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BPOP donates $10K to boost USVI culinary programs

“Chefs Challenge" winner David Benjamin

As part of its commitment to the U.S. Virgin Islands community, where it has been doing business since 1981, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico recently donated $10,000 to the USVI Department of Education for the funding of culinary education programs in the region.

The funds were raised during the “Ultimate Flavors of the Islands” event, which took place at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott St. Thomas Beach Resort and brought together some of the best known chefs in the Caribbean.

The culinary extravaganza included a “Chefs Challenge,” won by David Benjamin from the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas, a graduate of one of the USVI Department of Education’s culinary programs. He received a $1,500 cash prize and an invitation to participate in an upcoming culinary event in Puerto Rico.

Second place winner Delano Jackson, from the Sugar Bay Resort, received $500, while third place finisher Lynda Boschulte, from the Frenchman’s Reef, received $250.

“The ‘Ultimate Flavors of the Islands’ event brought together some of the best known chefs in the Caribbean to help these students, who will be the culinary stars of the future. When you realize that all three of our ‘Chefs Challenge’ winners are graduates from culinary programs sponsored by the U.S. Virgin Island Department of Education, you know that these funds are very well invested,” said Oran Bowry, senior vice president of Banco Popular.

Accepting the donation check for the USVI Department of Education was Linda Sibily, supervisor of career and technical education.

“I want to express our gratitude to Banco Popular for contributing this donation to the Virgin Islands Department of Education and its culinary education programs, and for organizing this event that is a great showcase of the culinary talent we have in our islands,” Sibily said.

The ‘Ultimate Flavors of the Islands’ will take place once again in 2013, maintaining Banco Popular’s tradition of giving back to the community and of showcasing the Virgin Islands’ cuisine.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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