Members of the Anguilla Culinary Experience 2022 organizing committee presented a total of $4,600 USD in charitable donations to representatives of the Anguilla National Culinary Team (ANCT), Future Hospitality & Tourism Leaders (FHTL), Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School and the Anguilla Community College (ACC) during a ceremony on November 28, 2022 at the Anguilla Tourist Board’s office in The Valley. The presentation was hosted by Janine Edwards of Sunset Homes and the Anguilla Tourist Board and featured remarks from the Honorable Minister of Tourism Haydn Hughes. KSharp Media donated photography services.
The Anguilla Culinary Experience (ACE) is an annual epicurean festival that brings together talented chefs from Anguilla and around the world with food-loving guests at Anguilla’s world-class resorts, luxury villas and bespoke restaurants. First held in May 2022, ACE will return for its second year from May 3 to 6, 2023.
“When my husband Neil and I, along with our friends Carrie and Jerry Bogar of Veya, Marc Alvarez of Ember and Dale Carty of Tasty’s, came up with the idea for ACE, we wanted to highlight Anguilla’s talented chefs, fresh ingredients and international flavors. At the heart of our mission was also the desire to give back to Anguilla,” said ACE Co-chair and Villa Alegria owner, Wendy Freeman of Chicago, Illinois. “We invited the island’s national culinary team and hospitality students to work alongside our local and guest chefs at the events and decided to donate a portion of ACE proceeds to help fund culinary arts programming.”
Led by former Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association Chief Executive Officer Gilda Gumbs-Samuel and Captain Chef Kelston “Sweets” Connor, the highly decorated ANCT competes at international events including the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s annual Taste of the Caribbean and Miami 305. During the final ACE 2022 beach barbeque at the Anguilla Great House Beach Resort, team members went head-to-head in a live mystery basket cooking competition, with Chef Sweets taking home the top chef award.
Through FHTL, young leaders gain real-world knowledge and skills needed to pursue a long-term career in hospitality. Secondary school students can start to explore culinary arts classes at Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School, while at ACC, students can earn a Caribbean Tourism and Learning Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Studies. Alumni of the ANCT and these pillar academic institutions have worked in elite kitchens in Anguilla and around the world, and many now run or own some of the island’s top restaurants.
“Anguilla has a long legacy as the culinary capital of the Caribbean,” said ACE founding member Chef Carrie Bogar of Veya and SandBar restaurants. “Thanks to our resort and restaurant partners, the Anguilla government and tourist board, our local and guest chefs, our generous sponsors including Les Grands Vins de France and Tradewind Aviation, and everyone who bought a ticket, ACE is able to provide critical financial support for Anguilla’s next generation of chefs.”
In addition to volunteering at ACE events, students had the opportunity to sit down with ACE guest chef and James Beard Award-winner Jonathan Waxman at the Comprehensive Learning Centre in North Hill. Chef Waxman shared his life story, industry insights and sage career advice with the students in an insightful Q&A session.
“We are grateful to the Anguilla Culinary Experience 2022 for their generous donation. The mentoring and financial support ACE has provided is life-changing and will help ensure Anguilla continues its legacy of exceptional cuisine for years to come,” said Gumbs-Samuel.
View photos from Anguilla Culinary Experience 2022 events.
Photo by KSharp Media. Pictured in photo (Left to Right) Row 1: Duvena Singh (FHTL), Jodeen Temple (ACC), Shinika Lake (ALHCS), La-Toyah Mathew (FHTL), Chef Kelston Connor (ANCT), Gilda Gumbs-Samuel (ANCT). Row 2: Sharon Richardson (ACC), Director of Tourism Stacey Liburd, Lily Moses (Cabarita Agency), Chef Carrie Bogar (Veya and SandBar), Honorable Minister of Tourism Haydn Hughes, Janine Edwards (Sunset Homes and Tranquility Beach Resort), Deputy Director of Tourism Chantelle Richardson, Sean Richard (Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club). Row 3: Orrett Wynter (Cabarita Agency), Jerry Bogar (Veya and SandBar), Chef Dale Carty (Tasty’s and POV), Kevin Carty (Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club). Back Row: Chef Bruno Carvalho (Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel), Fritz Smith (Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel), Will Fleming (Anguilla Great House Beach Resort).