Category Archives: Divi Heritage

Chef Matt Promotes Healthy Habits

matt-healthy-eats

At Divi Resorts, we believe healthy habits should be learned early in life! That’s why we proudly support educational programs that promote healthy lifestyles to children and families. Chef Matt Boland, our Regional Executive Chef, is extremely passionate about this cause, so he happily volunteers his time to a wonderful program on Aruba that educates local students about health and nutrition.

Chef Matt participates in an educational program through Ibisa, an Aruban government agency that encourages healthy lifestyles on the island. Through the program, local schools were able to build greenhouses for growing their own vegetables, herbs and greens, and Chef Matt has been visiting these schools to teach the students how to use the ingredients they have grown.

He also talks to the students about all aspects of health, from eating fresh, nutritious foods to staying active through physical activities. Chef Matt’s enthusiasm about this subject keeps the students he visits engaged, and he leaves them with a wealth of knowledge about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. We’re proud to have Chef Matt on our team and greatly appreciate everything he does for our island community!

Looking for some fun ways to keep your family active and healthy? Check out some of these articles:

Activities for families: http://www.letsmove.gov/active-families

Healthy recipes your kids will love: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/our-best-healthy-recipes-for-kids-and-families.html

Meet Divi’s new culinary chief – the award-winning Matt Boland

Aruba’s Top Chef Heads to Divi

 

How does a Bloody Mary Shooter sound? Or Mini Crab Bites? Crispy Grouper Burger (fresh from Aruban waters)? Lobster and Crab Mac and Cheese? Low and Slow Garlic Pork? Belgian Waffle Sundae? I’m pretty sure I heard a chorus of “Delicious!” Does it also sound fun, fresh and fashionable? That’s exactly what Matt Boland, the newly hired regional executive chef for Divi Resorts, is aiming for at all the Divi restaurants. He calls it “five star food, fashioned from old favorites.” You can’t go wrong with favorites, especially if the gastronomic tweaks are fresh and healthy ingredients and a burst of flavors culled from the Caribbean mélange of cooking cuisines.

Meet our Chef Matt. His story is the classic Hollywood feel-good script of someone working his way up from the bottom rung all the way to the top. It’s a true tale of triumph, going from lowly dishwasher to award-winning head chef (with a grueling stint in Paris spent learning to master the art of French cooking, which he achieved, as evidenced by his many accolades and awards).

If you’re a fan of the purebeach lounge at Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, you are already a Matt fan. Divi tapped him back in 2009 to consult on a culinary concept for a new casual dining spot to be built on the beach. Our longtime Aruba visitors know how this particular chapter went: purebeach lounge was a huge hit, which then prompted the makeover of the Sunset Grille restaurant into pureocean. The success of the latter impelled Divi to open another pureocean, this one at Divi Southwinds Beach Resort in Barbados, just a few months ago. At the new pureocean, the food, service and magnificent setting have earned early raves. (Check out what Barbadian blogger Love Design Barbados said. She’s now part of the fan club, too!)

Matt officially joined Divi Resorts earlier this year to work his wizardry on Divi’s restaurants – more than 20 at last count – devising new menus and dining concepts. He is a nonstop fount of innovative and great recipes. “Exuberant” is an adjective universally used to define him, and it’s a fitting descriptor for his food, too.

Stay tuned for more food news. (Hint: New menus, starting in November.) Better yet, come eat! You’ll be dazzled by the delicious changes at Divi.

Tis the season for feasting

You know how we at Divi love a food festival.  For example, Divi Carina Bay has played host to the Taste of St. Croix right from the start.  The thirteenth edition is coming up April 10.  (Here’s a foodie tip: Book now!)  Today, we have another food festival to tell you about – this one, in Barbados. The event’s website says it all:  foodwinerum.com.  It’s the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival, November 22-25, 2013.

The event’s line-up of culinary stars is well, truly stellar.  There is Marcus Samuelson, the youngest person to ever earn three stars from The New York Times.  The internationally known chef’s latest hot spot is Red Rooster, a New York City mecca for the food-obsessed.

Anne Burrell is also taking part.  You know her, if not by name, the TV chef with the BIG personality and spiky blond hair that teaches you to cook like a rock star.  And, Jose Garces, he’s both an Iron Chef and a James Beard “Best Chef.” His seven Philadelphia restaurants all feature produce grown at his Luna Farms.  (That’s a big thing now.  Did you know when you stay at Divi Southwinds, you enjoy ‘farm’-to-table produce, from the resort’s own greenhouse and garden?)

