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«Taste After Party Tonight! THUR S DAY, A PR I L 1 9, 2 0 1 2 • 6 – 9 P M • D I V I C A R INA B AY R ESO RT F O R T H E B E N E F I T O F S T. ...»

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Taste After Party Tonight!

THUR S DAY, A PR I L 1 9, 2 0 1 2 • 6 – 9 P M • D I V I C A R INA B AY R ESO RT



St. Croix

This year’s A Taste of St. Croix tribute can go out to

none other than St. Croix itself.

Over the years, the resilience and commitment of the people of

St. Croix has proven itself time and time again. Creating a sense of family and unity, strength against all odds, the people of St. Croix are to be celebrated.

The Unity. We are called The Big Island, but St. Croix has a feeling of closeness and unity. There is a sense of family among neighbors, coworkers, and even on the roads of St. Croix, where you can hear the distinct “toot toot” of the honk of car horns encouraging others to go before them. Working together to make a difference for the greater good: the people of St. Croix believe in each other and in our island. That is unity. It is St. Croix.

The Strength of the people of St. Croix is unique; people talk to one another on the Big Island, we look each other in the eye, and feel the challenges and the triumphs that one another experience. There is no stronger and happier sound than someone laughing on a beach on St. Croix. The voices of St. Croix, strong and true, are testimony to their conviction that St. Croix is special and that its beauty, history, and future must be protected.

The Community. St. Croix has come together, year after year, rising above natural disasters, political firestorms, economic recessions, and through it all has become all the stronger, a diverse and beautiful gem in the Caribbean. A Taste of St. Croix celebrates not just the amazing hospitality industry that keeps St. Croix’s special flavor alive, but our Community. As we have every year, for the last 12 years, we celebrate all that is St. Croix.

We thank you for being here tonight and supporting us in our efforts to contribute to our beautiful island.

A toast to Community! To St. Croix!

Welcome to the 12th Anniversary A Taste of St. Croix celebrates the spirit and flavor of St. Croix by pooling culinary artisans from more than 50 local chefs, restaurants and eateries. The event, which was the brainchild of two local restaurateurs, was started as a way to celebrate the diverse and delectable cuisine and culture of St. Croix with its influences from all over the Caribbean and the world.

Today, the Taste is known nationally and abroad as one of the finest food and wine events in the Caribbean. It was the catalyst for the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience, named by Forbes Traveler one of the “top 10 international food and wine events.” A Taste of St. Croix has attracted thousands of guests including international winemakers, rum distillers, brewers, and celebrity chefs, who are all able to drink in the culture and vibe of our amazing island. A Taste of St. Croix is a night of true elegance, art, culture, laughter… and a spectacular good time.

Most proceeds go to benefit the ST. CROIX FOUNDATION A Taste of St. Croix also contributes to and funds several restaurant and service industry related services and training, in addition to many civic, art and cultural events that help keep St. Croix vibrant.

As a benefit for the community, most proceeds from Taste are directed to the St. Croix Foundation. As a nonpartisan, nonpolitical community foundation, the St. Croix Foundation provides leadership and acts as a catalyst in bringing together diverse groups to discuss problems and forge solutions.

The Foundation is making an impact because we leverage funds raised from concerned citizens and encourage greater philanthropic activity through increasing public awareness of current and emerging needs in in our community. We appreciate your support. Together we can make a difference!

–  –  –

Govind Armstrong, Celebrity Chef/Chef, Restaurateur & Author, Los Angeles. Govind Armstrong made his mark with his Table 8 and 8 oz Burger Bar restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters and in Bon Appetit, Gourmet, O Magazine, and People’s “50 Most Beautiful People” issue. He authored Small Bites, Big Nights: Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions and Lavish Parties, is a consultant chef to Air New Zealand, on Macy’s culinary council, and a guest chef for cruise lines. He is expanding 8 oz Burger nationwide and developing Post & Beam in Los Angeles.

Erik Greenspan, Chef/Owner, The Foundry & The Roof, Celebrity Chef, Los Angeles. Eric Greenspan is the chef and owner of The Foundry and The Roof in Los Angeles, California.

