Every April for the past fifteen years, I have witnessed my wife go from a calm, sane person to a total nut-job. As one of the founders of A Taste of St. Croix – which organically grew into a week of fundraising events called the St Croix Food & Wine Experience - my wife Katherine is involved in everything from recruiting guest chefs to raising funds. And, as her husband and business partner, this means that I too am very involved in the events. But as a local chef, the view and the experience is a lot different than from an organizers point of view.
At the main event – which is A Taste of St. Croix – local chefs, like my team from Zion Modern Kitchen, get to really show off a signature dish and cocktail. For 2015, our bartender Frank Robinson will be making a top secret cocktail using local ingredients and my culinary team and I will be making a decadent dessert that will demand you do a triathlon to burn off the calories. The competition at A Taste of St. Croix is tough. With celebrity chefs as the judges, everyone on the island puts their heart into the event. The displays are stunning, food is delicious and needless to say the beverages are intoxicating. To add to the night – it’s held beachside, there are three bands, a Moet & Chandon after-party and then the winners of the night are announced. It is like going to prom with the hottest person and everyone partying together – including the students and faculty.
The experience doesn't end there. As a “street-trained” chef, having to opportunity to work along side award-winning chefs is an amazing experience. And the chefs that donate their time and talents to the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience are really generous with their knowledge, talents and time. They work with local students, participate in at least three events during the week and are a blast to hang out with on the island. These chefs are helping us raise funds for the St. Croix Foundation – a community non-profit that do amazing work on the island. Their participation is very meaningful to the community.
This year, I will be working with James Beard award winning chef Sam Choy, supporting an event with pastry king Duff Goldman, and doing all I Can to help Tiffany Derry, Kevin Fonzo, Ray Lampe and the executive Chefs from Facebook have a great time on St. Croix. Which – its pretty easy to so – it is a tropical island with sun-soaked, white sand beaches, drinks with little umbrellas and all the fun you can fit on your plate.