Media Marketing, along with the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association, Celebrate the United States Virgin Islands Culinary Team Bringing Home the Gold.

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Media Marketing is pleased to annouce U.S. Virgin IsIands Culinary Team took GOLD overall in the 2014 Taste of the Caribbean competition which is proudly sponsored by the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association.

2014 USVI Culinary Team!

USVI Culinary Team Wins GOLD.

Congratulations to the United States Virgin Islands Culinary Team which took gold overall in the 2014 Taste of the Caribbean competition at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, Florida June 28 through July 2. This is the first time the team has taken home an overall gold medal, demonstrating they are not only the best at their individual specialties, but one of the best teams in the region!

"I'm glad to have had the opportunity to represent the USVI with pride and honor, [and] to bring home the gold," said chef Taj Siwatu. "The Taste of the Caribbean has been a supreme learning experience for me. Our hard work and dedication has shown."

In addition to winning gold overall, the team was also awarded gold in the Taste of the Islands competition. Bartender Brandon DeCloux took home gold in the Best Vodka Drink and Bartender of the Year competitions, and was also named the overall winner of the Bartender of the Year competition. Silver medals went to Ron Duprat for Chef of the Year, George Sittig in the Beef Competition, and Ryan Cross in the Pastry Competition. Danika Joseph won bronze in the Junior Chef Competition, and Honorable Mention went to Taj Siwatu in the Seafood Competition and Gary Klinefelter in the Cheesecake Competition.

Over the course of five days, teams from all over the region compete in a hot food/culinary team competition, bartender competition, and pastry competition. There are also individual competitions as well as the Taste of the Islands where teams highlight popular dishes from their respective islands. Each competition presents its own unique obstacles as chefs must take on challenges like preparing three-course meals from a mystery basket and making items within an allotted time period, all the while considering presentation, creativity, and more.

Each participating team represents a Caribbean island which has held individual competitions to select their national team. The participating team members represent hotels, restaurants, or educational institutions in the Caribbean which are members of the host organization, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

There is also a trade show at the event, described as a one-stop forum for gathering practical information, sampling, purchasing, strengthening established supplier relationships, and meeting new vendors, all on hand to help Taste of the Caribbean registrants build food and beverage business.

The 2014 USVI Culinary Team is comprised of: Marco Sanchez, team captain and executive sous chef at the Marriott Frenchman's Reef Resort; Taj Siwatu, owner and chef at Buddha Sushi Bar; Ryan Cross, executive pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas; Brandon DeCloux, bartender at Sibs on the Mountain; Ron Duprat, executive chef at Sugar Bay Resort and Spa; George Sittig, executive chef at Greenside Grille Carambola Golf Course; and Danika Joseph of Sugar Bay Resort and Spa. In addition, Gary Klinefelter, executive chef at the Buccaneer, and Taste of St. Croix cook-off competition winner Michael Matthew assisted the team in Miami.

"I remember the first meeting we had and our commitment to work like a team and that's what we're doing. One person doesn't make any difference, the teamwork is key," said team captain Sanchez.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors who provide the funds for practice, travel, tools, uniforms, and more. Without their support, we would not be able to participate in these regional competitions which bring much-needed publicity to the territory. USVI Culinary Team sponsors include the USVI Department of Tourism, the West Indian Company, Ltd., Cruzan Rum/Premier Wines and Spirits, Innovative Corporation, International Capital Management Company, the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, the Marriott Frenchman's Reef, Taste of St. Croix, and Merchants Market.

News Release provided by: USVI Hotel and Tourism Association

To learn more about the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands check out, or visit Media Marketing, Inc. at Media Marketing, Inc., the publishers of user friendly tourist guides in the VIrgin Islands - Places To Explore, the USVI Marine Guide and Places To Eat Maps.

Media Marketing, Inc. is also doing a monthly giveaway. Every month someone will win a 2 GB iPod Silver Shuffle, courtesy of Boolchand’s St. Thomas - The lucky June winner was Chi Shannon of Salem, Oregon.

What’s in the box:
    iPod shuffle
    Apple Earphones
    USB Cable
    Quick Start guide
    Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
    Up to 15 hours of audio playback when fully charged

To enter this great giveaway, people simply need to visit the Media Marketing, Inc. Facebook page,, click on the Free Giveaway, then "Like" Media Marketing, Inc. and fill out an entry form with your email address and some basic information. Once the submission form is complete, the Media Marketing, Inc. Facebook fans will be registered to win. Congratulations to Leigh Nichols from Lexington, SC who was the lucky April Winner.

For more information about Media Marketing, Inc. and the monthly giveaways, contact them at 340-774-0920 or visit their website.

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Jennifer Sibilly and Rita Jones
Media Marketing, Inc.
since: 02/2012
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