April 10, 2009 — Residents can discover who makes the best arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) on St. Croix April 18 while contributing to the Hispanic Collection at the Florence Williams Public Library.
The "Concurso de Arroz Con Pollo" is a fundraiser sponsored by the Virgin Islands – Puerto Rico Friendship Committee 2008. The contest is being held to raise funds to pay for a librarian to catalogue the Hispanic collection at the public library in Christiansted, said Zoraida Jacobs, coordinator of the contest. She said the collection will open to the public in the near future.
The contest was originally scheduled for October 2008, which turned out to be the day after Hurricane Omar hit. People were without power island-wide so it was kind of difficult to be cooking up award-winning chicken and rice. It was not forgotten but rescheduled for April 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m at the Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted.
It is fitting to be celebrated during National Library Week, during which "Worlds Connect at the Library" is the theme, said Jacobs.
Lisa Magras, a contestant, said her cooking has a Hispanic, Crucian and St Thomian influence.
"I wanted to help out the library, so I decided to take part. I'm from a family of cooks my sister bakes and my mom and I do the cooking," said Magras, a caterer. She added they run Debz Flava and have a booth at the Agricultural Fair.
Competitors from different Latin American countries will be showing off their talents to make the arroz con pollo from their countries. Those contestants are: Pablo Rojas, Ecuador; Gladys Felix, Puerto Rico; Humberto de O'Neal, Dominican Republic; Angie Morales, Puerto Rico; Maria Pellicer, Cuba; Lisa Magras, Puerto Rico; and Frederico Brown, Panama.
There is still time for interested cooks to get in on the competition by calling Jacobs at 773-1095 ext. 7045. Prizes, ribbons and certificates will be awarded.
"I love to work for the community — especially for a cause like the Hispanic collection," said Pablo Rojas. "And I love to cook and people tell me I'm a good cook. This is my first time entering a contest."
There will be other library activities such as book talks and reading sessions running concurrently with the chicken and rice contest.
"We will have special readers such as Edgar Lake, Cheryl Francis, Sharon Charles and Mauren Roebuck," added Jacobs.
The contest will be held in collaboration with the Reading Campaign, the Friends of St. Croix Public Libraries, and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums.
Tickets are $10 for a plate of chicken and rice, beans, salad and a beverage. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Sport Plus in the United Shopping Plaza, Alliance Clothing in Frederiksted and Latino 98.3 in Strawberry or at the door.
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