Greenspan, co-host of A&E’s Fix This Kitchen, has been featured on several television shows such as Best Thing I Ever Ate, The Traveler’s Guide to Life, was a contestant on Food Network’s reality culinary competition series The Next Iron Chef and triumphed against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America. Eric has also served as a guest judge or consultant on Bar Rescue, Hell’s Kitchen, Extreme Chef and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Eric graduated with a Diplomme de Cuisine Superior in 1998 from Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris. He has worked with David Bouley, Rocco Despirito, Alain Ducasse, and Ferran Adria.

Theo Gumbs, CEC, CEO, Theo’s Gourmet Caribbean Foods, LLC., St. Thomas. Born in the US Virgin Islands, Chef Theo Gumbs has forged an astonishing career based on his charismatic personality and a flair for gourmet Caribbean foods. Bringing together regional flavors and world class cuisines, he manages to combine old and new flavors from African, Amerindian, French and Dutch origins into signature dishes that earned him the title of “Culinary Ambassador” for the region. Chef Theo is a two time winner of the “Local Chef,” “Top Chef,” and “Iron Chef” competitions, where he also served as a judge. And in 2012, he was named the Daily News “Best of the VI, Private Chef.” He has launched his brand of authentic Caribbean seasonings, sauces and vinaigrettes available throughout the Virgin Islands. He’s been a feature chef for several years at the Taste of the Caribbean in Montreal, Canada and the most recent Rum & Rhythm. Catch Chef Theo on his new endeavor, the Virgin Gourmet for a delicious trip around Caribbean Cuisine and Culture.

Jolyon Helterman, Food Critic, Writer, Editor, Boston/St. Croix. Jolyon Helterman once spent eight gluttonous days scarfing down fish-and-chips along England’s Southern coast, all in the name of journalistic due diligence. A Boston-based restaurant critic and food writer, Helterman is a former editor for Cook’s Illustrated, Boston magazine, and The Week.

His work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, the Improper Bostonian, New York Magazine, the Sunday Globe Magazine, and Every Day With Rachael Ray. He splits his time between Massachusetts and St. Croix.

Gary McCracken, Journalist and Photo Editor, Pensacola News Journal, Florida. With over 30 years at Pensacola News Journal and Gannett Publishing, Gary McCracken is an accomA FOOD & WINE EVENT  plished journalist covering major stories since his graduation from the University of West Florida. Mr. McCracken’s expertise extends to a wide variety of stories including high risk coverage of hurricanes, abortion clinic bombings, train derailments, and plane crashes. Branching out again, Gary has followed the careers of Pensacola sports figures, Roy Jones Jr., Emmitt Smith, Derrick Brooks, Jerry Pate, and Bubba Watson. After a three-year stint in the USVI at the Virgin Islands Daily News and St. Croix Avis, McCracken returned to the News Journal and has been the Photo Editor at the paper since 2002. Upon his return to Pensacola, McCracken worked with Gulf Coast celebrity chef Jim Shirley to produce images for Shirley’s cookbook, Good Grits! A Southern Boy Cooks. He also contributed work to Julie DeMarko’s cookbook, Juliet’s World Cafe Cookbook. In 2010 he helped develop the “Food and Wine” section of the Pensacola News Journal and regularly contributes work.

Victor Merced, Chef/Owner, Flavor Merchants, Inc. & Lead Chef/Consultant, Puerto Rico.

Chef Victor Merced’s history in the culinary industry is flavored with everything from providing catering services to mainstream Hollywood productions including Fast and the Furious and The Losers, to being a certified BBQ Judge and acting as a BBQ authority for the Cattleman’s BBQ Competitions for the last seven years. His expertise extends even further; as Owner/Chef and lead chef at numerous establishments, Chef Victor’s skills include the art of fine Thai, Indian, Italian, Caribbean, Creole, African, and Asian cuisine. Working also with benefits for schools and universities, Chef Victor is now Chef and Owner of Flavor Merchants, focusing on bringing the Caribbean’s exotic fruits and unique spicy flavors to the world.

Lorna Nichols, Co-Owner/Co-Executive Chef, Passion Fruit Chefs, St. Thomas. Former Comedian, Radio Talent, Food Critic/Blogger and Television Producer for the Local PBS Station and CBS-TV2, Lorna has starred in and produced many local island cooking shows like, Island Foods, Best Bites, Eat and Shape-Up V.I. and A Taste of STT, STJ. In Maryland, Lorna created a business delivering quality meals from over 20 local restaurants including Red Lobster, Fuddruckers and Silver Diner. After 5 years Lorna sold her business to the nation’s largest multi-restaurant delivery service, Take-Out Taxi, and moved to St. John, VI. Today, Lorna is the Public Relations Rep for the V.I. Public Services Commission and is a Co-Owner in Passion Fruit Chefs along with Cassandra Henley and Laura Nichols-Samms. Lorna received first hand training in the culinary world doing “hard time” in her father’s Washington, DC restaurant from age 7. Lorna’s clients include Kangol, Kelsey Grammer, Pop Band Barenaked Ladies, Dion Parsons, Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, Rock Band Boston, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, just to name a few.