Big Daddy also will be in the house at the festival in the form of Aaron McCargo, Jr.  McCargo beat out thousands in the 2008 edition of the Next Food Network Star competition to land his own show – “Big Daddy’s House.”  Representing Canada is Mark McEwan, food luminary from Toronto. Not only his is One restaurant the place to be seen, but so is his new 20,000 square foot gourmet food emporium. And, since this is Nobel season with all the Nobel prizes being awarded – we’ll mention his burger bar Nobel.   You can try it at Terminal 3 at the Toronto Airport before you head down for your Barbados stay.

Tickets for the Food & Wine and Rum Festival are still available on their website.

If you can’t come to Barbados in November, perhaps this will be consolation.  Mix up a batch of Perfect Rum Punch.  (The recipe is available at www.foodwinerum.) There’s even a poem about it:

One of sour, two of sweet.
Three of strong and four of weak.
A dash of bitters and a sprinkle of spice.
Serve well chilled with plenty of ice.

Fantasia Will Rock It In Barbados

The R&B singer Fantasia, who rose to fame as an American Idol winner, is now one of those mononyms.  You know, like Beyoncé, Madonna and Cher.  And, her star power is just getting bigger. She’s been nominated eight times for a Grammy and dazzled audiences on Broadway and more recently in sold-out concert halls across the US as a special guest of Andrea Bocelli on his 2013 world tour.   The reviews have been fantastic.  Their beautiful rendition of “When I Fall in Love” has lots of fans on YouTube, as well as their duet of Canto Della Terra, sung entirely in Italian at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in June.

In September, Fantasia will assuredly knock it out of the park again when she comes to Barbados for one night only  – September 15 – at the Garfield Sobers Complex.  Barbados is abuzz.  The best seats in the house have been secured by Divi Southwinds, which is offering a package that puts you up close in the 5,000-seat performance space. The Fantasia Package includes two night accommodations, two reserved concert tickets plus breakfast for $379. What a nice sound that deal has to it! And, if two days in Barbados just isn’t enough (It never is.), Divi will extend the stay for $109 per night. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to book your vacation online!

Divi Resorts Gives a Hats Off & Discount to Our Military

Did you know that Divi Resorts provides a 20% discount off its best-published nightly rates for the US, UK and Canadian military?  You bet.  We urge you to tell any veteran, disabled, reservist or active military person.  Our military personnel deserve our special consideration, along with a little rest and relaxation in the beautiful Caribbean.  The discount is available all year long at eight Divi Resorts, including those on Barbados, Bonaire, St. Croix, St. Maarten and select properties on Aruba.

While feasting at a BBQ this weekend or getting together with friends at a beach “up north,” spread the word.  Wouldn’t this be another good way to say “thank you?” Share the link for the Divi Military Special.  The discount can be booked anytime!

And, if you have the chance, join in a parade.  But wherever you are, when the clock strikes 3pm, observe the National Moment of Remembrance in silence and reflection for those who have perished during military service.

If you live near St. Louis, you can attend the 63rd annual “Good Turn,” at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, where local Boys Scouts and Cub Scouts decorate 189,000 grave-sites.  What a proud tradition, now in its 63rd year.  The cemetery has served as a burial landscape for soldiers since the Civil War.

And, is there a more stirring sight than seeing Arlington National Cemetery decorated with American flags at 250,000 grave-sites?  The flags are planted there by the 3rd U.S. Infantry, which also maintains a vigil to ensure each flag remains standing throughout the weekend.

Decoration Day is the original name of this day of tribute, when people used flowers to decorate the graves of those who fought and died in the Civil War.  A surviving general of this “rebellion,” as the general himself, John A. Logan, referred to the war, suggested back in 1868, that May 30th be a day of honor.   More than a century and many world conflicts later, the tribute has expanded to include all men and women who served in the US military.

The day of honor evolved to be called Memorial Day and as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday as well as a three-day weekend.

It’s worth noting that the late senator of Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, introduced a bill in 1989 to move the holiday back to the fixed date as a way to stress the true meaning of the day.  He reintroduced the bill in every Congress until his death last year.

Let’s be thankful for our three-day weekends, holiday BBQs and Caribbean vacations and remember on this Memorial Day those who have perished in service to their country.