#Providenciales, July 10, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association’s (TCHTA) Hospitality Adventure Camp Alumni Wilkiens Martin, Wayne Gardiner Jr., Kevin Missick, Robinangel Simons and Christin Greene are making waves as they continue to excel while receiving praises and accolades from top organizations for their continuous strides in the industry.
They have represented the destination at several top international culinary events and continue to serve as inspiration for many aspiring young local chefs across the islands.
“Wilkiens, Robin, Wayne, Kevin and Christin are all products of our TCI Hospitality Adventure Culinary Camp which we run through the TCHTA with support from our members and the public,” said CEO of the association, Stacy Cox. “We have had so many success stories from this program which has created so many avenues to allow their talents to shine on the international stage. I am so proud of them all, and the many that have used this program as a tool to achieve their dreams.”
Wilkiens Martin has represented Turks & Caicos in over 10 competitions and events with Taste of the Caribbean being among the most recent. He has accrued over seven medals, trophies and accolades during his time in the culinary field and has earned the respect of his peers, mentors and, most of all, the industry.
“The Culinary Camps have changed my life and led me to a path where I found my true passion,” said Martin. “I’ve always known I wanted to be a chef, but I wasn’t sure how to make that dream happen. After being encouraged by my high school Food & Nutrition teacher to join, I discovered a whole new world that provided endless possibilities and access to amazing mentors that have helped me get to where I am today.”
Martin credits his success to his hard work and perseverance and to the team of supporters that believe in him. He said that his seven-year journey was not an easy one as it took tremendous commitment to stay on the path and he encourages all aspiring junior chefs to take advantage of the programs that are available. “To all aspiring young chefs, my advice is to be patient with yourself, accept that you will make plenty of mistakes, people may even laugh at you. But be strong, ask questions and take notes. Also, strive to think outside the box and be prepared to represent your country internationally.”
Wayne Gardiner, Jr. is another prominent up and coming chef who represented the island at the Rum and Rhythm Extravaganza in New York last month. Gardiner credits his success to the Hospitality Adventure Lit’l Chefs Camp along with the list of mentors that have helped him along the way.
Kevin Missick represented TCI at the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore in May alongside top chefs such as TCI Culinary Ambassador, Nikita Skippings, Chef Lorraine Kenlock and fellow Junior Chef Alumni Robinangel Simons. Missick said that being allowed to showcase his skills in Singapore has not only built his confidence but has also introduced him to a new style of cooking. “I have always been fascinated with cooking and the Lit’l Chefs Camp has solidified my love and passion for the profession.” said Missick.
He too credits his success to hard work, determination and also taking advantage of the programs that are available to help young people develop their talents. “It took a lot of hard work, interning, studying, training and being mentored by some of the TCI’s best chefs. Because of this, I was able to represent the country internationally at the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore and win my first medal at the Taste of the Caribbean event last month.
Robinangel Simons has come through the Lit’l Chefs Camp and has gone on to continue her culinary studies in the United Kingdom, having now completed her Bachelor’s degree and intent on continuing to her Master’s. Just last week, she led a faction of Team TCI to a gold win in Antigua at the Antigua & Barbuda Grandprix Invitational.
Christin Greene is also pursuing her studies in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts at the Florida International University (FIU), now in her Junior year. She has successfully competed for Team TCI at the Junior Duelling Challenge in Barbados, and now prepares to mentor the Jr. Lit’l Chef campers this year while she is at home on her summer break.
These are just a few of the many success stories from the TCHTA’s Hospitality Adventure Camps. This year, the camps have added some exciting changes welcoming not only aspiring chefs, but also boat captains and cosmetologists from across the islands.
Cox congratulated Martin, Gardiner, Simons, Missick and Greene and hopes that aspiring young professionals will hear these success stories and take advantage of the opportunities that are made available through these programs. “Hats off to all of them. I have watched them develop since the beginning, and their accolades and accomplishments speak to their growth. With the Hospitality Adventure Camps, we aim to spark interest and develop talents that will turn into a lifelong passion and career. Our goal is to provide programs and activities that lead to complete development and empowerment of our country’s talented youth.”
This year’s camps kicked off on July 8th with the Jr. Lit’l Chefs camp for students aged 12 to 14 years. The Lit’l Chefs Camp (a stay-over camp) takes place from July 14th to 20th. This is an advanced segment of the Jr. Lit’l Chefs program aimed at providing young cooks between the ages of 15 to 19 with an in-depth look into the culinary field and offer one-on-one coaching and a sleep-in camp experience. The Cosmetology camp rounds out this season’s events from July 22nd to 26th and will give students ages 15 to 19 an opportunity to learn about the beauty, spa, wellness and cosmetic industry.
The TCI Hospitality Adventure program has long been supported by members of the TCHTA. The organization has hosted three major annual fundraising events to help finance the initiative; the annual Taste of Tapas, Chefs on the Beach and the Golf Scramble all assist the TCHTA with covering the expenses of the camp, its continued development, and the costs associated with traveling to competitions.
Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the TCHTA Office. Prospective campers and parents will be required to sign a consent form and all camps are subject to an entry fee which will be paid by all applicants.
The TCHTA is also looking for interested chefs to join the award-winning culinary team.
For more information about the TCI Hospitality Adventure Camps or to learn how you can become a part of TEAM TCI, interested persons and organizations are encouraged to call the TCHTA office on 331-5787 or visit their social media pages.