Road to Taste of the Caribbean starts with fundraising dinner


OYSTER BAY – On Wednesday, May 4, Infinity Restaurant at Oyster Bay Beach Resort played host to the 2016 St. Maarten Culinary Team’s first fundraising dinner.

Patrons saw the team, consisting of Team Captain Dino Jagtiani, main chefs David Cudicio of Dreams Restaurant on the French side; Pieter Holstein of Food Collective Rum & Peas; Pastry Chef Ronald Stephane of Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino; Junior Chef Suzirea Adoptie who attends NIPA Institute; and co-captain Bart Peut of Sundial School, cook together for the first time.

The team presented their craft to a sold out dining room exactly the size of the Taste of the Caribbean competition specifications. The 5-course dinner, enjoyed by all, formed part of a dual function for the team; the opportunity to present their skills while raising funds for the team to travel.

Chefs Cudicio and Holstein started the dinner with a cream of cauliflower amuse bouche. It was then on to a fresh and flavorful duo of red snapper. In addition, patrons were served a sharp and crisp Lemoncello sorbet to cleanse the palate between courses. The main entree for the evening was braised sirloin flank steak, with mashed yucca, coconut and caramelized garlic with pumpkin and carrot crème, which was truly a mix of Caribbean flavors.

Pastry Chef Stephane artfully presented a sweet potato and vanilla blossom juxtaposed with a spicy tamarind scotch bonnet sauce to close the evening.

Wines were offered by Masset Wines and Oyster Bay Beach Resort throughout the meal while the St. Maarten team was supported by Junior Chef Adoptie, Captain Jagtiani and co-Captain Peut.

The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and the team would like to thank SMTA, Sonesta Great Bay, PDG, Divi Resorts and all other sponsors for their contributions towards the team, practice sessions and fundraising/practice dinners.

Hosting a team for Taste of the Caribbean requires the finances to provide the team with the tools to provide their best. To this end, the SHTA is urging the business sector to participate in the corporate sponsorship packages. In addition, a GoFundMe account will be launched for individuals who are interested in contributing. “No donation is too small as we support our team on their journey to showcase why St. Maarten/St. Martin is the culinary capital of the Caribbean,” a release stated.

SHTA will host 2 additional fundraising evenings for the team to practice and showcase their skills. The dates are: May 16, at Sonesta Great Bay and June 1, at Temptation Restaurant.  Limited tickets are available via SHTA.

The Caribbean-wide competition Taste of the Caribbean, will be held in Miami, Florida, June 6-10.