Following a super successful first year, The Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival at Baha Mar will return showcasing some of the best in culinary and artistic expression in The Bahamas. Taking place October 27th to 29th, the Festival is headlined by Marcus Samuelsson of Marcus Fish + Chop House, Ken “Katsuya” Uechi of Katsuya, and Dario Cecchini of Carna — all of whom have restaurants on property at the luxury resort.
Baha Mar’s chefs will be joined by Bahamian celebrity chef Simeon Hall Jr. and familiar names like Amanda Freitag, Carla Hall, Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant, Michelle Bernstein, and Eitan Bernath.
The festival kicks off Friday, October 27th with the Welcome Beach Party that will bring together the best of SLS Baha Mar’s chefs alongside Samuelsson for a special experience that will highlight the country’s rich history and fresh, locally sourced farm-and-sea-to-table ingredients. Oh and, there will be a performance by iconic 17-time Grammy Award-winning musician Sting.
Throughout the rest of weekend’s events, attendees will have the chance to sharpen their culinary skills as the chefs host master class sessions, including a Butchery Master Class with Dario Cecchini, Biscuits for Breakfast with Carla Hall, and a Master Class with Amanda Freitag in The Kitchen — just to name a few. Plus Saturday night is filled with several chef duo dinners that will be taking over the property’s restaurants.
Like last year, the Festival will also put a spotlight on Bahamian artists. This year, the art portion of the festival will grow to new heights thanks to the debut of FUZE, a first of its kind Caribbean art showcase featuring a vast collection of artwork from seven different Caribbean nations, including local artists, galleries, and more.
Festival attendees will be able to explore the rich culture seen through the Caribbean’s visual art communities by attending artist-led panel discussions, guided tours, live printmaking demonstrations, and more. Art aficionados will enjoy additional new art-infused events during this year’s festival including an Art After Party, Bahamian Showcase Music Concert, Figure Drawing Workshop, and specially curated Bahamian Film Series.
Whether you’re in it for the food or the art (or both!), you can’t deny that this Caribbean oasis is a magical place to experience both. With dozens of events happening throughout the weekend, guests have the chance to pick and choose to make the adventure jam-packed or relaxed as they want while still getting the chance to be up close and personal with some incredible chefs and artists as they celebrate Bahamian culture.
I chatted with famed chef Marcus Samuelsson about this year’s festival and here’s what he had to say.
Amber Love Bond: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival?
Marcus Samuelsson: All of it! I’m excited to have Carla Hall at Marcus Up Top for our chef-hosted dinner. We’ve collaborated on a menu featuring local Caribbean ingredients and you know when Carla is involved, things are going to be fun and delicious!
I also can’t wait to spend some time with my good buddy Scott Conant at our Cocktails & Coconuts Garden Party. There will be plenty of amazing food and cocktails plus live music! It’s an ideal way to spend the day in the Bahamas.
ALB: Do you have any surprises in store for guests?
MS: This festival is truly interactive, so I think the guests will be surprised by how personal the experience is. We’re not just cooking for you — we’re eating with you, chilling on the beach with you, and singing along to our favorite Sting song with you during his live performance at our opening Welcome Beach Party.
And what I love about Baha Mar, especially during Festival weekend, is that there are surprises everywhere you turn. You could be sitting at one of our chef dinners and see flamingos out for their daily walk, or admiring a piece of art in the Expo tent and realize you’re standing next to the artist who made it.
ALB: What’s your favorite thing about Bahamian cuisine?
MS: When I was in the process of opening Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House, I spent years learning about Bahamian culture and meeting with local purveyors. My goal was (and still is) to create a deeply collaborative menu that reflects the native ingredients of The Bahamas married with an innovative take on Caribbean comfort food.
My favorite thing about Bahamian cuisine is the pride that locals have for their recipes, because it’s a reflection of who they are. They create colorful and flavorful dishes, so much of it infused with passion and love, which makes their cuisine some of the best in the world.
Catch Samuelsson hanging out, cooking, and jamming to Sting at The Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival at Baha Mar next month. Tickets are on sale here.