Tony Castellucci is an Executive Chef for the corporate offices of Facebook, the global social media company. Castellucci, who first joined the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience in 2013, worked his way up the culinary ladder from washing dishes when he was 15 to joining the culinary teams at corporate giants including Sun, GE, Lockheed Martin, Cisco, SAP, and Google. Chef Castellucci and Chef Dean Spinks manage the food programs at Facebook campuses around the world. In 2014 Castellucci and Spinks coordinated an internship at the Menlo Park Facebook campus for two students from the St. Croix Educational Complex. The internship is being repeated in 2015 and new students will be selected to participate in this educational opportunity.
Winner of Food Network's CHOPPED and Cut Throat Kitchen, Staten Island native and Florida resident Chef Robyn Almodovar knows how to give you “A Party in Your Mouth”. With a half Puerto Rican, half Italian background, Almodovar’s childhood was filled with culture, vibrancy and a deeply ingrained passion for food. By age three, Almodovar was rolling meatballs alongside her grandmother for Sunday’s Gravy. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Almovodar's diverse career has ranged from executive chef of a 172’ yacht on the high seas to South Florida restaurants including The Forge, Danny Devito's Devito South Beach, and the Royal Palm Hotel. Casted for FOX’s Hell’s Kitchen Season 10, Almovodar finished as a Top Finalist. In 2011, Almodovar purchased a 24’ food truck and founded “Palate Party”, a fresh, mobile café that utilizes locally sourced ingredients. Palate Party was the first female-owned food truck in South Florida with a stage on top for live entertainment. In 2013 Miami New Times voted Palate Party as the Best Food Truck in Miami and in 2014 Almodovar served as judge for Food Network's Food Truck Face Off. Welcome to the Virgin Islands, Chef Robyn!
Reid’s influence on Anguilla’s reputation as a gourmet destination is undeniable and now he brings his talent to St. Croix. From the age of 16, Chef George Reid has travelled the world through cuisine, completing 60 stages around the world and working in world-renowned restaurants including Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, Larivoire in Lyon, Momo Restaurant in London, Le Bernadain in New York City, Gary Danko’s and Fleur de Lys with Hubert Keller in San Francisco. On St. Martin, St. Kitts and Anguilla, Chef Reid has served as Executive Chef for Anguilla’s Cinnamon Reef Hotel, Cap Juluca’s three restaurants, and the Koal Keel Restaurant. Understanding the vital relationship between wine and cuisine, Chef Reid has worked with giants in the wine industry such as George Dubeouf, Baroness Philippine Rothschild, Don Concha Toro, Pierre Antinori, and Pol Roger, and he has won more medals than any chef in the annual Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition. A dedicated mentor to young chefs, Chef Reid also pays his expertise forward to the next generation of chefs, training, hiring, and providing assistance to culinary programs, such as the Hospitality School in Basseterre. George Reid has been the Restaurant Chef for Coba Restaurant at Viceroy Resort / Four Season Resort on Anguilla since 2011.
Regarded as one of the founding fathers of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, this charming and modest James Beard award winning chef defeated Masaharu Morimoto in Japan on Iron Chef, yet you won’t hear him bragging about it. Chef Choy is more likely to tell you about the preservation efforts of Hawaii, the nutritional value of breadfruit and ways communities can unite to improve situations. He does more than talk. Choy is providing an internship for two selected St. Croix students at his restaurant “Sam Choys Kai Lanai” in Hawaii. A graduate of Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts program, Sam Choy is a chef, restaurateur, author and television personality.
You could say Chef Digby Stridiron was born into food. A native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Chef Digby grew up around what many today call the “slow food” movement—fresh, locally harvested ingredients and proteins gathered from the sea just steps away. Add to that a West Indian culinary tradition influenced by the African diaspora, and Chef Digby’s gastronomic identity began to take root at an early age. Chef Digby carries forward those childhood influences today by advancing elegant, contemporary West Indian cuisine that balances avant-garde influences with old-fashioned techniques. He insists on local ingredients and makes a point to establish sustainable working relationships with farmers. Chef Digby was named as CTO's 2014-2015 Caribbean Chef of the year. He was later in that year awarded the roll as “Culinary Ambassador of the US Virgin Islands.”
Now, after staging his finely honed cuisine across the Caribbean and finding new inspiration from as far away as Italy, Haiti and Peru, Chef Digby is living his childhood dream by opening balter in downtown Christiansted, St. Croix.
Chef Negust is a celebrated award winning former member of the Virgin Islands Olympic Culinary Team, who has spent over a decade learning from and working with gold standard chefs like Todd Grey and Govind Armstrong. With a heritage that spans from Portugal, to Trinidad, to Brooklyn, and finally to St. Croix for the last 15 years, Chef Negust Kaza is quite at home creating dishes with flavors of the island while targeting the key ingredients that will provide the daily nutrients for a complete healthy body. Chef Negust’s passion for food anthropology has developed into his most recent project Kaza House, where he explores his creative side through a myriad of unique projects that allow him to not only bring exquisite original recipes to the public, but also educate and promote Health and Wellness to families across the island.
William “Billy D” Desimone is a self-trained chef, restauranteur and co-founder of the Josef L. Desimone Giving the Dream Memorial Fund, a non-profit organization in honor of his late brother. The Fund has assisted in covering the travel expenses of the internships at Facebook and Sam Choy’s restaurant in Hawaii. Billy D and his wife Deanna were part of the Facebook culinary team on their trip to St. Croix in 2013. They returned in 2014 to support the events, bought a house and are now permanent residents of St. Croix!