Left to right: Host Lisa Lee, Chef Thia, Chef Irie and Calibe Thompson, event producer. Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed.

Staff Report

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Hundreds of South Floridians experienced an evening of fine Caribbean cuisine on Thursday, June 1 during the “The Taste the Islands Experience.”

Backed by Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, the event kicked off Caribbean American Heritage Month in high style, with guests arriving early for the sold out affair where attendees enjoyed an array of gourmet appetizers by celebrity chefs Hugh “Chef Irie” Sinclair from Jamaica, Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna from Haiti and Barbara Brathwaite from Barbados.

8C-Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam engaged with attendees - Photo by Gregory Reed

 Pictured left: Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam speaks with guests. Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed.

The event celebrated the launch of “Taste the Islands” Season II, a Caribbean culinary and travel series airing on Create TV and public television stations nationwide. The half-hour cooking series featuring Caribbean-themed recipes and travel segments is a family friendly program that provides an opportunity for viewers to learn about the fascinating food and culture of the Caribbean.
The program began with a welcome hour and pageant queens as well as costumed Barbados “Crop Over” players dancing to the music of a steel drum. Guests perused a selection of silent auction items, raising money for Jamaican and Haitian causes through non-profit event partner Food for the Poor, whose executive director Angel Aloma spoke passionately about the organization’s mission later in the evening.
Guests received welcome drinks and were ushered into a lavish room with tropical plants, elegant cocktail tables and intricately carved signage, compliments of luxury interior designer Marsha McDonald of Seacrest Designs and Decor. The appetizers on display were so enticing that anxiously awaiting attendees intercepted servers as they entered the room.8C-Guests sampling bites - Photo by Gregory Reed

Pictured right: Guests sample bites at “The Taste the Islands Experience.” Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed.

Inside the Sandals sponsored VIP area, guests enjoyed a selection of premium appetizers, complimentary cocktails and lounge seating, as well as massages by Goldson Spine.

A who’s who of dignitaries were in attendance including Jamaican Consul General Franz Hall, Haitian Consul General Gandy Thomas, Haiti Tourism Minister Jessy Menos and Barbadian Consul Joseph Hunte.
The evening’s live program included speeches by dignitaries including Messam, Jeneissy Azcuy of presenting station South Florida PBS and series and event producer Calibe Thompson, who also unveiled the production team’s first issue of the highly anticipated “Island Origins Magazine,” as well as a preview of “Taste the Islands” Season II and a live cooking demonstration by the show’s celebrity chefs.8C-Chef Barbara's Kiwi Passion Cheesecake representing Barbados - Photo by Gregory Reed

Pictured left: Chef Barbara Braithwaithe’s Kiwi Passion Cheesecake. Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed.

Guests received swag bags including sponsor products and a complimentary copy of Island Origins, which is available free at South Florida events and retail locations throughout the month of June.

Learn more about “Taste the Islands” at www.tastetheislandstv.com.