Hundreds of South Floridians and visitors to the area gathered at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society’s New River Inn for the second annual Taste the Islands Experience (TTIX). Food and drink enthusiasts enjoyed delicious island bites, live cooking demos, artisan shopping, live music, and a variety of unique cultural elements. Part proceeds benefited the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. Guests enjoyed live demos featuring celebrity chefs including “Taste the Islands” TV show hosts Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna of Haiti and Hugh “Chef Irie” Sinclair of Jamaica, as well as Chef Amit Raval, head chef of Amtar Fine Foods in Trinidad, and award winning mixologist Philip “Casanova” Antoine of Barbados. Culinary support was offered by top Caribbean brands Lakay Food and Grace Foods, and by the Jamaica Tourist Board.
A wide variety of Caribbean fare was available at Restaurant Row, where local cafes and caterers representing multiple islands including the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands, offered mouthwatering menu selections from vegan to meat lovers to jerk grape nut flavored ice cream. Restaurant Row included: Bamboo Shack, Catering CC, Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, Reed’s Catering, Reggae Beets, Reggae Pon the Grill, Tropical Krave, and Localicious JAX Ice-Cream. An open bar served island specialties including Red Stripe Beer and Appleton Rum. DJs Nickymix and Richie D created the audial atmosphere, taking guests on a musical island journey, while the incomparable Steve “Sir Rockwell” Warner kept guests in high spirits throughout the event. Guests were surprised by live performance by Haitian artist Alan Cavé.