Top-notch chefs, sommeliers treat your taste buds at this Bahamas festival

Baha Mar is an oceanfront mega-resort that opened last year in Nassau. CONTRIBUTED BY WESLEY K.H. TEO

Baha Mar is an oceanfront mega-resort that opened last year in Nassau. CONTRIBUTED BY WESLEY K.H. TEO

A trip to the Bahamas means lots of sun, sand and beautiful blue waters. What could be better?

How about gourmet meals from — and intimate conversations with — top chefs from around the world paired with wine and spirits from the industry’s top sommeliers?

That’s exactly what you can get at the Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival at the luxurious Baha Mar on October 27-29.

The chefs

To have top-notch food, you need top-notch chefs. Among the festival’s lineup are Bahama residents, television personalities and James Beard Award winners. Here are a few who will be cooking at Baha Mar:

Carla Hall: Always a crowd pleaser, Hall was a finalist on “Top Chef” and competed on “Top Chef: All Stars.” She is often a judge on television baking shows, sharing her belief everyone should cook with love. Hall’s “Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration” cookbook is usually included on annual lists of best cookbooks.

February 22, 2019 Atlanta - Top Chef Carla Hall (left) shows the AJC's Ligaya Figueras the texture of a good biscuit. Ligaya hosted Hall and food expert Chadwick Boyd at her home, where the two shared tips on how to make the best biscuits. RYON HORNE / RHORNE@AJC.COM

icon to expand image

Scott Conant: Not just a recurring judge on “Chopped” or co-host of “Beat Bobby Flay,” Conant is also a two-time James Beard Award winner. His 35-year career has taken him numerous restaurants, including the Americano in Atlanta.

Chef Scott Conant . (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Credit: Myung J. Chun

icon to expand image

Credit: Myung J. Chun

Marcus Samuelsson: Not only was he the youngest person to receive a three-star review from the New York Times, Samuelsson also has won eight James Beard Awards. The chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, MARCUS Montreal and Streetbird at Yankee Stadium, Samuelsson is a judge on “Chopped,” head judge on “Top Chef Family Style” and iron chef on Netflix’s “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend.”

Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson, of Red Rooster Harlem (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

icon to expand image

The complete list of chefs booked for this festival can be found at

The sommeliers

Ken Fredrickson: A member of the International Court of Master Sommeliers and founding partner of High Road Spirits, Fredrickson has worked with renowned chefs Charlie Trotter and Wolfgang Puck. He also has been a guest lecturer at numerous food and wide festivals throughout the U.S.

Fernando Beteta: One of only 269 master sommeliers in the world, Beteta was named one of America’s best new sommeliers by Wine & Spirits magazine, and made the “40 under 40″ lists for both Crain’s Chicago Business and Wine Enthusiast. He was first runner-up for best sommelier in America and has represented the U.S. in competitions around the world.

The artist

John Cox: Currently executive director of the resort’s art center and gallery — The Current — Cox “has played a major role in Bahamian art culture as an educator, curator, and cultural activist, helping to grow and redefine art in The Bahamas,” the event’s website states. He was recently named chairman of the board for the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.

The resort

Baha Mar, on Cable Beach in Nassau, is the Bahamas’ newest luxury resort. Guests can choose from three oceanfront hotels: the Rosewood, the SLS or the Grand Hyatt. Although each hotel has its own pools, the resort recently opened Baha Bay next door. Set on 15 acres of beachfront land, the water park includes beaches, surf pools, a lazy river and a wide variety of slides.

The cost

Ticket prices vary based on how long you attend the festival and what events you’d like to be a part of. For example, a one-day pass will set you back $192.50. A weekend pass, however — which includes a welcome gift, a welcome beach party; tickets to Marcus After Dark, hosted by chef Samuelsson, a dinner hosted by a signature chef, and access to the food and arts expo both days — will cost you $769. All ticket information can be found on the event’s website.


Baha Mar

Phone: 242-788-8000