Curacao gets honors at CHIC

At the 2006 Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC), an annual conference presented by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), the 2006 Executive of the Year and the 2006 Caribbean Chef of the Year awards went to residents of the same island - Curaçao. As did the culinary Gold Medal, the bartending Silver Medal and honorable mentions in the pastry competition.

Taste of the Caribbean, the premier international culinary event in Caribbean cuisine, challenges teams of five, including three top chefs, a pastry chef and a bartender from CHA member hotels to compete against one another to determine which island has the best culinary skills in the Caribbean. The Curaçao team excelled in the competition and took home the gold. The award-winning team was made up of Stephan Brallet, Hotel Kura Hulanda; Hans van Triest and Loucine Pastoor, Floris Suite Hotel; Carl de Windt, Trupial Inn; team bartender Howard St. Jago, Otrobanda Hotel; and team manager Marcal Wittenburg, Breezes.

“The island of Curaçao is extremely proud of the men and women who received these awards, which show the world what we have known all along- that we have great people and great culinary minds on island” said Clifton Walle, Executive Director of Tourism. “In fact, these awards couldn’t have been presented at a better time as the island of Curaçao gets ready to showcase its culinary talents during the 2nd Annual Curaçao Culture, Cuisine and Heritage Experience this fall.”

Hans van Triest, head chef at the Floris Suite Hotel in Curaçao, won the acclaimed Caribbean Chef of the Year award. Triest is originally from Holland where he worked in numerous Michelin star restaurants. He is currently the Food and Beverage Manager and Executive Chef at Sjalotte, the restaurant at the Floris Suite Hotel.

“I am honored to be chosen as the 2006 Caribbean Chef of the Year,” said Hans van Triest, the Food and Beverage Manager and Executive Chef at Sjalotte. “To be selected among so many talented chefs really means a great deal to me.”

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Nearly twenty Caribbean national culinary teams participated in Taste of the Caribbean during CHIC 2006, including Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and United States Virgin Islands.

Don Werdekker, the Executive Vice President of the Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association (CHATA), received the prestigious Executive of the Year award. Werdekker has been Executive Vice President of CHATA since 1991 and is also a board member of the Curaçao Trade Industry Association, which is the representative body of the Curaçao business community.

“It is great to be part of the CHATA family and to be recognized by your peers for doing a good job,” said Don Werdekker, Executive of the Year. “That job can only be done well with the support of an enabling board and motivated staff which I am privileged to have.”

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