There will be celebrity chefs, food demonstrations, wine dinners, barbecue and more during the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience this year. The weekend event series will consist of an impressive roster of guest chefs including well-known TV personalities, cookbook authors, James Beard winners and corporate chefs.
Guest chefs will participate in multiple events during the culinary series, working alongside students from the St. Croix Career and Technical Education Center culinary program and St. Croix Central High School cooking class as well as with local chefs.
Through a deepening partnership with the Department of Tourism, the event also brings to the territory a variety of travel writers, bloggers and media representatives, expanding St. Croix’s national and international exposure as a culinary and tourism destination. Funds raised from the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience support the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development and enable the foundation to continue its work on workforce development, public safety, public education, and economic development.
“Beyond being a fundraiser for the foundation, the Food and Wine Experience is also, at the core, an opportunity to engage all the stakeholders that make our work meaningful, from national partners and donors to local community members, and most of all our young people," St. Croix Foundation Executive Director Deanna James said in a statement.
Named one of the top 10 international food and wine events by Forbestravel.com, the series features St. Croix’s culinary talent, wine purveyors, rum distilleries and “affords guests a unique opportunity to experience all that’s special about St. Croix,” James continued.
The line-up of guest chefs this year includes:
– Robyn Almovodar – executive chef and owner of award winning Palate Party, Almovodar is a former winner of Food Network’s CHOPPED and Cut Throat Kitchen;
– Sam Choy – author, James Beard award winner, restaurateur, Iron Chef winner, TV personality and “Godfather of Poke,” Choy is the ambassador for breadfruit and Hawaiian cuisine;
– Billy Desimone – executive chef and founder of the Giving the Dream Foundation, created in memory of Desimone’s brother and Facebook’s executive chef, the late Josef Desimone;
– Negust Kaza – owner of Kaza House and award winning member of the Virgin Islands Olympic Culinary Team;
– Ralph Motto – local Crucian son, now based out of New York and named Black Enterprise’s Modern Man of 2015;
– Javier Nassar – international and celebrity chef, owner and executive chef of A la Care Catering Company and Tras-patio Bistro, this Puerto Rico-based chef has catered for Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck;
– and Digby Stridiron – executive chef and owner of Balter restaurant, also named as Culinary Ambassador of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the 2014-2015 Caribbean Chef of the Year.
Guest chefs of the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience participate in events that range from relaxed to elegant options for foodies. Guest wine makers, spirit companies and breweries are paired with each event.
The 2016 schedule of events is:
– April 7 – bond @ balter – pre-event reception held at balter restaurant, combining outstanding cocktails with appetizers from chef and owner Digby Stridiron;
– April 8 – Sunset BBQ on the Frederiksted Pier – this affordable Crucian BBQ features mouth-watering delicacies and boasts a local lineup of chefs, Billy Desimone, Negust Kaza, Ralph Motta and Digby Stridiron, with Chef Doos with the culinary students from the St. Croix Educational Complex and Central High School;
– Cork and Fork Dinners – intimate dinners at private homes featuring chefs Sam Choy and Robyn Almovodar;
– April 9 – Wine in the Warehouse – celebrating the Roaring ’20s and held at Leeward Islands Warehouse, this event features wines from Bellows International, Prestige Wine Group and West Indies Co. Ltd. for fine wine aficionados;
– April 10 – Cuisine on the Green – held at Carambola Golf Course, providing treats at select tees for golfers and non-golfers in this spirited tournament;
– April 12 – Gourmet Vintner Dinner – an "All Silver Jubilee" in honor of the foundation’s 25th anniversary; hosted by Ha’Penny Bay Beach and featuring chef Javier Nassar with wines from Glazer’s Premier Distributors.
For information about A Taste of St. Croix at the Divi Carina Bay Resort, guests can visit www.tasteofstcroix.com.
“Despite St. Croix’s struggling economy and declining population, the foundation is grateful to all the organizations and individuals that have continued to sponsor the event and to the guests who return each year to make this the preeminent food and wine event in the Caribbean,” James said in a statement.
"Every sponsorship dollar raised is leveraged many times over and reinvested into the community to support the foundation’s broad-based, territorywide mission of social and economic transformation,” James said.
For information about, tickets, events and sponsorship, visit http://www.stxfoodandwine.com or call James at the foundation at 340-773-9898.