Over the past 20+ years, celebrated pastry chef Erika Cline has crafted some of the country's most scrumptious desserts and chocolates. Erika's career started in Detroit Michigan as a pastry cook under the country's first Master Chef Miles. Now Chef Cline is in the British Virgin Islands with her own chocolate boutique called Bleu Chocolat, a bean to bar chocolate boutique with over five origins of cocoa.
Chef Cline's long-standing motto is "A day is never good without chocolate."
Internationally acclaimed Chef Ron Duprat is best known as one of the top competitors on Bravo TV's "Top Chef".
Educated at the College Aime Cessaire, La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Chef Ron has used his cooking skills to become actively involved in fighting child obesity. He is a Caribbean Black Elk Ambassador at Black Elk Wine, affiliated with major causes such as No Hungry Kids, the Black Culinarian Alliance, the College of Culinary Arts in Miami, Chef's Table and more.
Chef Alex Ewald, born in Hamburg Germany, is the creator, owner and Chef of La Tapa restaurant on Cruz Bay, St. John since 1996. Alex has been extremely successful at combining her deep respect for different cultures, food and people with a very personal approach to cooking; an instinctive ability that resonates from within. La Tapa is the ultimate expression of love for the culture she experienced in Madrid, Spain, where she spent a three year hiatus from the restaurant business after working for her father. The result is a dining experience well-known among celebrity circles for its down to earth ambiance, gourmet taste sensations and artistic flair.
Abigail Deirdre Gullo is excited to be back at the Caribbean Food Festival representing the northern most city in the caribbean, New Orleans. She has poured pints in Dublin and mixed Manhattans in New York and now swirls Sazeracs in the Crescent City. Abigail’s original cocktails have been recognized in numerous national and international competitions. She has been featured in The New York Times, Imbibe, Garden & Gun, and Punch, among others. Abigail is a member of the United States Bartenders Guild and a proud supporter of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. Eater Nola named her Bartender of the year in 2014 and she was Heaven Hill Brands Bartender of the Year 2016.
Chef Huber started his culinary journey at the age of sixteen as an apprentice in the Five Star, Five Diamond, Elisabeth Park in his homeland Salzburg, Austria. His culinary journey brought him to many premiere luxury establishments, including: The Imperial and Bristol Hotel in Vienna, Wild Coast Sun Hotel and Casino in South Africa, and The Regency in Bangkok just to name a few.
In 1997, he became the Corporate Executive Chef of the Amway Hotel Corporation. Here, Chef Huber orchestrated the development of a culinary brigade which eventually hailed the first ever and only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Michigan, the 1913 Room. He continues his focus on local, sustainable foods staying true to his home traditions in this role.
Manisha Lopez has been a professional in the service industry for over 15 years, recently returning to her roots in Puerto Rico. Her love for food and spirits carried her gracefully into a successful career. In Puerto Rico she's played an essential role as part of the opening bar team for the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel and has worked as the lead bartender at Touro with Beverage Director Joey Fernandez of the Cinco Sentidos group. She is one of the most demanded independent bartenders and beverage consultants on the island, being featured in brand events for local distributors representing groups such as Diageo, Bacardi, Don Q, Pernod Ricard & William Grants.
Manisha is now at PB Ysla as the General Manager & Beverage Director at the first Puerto Rico location of The Pubbelly Group from Miami.
Penelope Roussetzki was born and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico. At age 15 she moved to Atlanta in the United States. Eventually moving to New York, she spent 10 years in graduate school to earn a film degree. While working in the film industry, she felt it was rather isolating, but found pleasure in drinking and eating well.
Realizing her passion for spirits and cocktails, she learned about the classics and worked at cocktail bars making her way up. Her first job in the industry was at her alma matter, Pouring Ribbons, followed by The Dead Rabbit, Leyenda, and the new Dead Rabbit project Blacktail. Tiring of the city life, she recently moved to Puerto Rico to be part of the ever growing cocktail scene on the enchanted island.