Newly appointed Minister of Tourism for Antigua presides over his first official function

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – The curtains were brought down on the inaugural Antigua and Barbuda Culinary festival Sunday evening (March 29) at the Hibiscus Room of the Jolly Beach Resort and the event served as the first official function presided over by the newly appointed Minister of Tourism the Hon. John Maginley.

It was an evening that opened the palette to numerous tastes ranging from a sumptuous seven course dinner to an exquisite wine selection from the connoisseurs representing major sponsors Island Provisions Ltd and Best Cellars Wines and liqueurs.

Minister Maginley who featured as a key note speaker during the gala spoke convincingly on not only the benefits to be derived from investing in Culinary Tourism but also the importance of the diversification of the sector.

“Antigua and Barbuda as a small developing state must tap into this very exciting and lucrative market. In fact, it would be sinful of us, if we do not use the opportunity to maximize on the tremendous potential that exists here for the development of Culinary Tourism. We must therefore create synergies and partnership to make the most of these opportunities to increase national production and provide greater opportunities for community and national development.” said Maginley.

Antigua’s Minister of Tourism, John Maginley

According to the minister there are plans afoot to ensure that Culinary Tourism continues to grow; “Indeed, the future of culinary tourism in Antigua and Barbuda looks promising. Along with a number of existing culinary activities, we expect to build on the Christian Valley Mango Festival and will introduce the Urlings Fish Festival and the Cades Bay Pineapple Festival in coming months.”

Minister Maginley applauded the chef’s who participated in the three day exercise making the inaugural event a huge success. “I want to take this opportunity to applaud each and every participant in this food and beverage competition and in particular those who will be awarded prizes and certificates this evening. I encourage you all to continue excelling at your craft and ask that in whatever else you do, please continue to incorporate local, indigenous products or ingredients into your product, because these are what make us different and gives Antigua and Barbuda the edge on the world stage.”

Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards to the winners of the Island Provision Mystery Basket Chef’s competition. The winners are Hermitage Bay Antigua winning 3rd place (members being manager Maureen Bowers, Desroy Spence, Shirley Mathurin and Devry Charles), 2nd Place went to the Cove at Blue Waters Antigua (managed by Grant Lovell and team members Graham Singer, Richard Alphonso, and Caryl Smith), and 1st place went to Blue Waters Hotel (managed by Charlesworth Jeremy, with team members Lenroy Williams, Sylvester Henry and Omari Samuels).

Calvin Francis chief organizer of the festival and Executive Chef at the Jolly Beach Resort, came in for high praises from Mr. Ted Isaac Manager of the Jolly Beach Resort who stated that had it not been for Mr. Francis’ insight, dedication and strong will, the festival would not have been the success that it is.

Also present at the event were Acting Governor General Sir. Eustace Francis and Lady Francis, Prime Minister the Hon. Baldwin Spencer and Mrs. Spencer, Junior Minister of Tourism the Hon. Eleston Adams, and Minister of Agriculture the Hon. Hilson Baptiste.

Minister Maginley used the evening’s festivities to mingle with some of his new members of staff as well as industry stakeholders with whom he will be working closely towards the advancement of the Tourism Industry.

The Ministry of Tourism pledges its continued support towards the success of future Antigua Culinary Festival Events.

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