Laura Nichols-Samms, Co-Owner/Co-Executive Chef, Passion Fruit Chefs, St. John. Laura Nichols-Samms provides culinary services through Passion Fruit Chefs for Private Villas and Corporate Clients in St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A Native of Washington, DC, Laura received first hand training into the culinary world working in her father’s restaurant from age 5. After graduating from the University of Maryland she decided to return to the culinary world managing restaurants in the Washington Metro area. In 1997 Laura moved to St John, VI to partner with her sister Lorna Nichols and friend Cassandra Henley to start their catering business. Her esteemed clients include Lacoste, Governor and First Lady John deJongh, University of the Virgin Islands, H & M, Ernst & Young, USVI Danish Society, St. John Yacht Club, NASA, FINTRACK, and many more. Passion Fruit Chefs is the 2012 proud recipient of the Wedding Wire’s “Bride’s Choice Award.” At Passion Fruit Chefs, our motto is “Whatever you do—do it with PASSION!” and we do!

4 A TASTE OF ST. CROIX  Evelyn Paul, Private Chef, Atlanta. Born on St. Lucia, Evelyn Paul relocated to the USA to attend the Peter Kump Culinary Arts School. While in NYC, she worked at cutting-edge restaurants including Match, Indochine and Thom. She returned to the Caribbean as the full-time private chef in the US Virgin Islands. She has trained with notable chefs including Douglas Rodriguez, Gary Robbins and Jonathan Eisman. She has appeared on CBS Atlanta, Fox TV Atlanta and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jezebel, Daily Candy, The Atlantan and more.

Orlando Santos, Top Chef, Pastry Chef/Owner, Orlando’s Chocolate Treasures, Pittsburgh.

Born on St. Croix and a graduate of the St. Croix Educational Complex, Orlando trained in the classical and contemporary art of pastries and artisanal chocolates at Johnson & Wales. He also appeared on Top Chef Desserts, placing in the top 5 and was on Food Network Challenge: Sugar Destinations. He is on the USVI team that will compete in the Culinary Olympics in Germany in 2012. He is the owner and Pastry Chef of Orlando’s Chocolate Treasures in Pittsburgh, PA, where he lives.

Ana Sortun, Top Chef, Chef/Owner, Oleana, Boston. James Beard winner and owner of Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ana Sortun has been called one of the country’s “best creative fusion practitioners.” Sortun’s cookbook, SPICE: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, was nominated for Best Cookbook by the James Beard Foundation and is a best seller according to the Boston Globe and LA Times. Ana competed on Top Chef Masters and has participated in the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience in 2011 and 2012.

Roberto Treviño, Iron Chef, Owner/Chef, Budatai, Puerto Rico. A returning chef to the St.

Croix Food and Wine Experience and the Taste, Roberto Treviño has been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, Bon Appétit and top culinary TV shows. He battled Mario Batali on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, has prepared a dinner at the James Beard House and is the chef/owner of the fabulous Budatai restaurant, El Barril, Bar Gitano, and, newly opened in 2011, Casa Lola, all located in Puerto Rico.

Mathayom Vacharat, Owner/Executive Chef, Mathayom Private Catering & St. John Catering, St. John. Chef Mat’s years as Executive Chef at premier restaurants such as Asolare, Paradiso, Chateau Bordeaux, and Chlore & Bernards lend his cuisine a breadth of influences ranging from Asian Fusion to Progressive American to Caribbean Flair. Mat uses only the freshest available product to create custom menus based on seasonal availability. Winning multiple awards, including “Best Private Chef of the VI” in 2010, Mat’s accomplishments also include “Ultimate Chef St. Thomas” in 2009, “Iron Chef vs. Island Chef” in 2010. Testimony to Mat’s valued expertise, he returned to “Ultimate Chef” as Master of Ceremonies and has been invited back to judge at the Taste year after year.

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