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    September 21

  • 08:15 PM

Chef lives for NIFCA

Sherie Holder-Olutayo,

Added 28 November 2012

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Rhea Superville is addicted to the Food Network show Chopped. Perhaps it comes with the territory of being a chef, but she loves watching her contemporaries face off and create interesting dishes. That’s why every year when the National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts (NIFCA) rolls around, Rhea is eager to enter and compete. “This is my third year of entering. NIFCA is really the most excitement I get here in Barbados,” she said. “I look forward to it and because I like shows like Chopped, this is the closest thing I get to Chopped. I enjoy it.” At this year’s NIFCA, Rhea, like her fellow competitors on Chopped, walked away with the top prize. She won the Governor General’s Award For Excellence In Culinary Arts. The 26-year-old has found her true calling but she admits that she didn’t really know what she wanted to do. “At secondary school when they asked what I wanted to be I didn’t really know. I knew I liked IT [information technology] and being in the kitchen. I did IT for two years in Trinidad and I quickly realized that I was bored to death. When I came back to Barbados, I did culinary arts at PomMarine.” Rhea, who grew up in Trinidad and went to school there, decided to spend some time in Trinidad with her father before returning here. “I wanted to try it. I have two passports, so I decided to use them,” she said, laughing. “I went to Trinidad and did computers there before coming back.” It was actually in Trinidad that her path became clearer. “When I would come home from school, our housekeeper would show me how to do some Trinidadian dishes. She showed me how to perfect curry that I really ace now. I would help her do stuff and watch her cook and she would show me how to prepare things. It was there that I stayed in the kitchen and learnt different dishes.” After her time at PomMarine, Rhea has landed a job as a cook at Courtyard by Marriott. But she intends to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. “When I looked at the awards in NIFCA, I looked at the Prime Minister’s Award, but I never took note that it was for non-professionals,” she said. “That was one award that I could not have.” Despite that, her winning dish, which was a Farmer’s Choice Ground Provision Cake, earned her top honours. “It was made of sweet potato, yam and English potato along with some pumpkin,” Rhea said. “Then it had some Farmer’s Choice ham and after I had prepared everything, I formed it into a cake. I was just praying that it would not shackle out in the fryer and it stayed together. I was, like, yessss!” Rhea explained that when she got to the kitchen she didn’t know what she was going to make. But she took a look at the ingredients and decided that the [cake] was what she was going to do. While it wasn’t Chopped, preparing that dish competing against her fellow chefs under the time constraints in a cook-off came very close. “When it came together, I must admit it looked really good,” she said. “After that I settled down. “NIFCA is like the pinnacle of my year. Aside from that there’s not much else that you can do here in cooking,” she said. “If there was a cook-off here every month I think I would compete in it.”

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