Two days of culinary demos and educational activities took place in the U.S. Virgin Islands late last month, during the annual “Ultimate Flavors of the Islands” event at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas and sponsored by Banco Popular.
Renowned chefs, including Jeffrey Butler from the International Culinary Institute, as well as Puerto Rico’s Mario Pagán, took part in the event, offering hands-on lessons on food preparation. More than 20 restaurants participated in the event’s “Grand Tasting,” which followed a cooking competition for cash prizes.
The winner was Chris Spesak, of the Mahogany Run in St. Thomas, who took home $1,000, followed by second and third place winners Anthony May of Old Farmhouse in St. Thomas, and David Benjamin of the Ritz Carlton hotel, who won $500 and $250, respectively.
Banco Popular will donate the proceeds from ticket sales to the USVI Department of Education to develop and implement culinary programs.
“This event is more than a food event, it’s an additional way to support students and contribute to our community. At the end of the day, the stars of this effort are the students,” said Antolín Velasco, first vice president of Popular’s USVI region.