SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The launch of the SXM Lagoon Festival which took place at Yacht Club Port De Plaisance, Palapa Marina, Skyport Marina and Isle De Sol Marina from March 23-26 has been heralded a resounding success, influenced by the SMMTA, Department of Maritime Affairs, Department of Economy, Transport & Telecommunication of the TEATT and the Tourism Bureau.
The opening celebration kicked off at Yacht Club Port De Plaisance, A First-of-its-kind “Best of the Best” Chef Competition featuring four Yacht Chef’s, 3 local Master Chef’s and their inspired cuisines. Hosted by G-Money, with real time play-by-play, the event started with a supermarket sweep; all competitors were given 15 minutes to grab all items needed for the main course at EZshop - Prime Supermarket.
The competition gave the chef’s the opportunity to compete head-to-head, putting their talents to the test, in front of an esteemed panel of prestigious judges like, Executive Chef Dino Jagtiani, Head Chef and owner Jewel Daal, Chef Alexander Adoptie and Chef Danitza Dormoy who has held several executive roles in restaurants. The Show commenced with the competition briefing of rules and regulations and judging points category, technique, presentation, taste, use of ingredients, creativity, hygiene, and organization.
Sint Maarten is known as the yachting capital of the Caribbean, and adding this event to the annual event calendar is with hope to attract new clientele to our destination, said Sharrita Mills, Director of Marketing and Sales – Yacht Club Port De Plaisance. Showcasing our local talent amongst the prestige superyacht chefs was an unprecedented opportunity, Sharrita Mills added.
Round 1 of the competition – Appetizer: Seven chefs were presented with a mystery box with locally grown produce from our local farmers and were given 45 minutes to create an appetizer. After a tough deliberation the top four moved on to the 2nd round, Chef Louise Martin – Yacht Whisper 117 FT, Chef David – Yacht Dona Lola 130 FT, Chef Suzirea Adoptie – Local Chef, Chef Kareem Brooks – Local Chef.
Round 2 of the competition – Main Course: The remaining four Chef’s were given 60 minutes to create a main course with conch as the main ingredient and mango as the mystery ingredient was presented. They did not disappoint, putting imaginative twists on classic dishes that were truly unparalleled. Their ingenuity and use of culinary techniques had their dishes exceeding all expectations, and while it was very close two winners, whose dishes truly hit the mark, were chosen and advanced to the final round, Chef David – Yacht Dona Lola 130 FT, Chef Suzirea Adoptie – Local Chef.
Round 3 of the competition – Dessert: Final contestants were given 45 minutes to create and present a distinctive dish that represents their personalities. They were presented with a mystery box of ingredients to create an elevated dessert to impress the judging panel. Ingredients in the mystery box were local guavaberry, maple bacon and salted chocolate.
After much deliberation, the judges awarded the winner to local Chef Suzirea Adoptie, second place to Chef David – Yacht Dona Lola 130 FT. The first-place winner received 1,000 USD cash from Yacht Club Port De Plaisance and gift vouchers for two persons: round trip boat transfers from Sint Maarten to Anguilla, Boat transfer to Sandy Island and $200 credit at Sandy Island, courtesy of the Anguilla Tourist Board. Second place received, gift voucher: one round trip ticket to St. Maarten and accommodations for 3 nights /4days, courtesy of the Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau.
To celebrate a successful event, Yacht Club Port De Plaisance hosted an after party in the oasis garden on the property. Invited guests, judging chefs, competitors and crew members from the participating marinas joined the exclusive after-hours event, filled with tons of surprises, including a live band, Hors d’oeuvres, a fully stocked open bar, stilt walkers and fire dancers. Amongst the list of invites was the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Infrastructure and Communication, Haydn Hughes from Anguilla. “It was a dynamic evening where we had the opportunity to celebrate and converse with industry members,” said Haydn Hughes – Honorable Minister of Tourism, infrastructure, and Communication – Anguilla.
“I was really impressed with the organization and setup of the chef cook-off competition. It was definitely on the level of what you would see on the cooking shows on t.v. This was an amazing opener and the start of a weekend filled with activities associated with the first-ever SXM Lagoon Festival”, said Shervin Frederick, Senior Policy Advisor – Department of Economy, Transportation & Telecommunication of the Ministry of TEATT. I look forward to seeing this event grow to the level of the other major events locally, Shervin Frederick added.
The entire event was well organized, breakfast and lunch were served during the event, with Steelband playing in the background. The exciting event was made even more successful through the invaluable support of EZshop Prime Supermarket who sponsored the items from the supermarket sweep, the fully stocked bar which perfectly complemented the evening. All items: pot, pans, utensils, butine burners and stainless-steel table for the competition was sponsored by PDG Supplies.
“We are looking forward to launching the second edition of the competition in the near future.” Said Ichel Moeslikan, Concierge Manager – Yacht Club Port De Plaisance.
This was a commendable first year, mirroring our unwavering pursuit of passion and performance in the yachting industry, said Sharrita Mills Director of Marketing and Sales, Yacht Club Port De Plaisance. We had an amazing team that worked tirelessly to make this event successful, ‘Ichel Moeslikan, Concierge Manager, Jesse Peterson, Director of Operations and Chef Ashley Dambruck, Sharrita Mills added.
Thank you to all our Title Sponsors: EzShop – Prime Supermarket, PDG Supplies and event partners: Anguilla Tourist Board, Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau, Department of Maritime Affairs, Department of Economy, Transportation and Telecommunication, Molongo and Soualiga Rum. Event support: Dr. Fire Entertainment and Sandy’s Catering. Local Farmers: Soualiga Farm, Arrowroot Farm, Farm4U, Spaceless Garden, Lovers Organic Garden, Moringa Powder and Golden Grove Farm.