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Monday, August 8, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesChefs Team with Students at Sunset BBQ

Chefs Team with Students at Sunset BBQ

Celebrity chefs gave local culinary students a master class in the fine art of barbequing Friday night, feeding several hundred grateful guests in the process.

The Sunset Barbeque was one of the final events of the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience and, held on the Frederiksted pier, proved to be a quieter and more intimate affair than Thursday’s A Taste of St. Croix.

Only a handful of tents and tables were set up on the pier on either side of the welcome center. Guests floated from one grill to the next, sampling a wide selection of smoky meat, like Korean-style beef with kimchi and blackened mahi mahi po’boys.

Each station was led by one of the celebrity chefs who served as judges at Taste. Teams of three or four students from the St. Croix Career and Technical Educational Complex’s culinary team joined each chef, helping to prepare the meal from beginning to end.

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Anton Doos, the students’ instructor, said he was impressed by the amount of effort the celebrity chefs had put into teaching the students. He said they’d come to the school Wednesday and Thursday to personally walk students through the prep stages of the meal.

“They’re not the celebrity-type guys who wear their diamond studded stuff and swing their hair,” Doos said. “These are actually working chefs.”

One of their first tasks was to build a smoker from scratch. Doos didn’t have one to offer the chefs so, instead of changing the menu, they took an old bread rack, added foil insulation and siding and slapped together a makeshift diffuser.

Chef Josef Desimone, director of global food service for Facebook, said it was fun to show the students the basic science and theory behind smoking food. He said you could build a smoker out of “almost anything” so long as you had a place to build a fire and a vent.

Culinary student Kaylisha Jerris said she was impressed by the chef’s handiwork, even though she’s far more interested in baking than barbequing. Jerris said working so closely with the chefs had been a unique educational experience.

Doos agreed. He said that in the past, his students were not as involved with the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience.

“We used to have the celebrity chefs visit and do a little demo, and I just felt like it wasn’t enough,” he said.

When organizers of the Food and Wine Experience started brainstorming a new event that could take place on the island’s west end, they worked closely with Doos to make the Sunset Barbeque a reality.

The result was striking. The setting sun provided a gorgeous backdrop as guests enjoyed their meals at tables or perched on the pier’s edge. One guest said she had given up going to Taste of St. Croix several years ago because she felt it had gotten too crowded, but she said this event provided a much more laid-back atmosphere.

Simon Stajanovic, a visiting chef from Miami, took a moment away from his grill to snap pictures and chat with guests. His students continued in his absence, plating Korean barbeque tacos made from pork belly.

Stajanovic said he’d enjoyed the experience of working with the students and relished the opportunity to inspire young chefs.

“It was good for them to see what you can do and be creative,” he said.

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Celebrity chefs gave local culinary students a master class in the fine art of barbequing Friday night, feeding several hundred grateful guests in the process.

The Sunset Barbeque was one of the final events of the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience and, held on the Frederiksted pier, proved to be a quieter and more intimate affair than Thursday’s A Taste of St. Croix.

Only a handful of tents and tables were set up on the pier on either side of the welcome center. Guests floated from one grill to the next, sampling a wide selection of smoky meat, like Korean-style beef with kimchi and blackened mahi mahi po’boys.

Each station was led by one of the celebrity chefs who served as judges at Taste. Teams of three or four students from the St. Croix Career and Technical Educational Complex’s culinary team joined each chef, helping to prepare the meal from beginning to end.

Anton Doos, the students’ instructor, said he was impressed by the amount of effort the celebrity chefs had put into teaching the students. He said they’d come to the school Wednesday and Thursday to personally walk students through the prep stages of the meal.

“They’re not the celebrity-type guys who wear their diamond studded stuff and swing their hair,” Doos said. “These are actually working chefs.”

One of their first tasks was to build a smoker from scratch. Doos didn’t have one to offer the chefs so, instead of changing the menu, they took an old bread rack, added foil insulation and siding and slapped together a makeshift diffuser.

Chef Josef Desimone, director of global food service for Facebook, said it was fun to show the students the basic science and theory behind smoking food. He said you could build a smoker out of “almost anything” so long as you had a place to build a fire and a vent.

Culinary student Kaylisha Jerris said she was impressed by the chef’s handiwork, even though she’s far more interested in baking than barbequing. Jerris said working so closely with the chefs had been a unique educational experience.

Doos agreed. He said that in the past, his students were not as involved with the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience.

“We used to have the celebrity chefs visit and do a little demo, and I just felt like it wasn’t enough,” he said.

When organizers of the Food and Wine Experience started brainstorming a new event that could take place on the island’s west end, they worked closely with Doos to make the Sunset Barbeque a reality.

The result was striking. The setting sun provided a gorgeous backdrop as guests enjoyed their meals at tables or perched on the pier’s edge. One guest said she had given up going to Taste of St. Croix several years ago because she felt it had gotten too crowded, but she said this event provided a much more laid-back atmosphere.

Simon Stajanovic, a visiting chef from Miami, took a moment away from his grill to snap pictures and chat with guests. His students continued in his absence, plating Korean barbeque tacos made from pork belly.

Stajanovic said he’d enjoyed the experience of working with the students and relished the opportunity to inspire young chefs.

“It was good for them to see what you can do and be creative,” he said.