Puerto Rico’s top chefs brought their signature dishes to Vieques, an island eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico, for the annual Taste of the Islands at the W Retreat & Spa-Vieques Island on Oct. 6.
Each chef prepared tasting plates of some of their most popular signature dishes, including traditional Puerto Rican dishes and fusion creations with Puerto Rican flair.
Chef Fernando Coppola from Sorcé at W Retreat & Spa-Vieques Island served seared filet mignon atop crushed potatoes with a green peppercorn rum sauce; mac and cheese with Caribbean lobster from Vieques; passion fruit cake with pistachio anglaise; and tembleque, a local dessert made with grated coconut and coconut water that is formed into a custard and served with tropical fruits or cinnamon sticks.
Chef Buddy Stone of Next Course in Vieques prepared creamy tomato basil soup with sweet Italian sausage and Parmesan baguette; coconut cumin ceviche with local dorado and shrimp with wonton crisp; and Key lime pie martinis with graham cracker crust.
The event included chefs from San Juan's and Vieques' top restaurants along with rum and wine distributors and a silent auction.
Chefs from San Juan included Ariel Rodriguez of Augusto’s, Augusto Schreiner of The Art of Cooking School inside San Juan’s La Boutique Du Vin; Roberto Treviño of Budatai, Casa Lola, Bar Gitano, and El Barril; and Mario Pagán of LAUREL at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art and Lemongrass at the Caribe Hilton Hotel;
"It's a nice cause. I've seen with my own eyes the students that have graduated from the unviersities in Puerto Rico, from the colleges in Puerto Rico, and that makes it most fulfilling. You see the fruits of your labor," said Pagán.
Chefs from the most popular restaurants in Vieques also came with their signature dishes, including Michael Duffy of Duffy’s, Noche, and The Tin Box, and Ford Martin and the team at Orquídeas.
"As a restaurateur, you have to give back to the community," said Rodrigues who prepared steamed buns with roasted pork and kimchi for Taste of the Islands.
The annual event benefits Reach for Success, a program that supports scholarships for young Vieques residents.
Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.