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TRAVEL AGENTS EXPERIENCE A VIRTUAL 7-DAY CARIBBEAN CULINARY ADVENTURE

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(June 30, 2020) Food is an essential aspect of Caribbean culture and as part of Caribbean American Heritage Month celebrated in the month of June, Travel Advisors Selling the Caribbean (TASC) organized a 7-day virtual showcase featuring award winning Caribbean chefs, to promote the culinary diversity of the region.

During the week of June 21st – June 27th, 2020 the private Facebook group organized “Caribbean Celebrity Chef Week” which highlighted the culinary artistry and creations of popular and burgeoning Caribbean Chefs. This cooking series is part of an online interactive program of events designed to help educate travel advisors, who have become some of the Caribbean’s biggest brand ambassadors, particularly during the global pandemic.

The daily cooking series featured 8 Caribbean destinations and 13 accomplished chefs, many of whom are based in North America and have made major media appearances. Connecting through modern communication technology, each day two accomplished chefs prepared a feast of Caribbean-inspired dishes from their home kitchens.  The chefs demonstrated simple steps in making the mouth watering dishes that they whipped up in just 30 minutes of cooking time. The Caribbean chefs all shared insights and anecdotes from their culinary journey that have inspired their style of cooking. Tourism sales reps from participating destinations also joined the virtual food tours to update travel advisors on some of the unique culinary experiences that their islands have to offer.

Kelly Fontenelle-Clarke, TASC founder and administrator stated, “These comprehensive interactive on-line events are designed to create greater awareness of the Caribbean’s diverse culinary offerings and to showcase some of the lesser known cultural experiences throughout the region. These cooking demonstrations gave travel advisors an authentic experience and a rare treat as they watched successful and talented chefs create a Caribbean meal in real time. Once travel advisors get to see these chefs in action, they will be inspired and better able to sell the Caribbean by putting together exciting itineraries that feature Caribbean food, communities and culture.”

The line-up of chefs in “Caribbean Celebrity Chef Week”:

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Claude Lewis – Former Executive Chef at Porta Restaurant, Owner of Freetown Road Restaurant, Jersey City NJ.  Season 38 Champion on Food Network’s “Chopped.”

Email: freetownroadproject@gmail.com

James Murphy – Private Caterer & Owner, Yabba Island Foods Email: r.murphy.james@gmail.com

Alycia Matthew – Owner and Private Chef of Foodie Engineer. Runner-up in Rachel Ray’s Tuition Competition. Email: alycia@foodieengineer.com

Giovanni Meyer – Graduate of ABHTI and CIA. Chef de Cuisine of Byblos Uptown Restaurant in Toronto. Email:giovannimeyer@gmail.com

GRENADA

Belinda Bishop – Managed five restaurants as food production manager at Marriott Hotels in NY, FL, GA. Email: info@flavoursofgrenada.gd

GUYANA

Kishawn Solomon – Private Chef/Restauranteur Glaze Kitchen, Newark NJ. Email: GlazeKitchen@gmail.com

HATI

Natacha Supplice-Henry – Private Chef/Caterer icancook2.  Participant in Food Network “Chopped” Chilli Cook-Off, 2016. Email: info@icancook2.com

Stephan Berrouet-Durand – Culinary Consultant Personal/Private Chef, CEO Innovativ’ Food Group. Email: culinarybydesign@gmail.com

JAMAICA

Patrick Simpson – Executive Chef at Sony Hall, formerly BB King’s. Brand Ambassador for Walkerswood Caribbean Foods. Food Network appearance on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

Email: chefwpsimpson@gmail.com

Chef Irie – Global Culinary Architect, Executive Chef Irie Spice Inc., Personal Chef and Catering Services. Co-Host of “Taste the Islands” on PBS. Email: chefirie66@gmail.com

SAINT LUCIA 

Shorne Benjamin – James Beard Foundation Chef. Executive Chef at Andaz 5th Ave, NYC. Food Network appearance on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

Email: Chefshorne@gmail.com

ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES

Samara Murphy – Private Chef/Owner Petit Four Restaurant, Georgetown, Guyana.

Email: Samaramurphy@hotmail.com

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Soca Chef  – Private Chef/Founder Soul of Culinary Arts. Email: ancil.faria@gmail.com

The cooking sessions were hosted by Caribbean tastemakers: Donyelle Bird-Browne, Natalie John, Réal Hamilton-Romeo, Derede Whitlock, Erica Henry-Jackman and Dave Ray. They engaged the chefs in in-depth discussions about their heritage and how cultural influences and migration have shaped their unique style of cooking and their  food connections. 

Culinary tourism is one of the fastest growing travel sectors and this cooking series allowed travel advisors and their clients to learn more about the destinations from these culinary ambassadors, who know the land the best. The Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) recent research indicates that more than one third of global tourism expenditure is spent on food and beverage products. Visitors increasingly identify local food and food experiences as their primary and secondary motivations for choosing specific destinations.

Travel Advisors Who Sell the Caribbean (TASC) is a private Facebook Group that facilitates a peer networking environment to promote Caribbean Tourism. It’s 5,000 members throughout North America unite digitally to converse, problem-solve, inspire and learn from each other.

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