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HomeNewsArchivesGumbs Fires Up New Cooking Show at Marriott Frenchman's Reef

Gumbs Fires Up New Cooking Show at Marriott Frenchman's Reef

 Leslie 'Theo' Gumbs checks the menu at his latest venture, the restaurant Theo's.Chef Theo Gumbs will unveil his new television show and a new line of food products that together could elevate Virgin Islands cuisine to new heights in the world of gourmet food.

Gumbs will premiere clips of “Virgin Gourmet,” a new show that will soon air in the Caribbean on Tempo and in the states on Viacom. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Marriott Frenchman’s Reef. While the event is by invitation, Gumbs said Friday that the public is welcome. Admission is $25.

He will also introduce his new line of gourmet sauces, rubs and marinades at the reception. The new products will be used by the hotel’s restaurants – Sunset Grill, Coco Joe’s and Aqua Terra – and be available at the hotel’s Presto shop in the lobby. One dollar of each sale will be donated to the Virgin Islands Culinary Team, of which Gumbs is a member. The sauces and rubs are marketed under his company, Theo’s Gourmet Caribbean Foods.

Perhaps more importantly, the products will also be available online, so that when viewers across the country see the program and want to cook the dish themselves, they’ll be able to order directly and get a taste of the Caribbean, even in the midst of a Connecticut winter. The products are also available in many stores locally and in the states, and have recently been introduced in Canada, Gumbs said.

Gumbs said the show is very similar to the “slow foods” dinners he prepares around the territory, or at his namesake restaurant, Theo’s.

“The concept of the show is we’re taking the food from the garden to the table utilizing all fresh ingredients and local flavors,” he said. “It’s promoting a vision of being aware of what we have right in our own back yard.”

Gumbs began cooking at his mother’s knee, helping her prepare food for Carnival, baseball games and other events. After taking cooking classes at Charlotte Amalie High School he went into cooking full time, professionally, often holding down several jobs at once. He moved stateside to study cooking, but continued working as well, returning to the islands after eight years with an impressive resume and a drive to get recognition for Caribbean cuisine, creating a Thai-fusion with traditional West Indies foods.

Mary Gleason, who publicizes special events at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, said Gumbs is more than just a successful chef, more than just a businessman. He also works with young student cooks, inspiring them and showing them that there’s a world out there that has room for them in it.

“I think this is sensational,” Gleason said. “This young man, he’s showing them the possibilities of the future.”

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