean chefs and patrons combined in one place, as “very, very exciting.”

Award-winning Bahamian bartender Marv Cunningham also expressed his enthusiasm for the event, while invoking the importance of the region’s bartenders and mixologists.
“We are about showcasing the best of our islands,” he observed. “We welcome each and every one that comes off of a plane; we want to show and give everyone the best island experience ever. That’s what (me) and my compadres in the mixology world are all about.”

“Caribbean mixologists and bartenders alike, we are more than just cocktail servers. We are psychiatrists, we are comedians,” joked Cunningham, who has twice won the Caribbean Bartender of the Year award during the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition.

Karolin Troubetzkoy, President of CHTA, highlighted the inherent uniqueness of the region’s food. Caribbean cuisine, she observed, is described online as a fusion of African, Creole, Cajun, Amerindian, European, Portuguese, Spanish, Latin American, East Indian, South Asian, Arab, Chinese, Jewish and Javanese/Indonesian cuisine. “Isn’t that interesting … I think maybe we just need to claim this to be Caribbean, right?”

Troubetzkoy believes the event demonstrates that the region has much more to offer than sun, sand and sea. “We have developed amazing Caribbean cuisine, served to you by Caribbean-born chefs with amazing talent.”

Caribbean305 tickets are $95 for general admission, which includes access to the event from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. for an all-inclusive experience of unlimited drinks, food and entertainment. VIP tickets are $140, featuring early entry to the event at 7 p.m. and a VIP lounge area with an exclusive bar, food station and additional seating. The VIP Reception is presented by Cane Run Rum.

Caribbean305, produced by CHTA, is supported by Host Sponsor Sandals Resorts. Sazerac Company has signed on as a Platinum Sponsor, serving Cane Run Rum, Black Magic Black Spiced Rum, FRÏS Vodka, Tuaca Originale Italiano, and Paddy Irish Whiskey; while Gold Sponsors include Visit Barbados, the Jamaica Tourist Board, and the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.

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