With the backing of City of Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, “The Taste the Islands Experience”, an evening of fine Caribbean cuisine, attracted hundreds of South Florida's most fabulous. On Thursday, June 1, to kick off Caribbean American Heritage Month in high style, guests arrived early for the sold out affair and enjoyed an array of gourmet appetizers by celebrity chefs Jamaican Hugh “Chef Irie” Sinclair, Haitian Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna and Barbadian Barbara Brathwaite. The event celebrated the launch of “Taste the Islands” Season II, a Caribbean culinary and travel series airing on Create TV and public television stations nationwide.

L-R: Event Producer David I. Muir, Rory Lee, Host Lisa Lee Arneaud, Show and Event Producer Calibe Thompson, Chef Cynthia Verna, Mayor Wayne Messam, Chef Hugh Sinclair, Adam Heim, Tyler Council, Allison Hunte and Associate Show Producer Lukkee Chong | Photo: Gregory Reed

The evening started with a welcome hour, and pageant queens as well as costumed Barbados “Crop Over” players dancing to the music of a steel drum. Guests perused a selection of silent auction items, raising money for Jamaican and Haitian causes through non-profit event partner Food for the Poor, whose Executive Director Angel Aloma spoke passionately about the organization’s mission later in the evening.

Guests received welcome drinks and were ushered into a lavish room appointed with tropical plants, elegant cocktail tables and intricately carved signage, compliments of luxury interior designer Marsha McDonald of Seacrest Designs and Decor. The appetizers on display were so enticing that attendees anxiously awaiting, intercepted servers as they entered the room.

L-R Haitian Counsel Gen. Gandy Thomas, Haiti Minister of Tourism Jessy Menos
Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam | Photo Gregory Reed

Inside the Sandals sponsored VIP area, guests enjoyed a selection of premium appetizers, complimentary cocktails and lounge seating, as well as massages by Goldson Spine. A who’s who of dignitaries were in attendance including Jamaican Consul General Franz Hall, Haitian Consul General Gandy Thomas, Haiti Tourism Minister Jessy Menos and Barbadian Consul Joseph Hunte.

The evening’s live program included speeches by dignitaries, Mayor Wayne Messam, Jeneissy Azcuy of presenting station South Florida PBS, and series and event producer Calibe Thompson, who also unveiled the production team’s first issue of the highly anticipated Island Origins Magazine, as well as a preview of “Taste the Islands” Season II, and a live cooking demonstration by the show’s celebrity chefs. Guests received swag bags  including sponsor products and the new Island Origins Magazine, available free at South Florida events and retail locations throughout the month of June.

Taste the Islands” is a half-hour cooking series featuring Caribbean-themed recipes and travel segments. The family friendly program presents an opportunity for viewers to learn about the fascinating food and culture of the Caribbean. Viewers around the country can watch the second season premiere on Sunday, June 11 at 7:00PM EST on Create TV, and can find their local channel number by visiting Funding for “Taste the Islands” season two is provided by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Grace Foods and Lakay Food. It is distributed nationwide by American Public Television. Learn more at

Source: Calibe Thompson for Blondie Ras Productions