Gastronomy Village opening, an eagerly awaited festival highlight

Gastronomy Village opening, an  eagerly awaited festival highlight

The Gastronomy Village on the waterfront is declared open on Friday with ribbon-cutting by festival patron Chef Patrick Jeffroy as Tourism Office President Valérie Damaseau (left), President Louis Mussington (centre) and Second Vice President Bernadette Davis (right) look on. (Robert Luckock photos)

MARIGOT--Friday evening’s inauguration of the festival’s third incarnation of the Gastronomy Village on the Marigot waterfront was a joyous, celebratory affair, setting the tone for three days of food, fun, cooking demonstrations and selected artistes performing live each night.


The BBQ competition on Rue de la République on Thursday drew a huge crowd.


Three judges sample Trio de Taco and a Sorrel Margarita from food truck Quesmex in the Gastronomy Village. At least six food trucks took part in the competition.


Chef Patrick Jeffroy gave the first cooking demonstration, a fish recipe, in the Village on Friday with assistance and translation from host Malaïka Maxwell.


The Paul Emmanuel Band performing on stage in the Village on Friday.


Overview of the Gastronomy Village with the stage in the background.


Food trucks had their own section in the village.

Among an array of food stands and bars, several competing food trucks were present, a new judging category this year.

Collectivité President Louis Mussington and Second Vice President Bernadette Davis joined St. Martin Tourism Office President Valérie Damaseau for the ribbon-cutting, the oversize scissors wielded by the festival’s patron, Chef Patrick Jeffroy, who later gave the first cooking demonstration from the stage with assistance from host and translator Malaïka Maxwell.

“I know what’s involved in putting this festival together, and I congratulate the hard-working Tourism Office team for what they do each year,” said Mussington. “I also want to thank all the invited international chefs for their involvement, without whom none of this would be possible, and the population for your support of the festival.”

Davis, who described the Tourism Office in a previous era as “her baby,” said she was delighted to see how the office has evolved. “I give all the credit to Valérie Damaseau and her team. This (Gastronomy Festival) is the trajectory we had always envisioned.”

Damaseau said: “It’s an honour to share this evening with everyone. We want to thank all the sponsors who have made this third edition possible and, of course, all our invited chefs for their


The Jazz Evening kicked off with the Paul Emmanuel Band followed by Diana King, Mario Canonge and Band, DJ Lil R, and Sugar Apple Band.

Thursday’s second edition of BBQ Night on a closed-off Rue de La République was off the charts in terms of attendance from the public, testament to how popular BBQ is on the island. Many estimated the crowd was much larger than the year before. Celebrity BBQ Chef Kevin Bludso was once again invited to be one of the three judges.

Competing in the BBQ competition were T’s Delicacy, Chez Tatie Aline, Heritage Kitchen, Quality Food, Roadside Cool Out Spot and Sky’s the Limit. Noticeable were long lines of people waiting to order food, in particular from “King of the Grill 2022”, Eddy Cozier’s stand.

Luciana Raspail’s spontaneous interviews on the street added another element to the evening. Results of the BBQ competition will not be known until the closing ceremony on Wednesday, November 22.

The cashless system for payments initially took a little getting used to, but is the only way to go for high volume crowd events and the festival seems certain to continue evolving and innovating. Gendarmes, police and private security firms gave an assuring presence, mingling with the crowds.

The cooking workshops continued on Saturday and Sunday, while attention will now be placed on the finals of the competitions for the restaurants and mixologists at Marina Fort Louis on Tuesday and the closing awards ceremony in the Gastronomy Village on Wednesday, not forgetting announcement of the winning restaurant for the “Best Table of Saint-Martin 2023.”

The Daily Herald

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