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Beyond The World Cook: Beatnik promotes Bermuda

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It was a process: Beatnik Rubaine, left, along with competing chefs in the Amazon Prime series, The World Cook (Photograph supplied)

For anyone who hasn’t yet been able to see Beatnik Rubaine on The World Cook, here’s a major spoiler: he doesn’t make it to the end. But …. there’s a lot else keeping him busy. Since moving to Britain 20 years ago he has hosted a series of Bermuda-themed events – Bermuda Day will return to London, England next month after a six-year absence.

In his spare time, he’s an artist and a DJ on Music Box Radio UK. An unofficial ambassador for Bermuda, it was through his connections that Bermuda’s tradition of kite flying at Easter was shared on the BBC One television series, Songs of Praise on Sunday.

On top of all that he has the responsibilities that come with having a full-time job and a family.

However it’s The World Cook that most recently put him in the public eye.

“It was a process,” he said of the three-day production. “We were on site by about nine o'clock in the morning and got off about 8.30 at night and when you think there were only two parts we were actually filming straight through – two cook-off sessions of 90 minutes each – that was really long.

“A lot of filming, a lot of editing. Even the part when you get rejected, you do that five or six times. But it was nice. It was really nice.”

Mr Rubaine, a self-taught chef who posts his dishes and recipes on Facebook and Instagram under Beatnik’s Delicious Eats, made a “Bermudian fishcake” for The World Cook.

“People want salt cod but you can’t really taste the difference and so I used regular cod because it was a dish I just did on the fly.”

He garnished it with a vegetable medley – courgettes, carrots, onions and pawpaws.

The dish was topped with strips of deep fried cod and drizzled with parsley oil, a creamlike sauce that, according to Mr Rubaine, has a similar effect on food as tie-dye does on clothing.

He thought it was “more than good enough” for him to get through to the next round but, judges Atul Kochar, a twice Michelin-starred chef, and Crystelle Pereira, runner-up of Season 12 of The Great British Bake Off, disagreed.

It hasn’t put him off completely. Mr Rubaine might one day apply for MasterChef, the competitive cooking show that started in England and now has versions in different countries around the world.

“At this time I don't qualify for it. They have different criteria and for ‘amateur’ I can't do it because I’ve worked as a professional chef and as a ‘professional chef’, I can't do that because I don't actually work as a chef any more,” he said.

“But I am deciding on getting back into a kitchen – in some way, somehow – on my own terms because as a chef, especially when you go onto that next level, trying to juggle it with home life was a bit too much for me. I gave it up because family life is more important to me than a career as a chef.”

As for his experience with The World Cook, Mr Rubaine said: “I’m so happy I did it. It was just amazing meeting people from around the world – Brazil, Peru, America, Kenya, Nigeria, Scotland, Sri Lanka.

“Were I to do something like MasterChef I now have a better idea of certain little tweaks and stuff like that.”

Fast friends: Beatnik Rubaine, standing second from left, along with competing chefs in the Amazon Prime series, The World Cook (Photograph supplied)

The World Cook group got to know each other over the course of a five-hour journey from London to Ipswich where the first episode was filmed.

“We had the next day to ourselves and we just chilled out. Even after we finished the show, we went back to the hotel we were staying in and just drank the bar dry - so to speak,” he laughed.

He is disappointed that all his family members here are not able to watch the show, which, despite its title and its international group of competitors, is not accessible to Amazon Prime viewers worldwide.

“You have to change your VPN and all that nonsense, which is unbelievable. We have the same thing here for shows destined for the US; I can’t watch them here, either. Obviously they’re bound by Amazon’s copyrights and all that sort of stuff.

“But some Bermudians have seen it. Loads have. Some Bermudians have come to me and said they saw it and commented on it.”

Even though it wasn’t his first time on a screen Mr Rubaine found it a bit unnerving to see himself in action.

Most surprising was that he looked so stressed and that the conversations he’d calmly had with judges while he cooked had been cut from the final production.

“I’ve been on TV many times before but not in that situation, where the camera is focused solely on me. For the actual filming itself, there are three cameras on you and they’re asking you questions,” he said.

“There must be a certain sort of pill that entertainers take to digest seeing themselves and hearing themselves. I mean, I was looking [at the show] through my fingers. Seeing myself in that capacity was kind of weird to see.”

Although “a bit disappointed” not to make it to the end, the response he’s received from people has been “just amazing”, Mr Rubaine added.

The Bermuda tribute in Songs of Praise was far easier for him to watch. It’s a show he remembers from his childhood here.

“It’s a religious programme; been airing for years. As a child, you go to Sunday school, you go to church, you go to someone’s house and Songs of Praise would be on all day – that type of thing.”

Aware of Bermuda's tradition and how the cross kites have been linked to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, producers of the show reached out to him because of his reach within the Bermudian community in the UK.

An appeal by Mr Rubaine connected them with Shawn Place of Place’s Gombeys, Maverick O’Connor and others.

As for Bermuda Day, the UK celebration will take place at Lockside Camden on May 26.

“It’s our place for events in London. I’m just putting all the pieces together now, organising our headlining DJ because we need that. It's essential,” Mr Rubaine said. “People are amped because the coaches are being booked from up the Midlands and north and south, it's going to be crazy.”

It’s one of many challenges he has willingly taken on since he uprooted his life 20 years ago.

“It’s pretty weird, young people's brains. It was difficult when I moved here to try and get a job, because I had so many different jobs – from a waiter to construction and everything else – people were confused: what do you do? What do you do?” Mr Rubaine said.

“On my socials I have one for my food, one for my art, one for my promotions and my own personal one. I’m communicating through different platforms all the time. But I’m Bermudian, for crying out loud. We love to talk.”

For information on Bermuda Day UK, visit Facebookor Loquat Entertainment, loquatentertainment.com

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Published April 04, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 05, 2024 at 7:19 am)

Beyond The World Cook: Beatnik promotes Bermuda

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