During a sumptuous welcome lunch on behalf of the St. Maarten private sector last Friday, His Excellency Governor Ajamu Baly and his team sampled a variety of signature dishes provided by seven restaurants and bars taking part in the November St. Maarten Flavors program. The lunch at Pure Ocean Restaurant (sponsored by Divi Resort) served as a welcome to the recently appointed Governor and to get him acquainted with one of the unique features of the country he now serves as Head of State – its wide culinary diversity.

In a short presentation, the Governor was informed how the not-for-profit St. Maarten Flavors program aims to bring the St. Maarten culinary sector under an international spotlight, allowing residents and visitors alike to try new tastes at set price points of $49 (three course) and $17.50 (one course specials) and raise funds for a new St. Maarten culinary team in the process via an online auction.

With expert guidance of the captain of the successful 2017 National Culinary team, Ms. Renata de Weever, a seven-course sampling of different tastes was composed to provide the Governor a “welcome lunch”. A custom-made Menu functioned as a guide to the Governor what dishes were served, and which 49 restaurants and bars take part in the St. Maarten Flavors program.

Explanation of the backgrounds of the St. Maarten Flavors signature dishes and cocktails was provided by chefs Jewel Daal (TJ’s Cassava Coal Pot), Rosendo van Putten (Irie Gardens), Arti Rajpal (Spices of India), Chin Wong (Aziana), Julio Haynes (Pure Ocean), Cristina Martin (Topper’s) and Gielbert Rondei (Kingsman).

In between of the seven servings, the Governor took the time to learn about developments within the culinary and larger tourism sector from invited private sector representatives of the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB), PDG Supplies and host Divi Little Bay Resort. Table guest Ms. Renata de Weever explained the Governor about her experiences of leading the previous national culinary team to the prestigious Taste of the Caribbean event in Miami in 2017. The St. Maarten Flavors program aims to raise funds for a new team of St. Maarten culinary talent for 2023 by means of an online auction of hotel weeks, activities and retail products.

The Governor’s Lunch marked the halfway point of the first St. Maarten Flavors November. As high season slowly but surely picks up, organizers call on all people involved still planning to sample St. Maarten Flavors signature dishes and cocktail combinations at the 49 restaurants and bars taking part to make reservations in the remaining days of November for their restaurants of choice. Information on participating restaurants and their signature dishes of choice can be found at StMaartenFlavors.com. It also suggests those people willing to support the new Culinary Team to (re)issue biddings in the online auction of 25 hotel weeks, activity and retail items timely as winners will be determined on 1st December 2022.

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