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HomeNewsLocal news24th Annual Taste of St. Croix Brings Style, Flare, and of Course, Food  

24th Annual Taste of St. Croix Brings Style, Flare, and of Course, Food  

Attendees gathered for a night of food. (Source photo by Diana Dias)
Attendees gathered for a night of food. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

The 24th Annual Taste of St. Croix did not disappoint as it brought style, flair, and of course, food to hundreds of attendees Thursday.  One of the most highly anticipated nights of the year gathered over 25 restaurants at the Divi Carina Bay Resort and Casino.

Chef competitors went head-to-head in different categories of tasting. Categories ranged from appetizers, to entrees, desserts, and event drinks. This year’s judges could not wait to taste what each competitor had to share.

Blue Chocolat served a key lime margarita pate choux at Taste of St. Croix. (Source photo by Diana Dias)
Blue Chocolat served a key lime margarita pate choux at Taste of St. Croix. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

Business owner of Too Much Juice Apparels, Judith Lewis Figueroa, affectionately known as “Juicy” was assigned the category of beverage.  As a former bartender herself, Juicy said that she was representing the “Thomanians,” and that competitors better keep it “juicy.”

A native to St. Croix, Abraham Reynolds, was the former chef for Gertrudes restaurant. Reynolds judged the entree segment and said he would be “looking for flavor.”

Other judges included Michele Rose Gaton who was raised on St. Croix and owns Extra Virgin restaurant in New York.  She judged the appetizers category alongside Food Network’s Chopped champion Eric Marshall, who is no stranger to competition.

Marshall said they were looking for chefs to be presenting their technique “because when you look at a dish you want to automatically be gravitated to how it looks first.”

Marshall added that typically the appetizer is usually an indication of how the rest of the meal will go.

Over on the competitors side, Chef Jamal Miranda was firing it up with his guavaberry lamb chops. Miranda, who has been competing in the Taste of St. Croix for years, said,  “I’ve competed with numerous restaurants. Now I’m with my own restaurant, Wokame Island Sushi and Restaurant.” Miranda placed 2nd in the appetizers category.

Winner for the entree segment was Turkey Legs ON-THE-GO. It’s chef spoke about his creative way of bringing Thanksgiving every day to St. Croix and served turkey legs with rice, coleslaw, and potato salad. Many of the attendees came back for seconds of their johnny cakes.

The band warms up at the Taste of St. Croix. (Source photo by Diana Dias)
The band warms up at the Taste of St. Croix. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

Also a winner was Sugar Rush Gourmet Confections, pairing their sweet treats with drinks. Owner Melanie Johannes-Titre said that she learned about drink pairings through her chef husband and won in three categories.

For Jubilee by Yaadie in St. Croix’s owner, it was her first time entering under her restaurant name and she reigned supreme, placing second in local fare and first in appetizer.

The complete results are below:

Beverage
1st place: Sugar Rush
2nd place: VLP Enterprise
3rd place: Bleu Chocolat

Soup and stew 
1st place: St. Croix Central High Culinary Class
2nd place: Saviors Journey
3rd place: Vital Vibration

Vegetarian
1st place: Cruzian Bayou Bistro
2nd place: Carambola Beach Resort
3rd place: Ridge to Reef Farm

Local fare 
1st place: Chef Camicha Lynch
2nd place: Jubilee by Yaadie in St. Croix
3rd place: Saviors Journey

Appetizer
1st place: Jubilee by Yaadie in St. Croix
2nd place: Wo’kame Island Bar & Restaurant
3rd place: Rita Chiverton

Entree
1st place: Turkey Legs ON-THE-GO
2nd place: Grapevine Restaurant
3rd place: Rowdy Joe’s

Dessert
1st place: Cultured Delights and Sugar Rush
2nd place: Bleu Chocolat
3rd place: Carambola Beach Resort

People’s choice
1st place: Carambola Beach Resort
2nd place: Vital Vibration and Rita Chiverton
3rd place: Turkey Legs ON-THE-GO

Presentation
1st place:  Sugar Rush
2nd place: CTEC Baking/Post Secondary
3rd place:  Culture Delights

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