Latin Vibes Culinary Affair at UA

We have been lamenting the scarcity of employees in Aruba, especially qualified employees. AHATA estimates a shortage of 1,500 people, but in fact more are needed because hospitality service providers will require more hands as well to satisfy the resorts’ requirements.

Drum roll…fanfare. Get ready for good news.

The university of Aruba is incubating, hatching, raising, spectacularly talented young people in the food, beverage & event arena.

Just recently UA organized a Latin Vibes Culinary Affair, as a fund raiser for the faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies, in the already gorgeous, historical school. It was an impeccable affair, starting with a cocktail hour in the garden, and evolving into a delicious 5-course dinner, with wine pairing in the inner courtyard.

The list of attendees included most of the hotel executives in Aruba, and I hope they used the opportunity to hand out business cards and sweet-talk the servers, meaning the students, into applying for a job at their properties, when they graduate.

The students managed to create magic with the help of Divi & Tamarijn All-Inclusives culinary brigade and members of management, Director of Hotel Operations at Divi & Tamarijn All-Inclusives Freddy Zedan, Executive Sous Chefs Lyssette v/d Biezen and Carrick Maduro, and service team leader Simon Pleas.

The evening featured thoughtful and entertaining surprises, the students matched music with every dinner course, pairing Cuban ceviche with Cuban music, Mexican Tarasca Soup with three adorable young Mariachi singers, Brazilian Kibbe with Bosa Nova by DJ Alex, a Conga player and two saxophonists, one on the wraparound terrace overhead, and one on stage. Argentinean steak went well with an enthusiastic Tango singer and dancers. A Puerto Rican coconut dessert concluded the evening over Salsa.

Each course dressed the courtyard with different colored lights and national flags. Did I mention a cigar roller as an early evening prop, a real live one. Wine pairing courtesy of TEC and Divino.

It was perfection down to the last detail — even menus were personalized with the name of the esteemed diner on top.

The bartenders, courtesy of Romar Trading, told me they poured more than 300 cocktails, Cinnamon Mojito, Ginger Margarita, La Perla, an elegant libation made with whiskey and wild berries, in just one hour, as a precursor to the fun night.

Congratulations to the team, and their coaches.

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March 26, 2024
Rona Coster