Barbados’s appeal has nothing to do with its sizzling 80 to 90 degree temps, but everything to do who’s going there — and why. Celebrity chefs like Top Chef‘s Tom Colicchio and Top Chef Masters‘ Marcus Samuelsson have discovered the tiny Caribbean island and claimed it as their food paradise, bringing the foodies who love them along for some fun in the sun. Today marks the close of the second annual Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival, a weekend-long event featuring 20 food-focused activities all around the island.
Beautiful Bajan beaches and Barbados’s best resorts were the backdrop for cooking demonstrations by Colicchio and Samuelsson, as well as Ming Tsai, Mark McEwan and Bruno Loubet. On Saturday night, the chefs served up some of their best fare to well-dressed fans at a party at an exclusive polo estate, as wine, rum and champagne flowed.Tsai joked with guests as he plated and passed out tastes of ahi tuna, while Colicchio posed for pics and Samuelsson and his model wife made the rounds.
Travel+Leisure and Food & Wine magazines have dubbed Barbados the culinary capital of the Caribbean with good reason. One the island’s hottest destinations is Oistins Fish Fry on Fridays in Christ Church Parrish. This is the place to mix and mingle with locals and sample the country’s national dish, flying fish, along with fish cakes and freshly grilled lobster.
And while food and some of the world’s biggest food stars may have been the biggest draw for festival attendees, there is no doubt that they were also captivated by the island’s stunning natural beauty and culture. If you are looking for a reason to go to Barbados, the Food & Wine and Rum Festival in November is a good reason, but don’t make it the only one.