The James Beard Foundation (JBF) recently announced that Chef Ariq Flax-Clarke of the British Virgin Islands will be participating as a guest chef at the landmark James Beard House on June 5, 2019.
Beginning with a fundraising dinner cooked by Chef Wolfgang Puck in early 1987, the James Beard House Foundation Dinners have become to signify milestone achievements in the careers of top chefs including Tom Colicchio, Marcus Samuelsson, Nancy Silverton, and Dominique Crenn.
Ariq hails from the island of Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands and is currently in his final year at Johnson and Wales University in Miami, Florida. As Ariq grows, so does his culinary repertoire. In 2012, Ariq won the Annual BVI Junior Chef Challenge. He later won the silver medals at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Taste of the Caribbean Competition in 2017 and 2018. Chef Ariq, alongside celebrity Chef Fed Federer participated at the BVI Tourist Board’s first Taste of the BVI Cook Off in Tortola and Virgin Gorda. This collaboration earned them winners of the event in Virgin Gorda. Ariq won the BVI Agriculture Week 2014 “Preserves and Candy” competition. He joined the BVI National Culinary team in 2015 when they won the silver medal. Ariq and his sister Sapphire, created “The BVI Coconut Escape”, the featured drink at the Miami Open Tennis Tournament in 2017. In February of 2018, and 2019, Ariq was a featured chef at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival where he represented the BVI. He has also gained culinary experience as an intern at Rosewood Sand Hill Resort in Menlo Park California during the summer of 2018. Earlier in 2019, Ariq had the distinct opportunity to demonstrate his culinary skills at the Citi Taste of Tennis events in Indian Wells, California and Miami, Florida.
“It is an honor for me display my culinary talent and present fine cuisine of the British Virgin Islands at this very prestigious event”, Chef Ariq said.
Sharon Flax-Brutus, Director of Tourism said, “The BVI’s representation at prestigious events such as the James Beard House Foundation Dinner presents the Territory with the perfect opportunity to present our local cuisine and extraordinary culinary talent. Chef Ariq is one of an amazing group of emerging young talent on the British Virgin Islands’ culinary scene. We hope this youth movement will continue to inspire other young persons in our community to not only find job and entrepreneurial opportunities in our Territory but like Chef Ariq, also exhibit the talent and the cuisine of the BVI on the international scene.”
The British Virgin Islands is increasingly becoming known for its culinary experiences and is no stranger to the James Beard Foundation Dinner event. In June 2017, Chefs Neil and Erika Cline set the bar of the BVI’s reputation of culinary excellence. The BVI is emerging as a favourable gastro destination as it prepares for its annual BVI Food Fete, where local and international culinary talent is showcased.