After years of coming to this event as a spectator, this year I am thrilled to be one of the participating chefs for the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience. Although there are numerous other food festivals all over the Caribbean, this one was named one of the Ten Best International Food and Wine Festivals by Forbes Travel. I grew up here so being able to participate in this event has a special meaning and also brings out my competitive side. The event I am most looking forward to participating in is the Food Fight, which involves a series of wacky challenges, including shucking a live conch and breaking open a coconut! I feel pretty confident that this competition is mine to win and will be mortified if I don’t at least win the Fastest to Break Open a Coconut Challenge. I am also looking forward to sampling foods from some of my favorite chefs in the country. Coming in on the packed flight from Miami, I could feel a very festive and lively energy in the air and I have high hopes that this year will be one of the best years yet. Of course that may change in my book if I lose the Food Fight, but for now I am thrilled and excited to be here.