A Taste of St. Croix is an event that takes place once a year, but it’s much more than that. In addition to donating substantial proceeds to the St. Croix Foundation, as a nonprofit organization. Taste also contributes to and funds several restaurant and service industry related services and training. Our 365 Projects are designed to support, educate, and promote the hospitality industry year-round. The Taste also sponsors civic, art and cultural events that help keep St. Croix and the US Virgin Islands vibrant.
St. Croix Culinary Juniors – A Taste of St. Croix, Inc. is committed to supporting our future generations, a vitally important component to our island’s prosperity. The St. Croix Culinary Juniors creates a career path that exposes young people to the opportunities and possibilities of the culinary industry. In 2013 and in partnership with Innovative, the Taste developed the St. Croix Culinary Juniors, a team of 7th and 8th graders who receive weekly training with local and nationally known executive chefs. Their passion and skill is showcased at the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience at the elite Cork and Fork Dinner and the dynamic Kids Cooking to inspire burgeoning chefs and engage our young people at an early age.
Reef Responsible – Working closely with the Nature Conservancy and its partners, A Taste of St. Croix helped coordinate workshops that promoted the improved health of our local reefs through the reduction of human impacts. Providing a list of seafood common to Virgin Islands waters and a seasonal calendar, including fish ‘fact cards,’ together with Reef Responsible the Taste supports environmental consciousness to keep St. Croix healthy.
Farm-to-Table – A partnership between the VI Department of Agriculture and A Taste of St. Croix, this 2012 summer pilot program served to build awareness and support stronger networks between restaurants and St. Croix’s local farms. As an economic benefit, free radio and print advertising increased interest among the public and generated business in the hospitality industry and for local farms. A highly successful program, Taste is currently researching funding sources to run this program year-round.
Social Media Marketing Class – A partnership between St. Croix Lime and A Taste of St. Croix, our Social Media Marketing Class provided information on how to utilize social media as a free and powerful marketing tool. Attendees, ranging from restaurants to representatives from the VI Department of Tourism, learned the details behind using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and mobile apps for maximum exposure.
50/50 Taste Coupon Program – To support restaurants and strengthen relationships between farmers and our chefs, the Taste provides up to $50 to over 50 Taste restaurants every year. In 2014, coupons to Quality Food of St. Croix were added to the 50/50 program to help subsidize restaurants as well as support Quality Food, a locally owned distributor. This program promotes awareness and serves as an important motivator for chefs to use locally grown (and owned) ingredients—an economic and healthy benefit for both parties and the public.
ServSafe Certification Course – Sponsored and coordinated by A Taste of St. Croix, attendees learn basic food safety practices for preparing and serving food and upon passing the ServSafe exam, received food handler certificates from the National Restaurant Association. This was an extremely important program; classes are mandatory in kitchens in United States and were not available on St. Croix.
Youth Hospitality Training Program – Recognizing the importance of youth training and in partnership with St. Croix Educational Complex, Taste provided two summer programs in which our next generation learned the ins and outs of the culinary and service industry. In 2009, Aaron Tutein took this course as his first formal introduction to the culinary arts. In 2014, he returned from an internship in Silicon Valley at Facebook’s corporate headquarters, proving that the career pipeline is working.