MiamiHerald / Jamaica is known for sand, sun and sea. But could its cuisine soon be a tourism draw?

That’s what the island’s top chef and tourism officials are hoping after arriving in Miami this week to go head-to-head with some of the Caribbean’s best chefs and mixologists during the annual Taste of the Caribbean cooking and cocktail competitions.

While not the popular Bravo TV reality “Top Chef” series — sorry, chef Tom Colicchio will not be doing a walk through the kitchen, questioning that choice of beef grade — Taste of the Caribbean does, however, offer up the same intense, nerve-wracking, knife-cutting competitive environment. Bragging rights go to the team and chef that ends up besting the competition.

“We are doing this for flag and country,” said Michael Barnett, Jamaica’s Chef of the Year, and first time competitor at Taste of the Caribbean, which runs Friday through Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency, 400 SE 2nd Ave. in Miami. “We’re trying to promote our cuisine that a lot of persons know of, but we want to take it to the wider world. We want to market Jamaica as a food destination.”

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