Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap, November 12th, 2017

Island Temptations to Launch When in Aruba Website

In late 2017, the award-winning creative team of Island Temptations will launch a new island lifestyle website, When in Aruba.  The website will be a content-rich exploration of Aruba, offering readers a very local, organic perspective of the most distinctive, unique island in the Caribbean.  Our lusciously rich melting pot of more than 90 nationalities offers unending stories to share with both our local community and readers around the world.  Local writers, photographers, and videographers will be creating content on a weekly basis, sharing Aruba’s events and concerts as they unfold, as well as featuring the talented artists, musicians, athletes, culinary personalities, and the island’s warm, friendly hospitality told through an authentic voice.

The Little One is a one-stop-party-shop

I recently celebrated a birthday and was greatly helped by the Little One, a red vintage VW van that parked itself on the beach at Arashi and served drinks and lovely snacks to my circle l of friends.

Nicknamed the Little One, the mobile bar is a fire-engine-red eye catcher and perfect for any occasion. I saw the Little One for the first time serving specialty cocktails at the Ritz Carlton Indulge event, then I met him again at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino at the ATECH networking event, at the Hyatt Regency on the garden deck for a private event, and at Flora Market, yes, inside the building, for their Christmas Show.

The Little Red One is basically a bar, serving delicious champagne cocktails and fancy cocktails, it has a small trailer that doubles up as a kitchen, and serves finger-foods.

Owner Maarten Thoonen, The little one Aruba, phone: +297 730 6969,reports he first bought the VW in the Netherlands and fully restored it with the help of his father, then he brought it to Aruba, at the beginning of 2017, and started to offer party services. While slow at first, he is now on fire, very popular and busy.

Maarten is the efficient bartender, DJ, and sunshiny host, he is genuinely interested and engaged and cares immensely about the enjoyment of his guests. He also spins magic as the vinyl DJ, playing records on a vintage turntable. He can deliver food, drinks, smoothies, music, waiters, lights, tables, a generator, glassware, toilets, and most importantly permits for events in out-of-the-box places.

To top it all, his party-partner Chef Ilja Cybulski,  provides delicious foods, and you can pick from a long list of delectable hors d’oeuvres.

How about a turn-key party?  No problem, says Maarten, anything is possible, even at remote locations.

Maarten also operates a Blue Van that may be used as a unique shuttle  and a silly photo booth. The Little Blue One adds a retro look to  weddings, promo activities, and guests will have a blast with all ridiculous props that come with the van.

Beach party? Sure, on any beach without getting stuck in the sand, or harming the beauty of Aruba’s beaches. P.S. They clean up meticulously post event.

The success of the Little One proves that even in a saturated market there is room for innovations, for a creative, quality service.

Coral in the headlines

Recently at the ATECH conference, the winner of the Pitch Competition, Carey Anne Nadeau, told me: Yes, one day, I will be showing up here to live, grow coral, do something useful, that’s good for my soul.

Growing Coral in the Caribbean.

Apparently the news about the sad state of coral here and around the globe is subject of millennial conversation and concern.

We all know by now, that the higher temperatures of water, caused by global warming, is why coral is dying, in Australia, and in Aruba. One of my friends, an environmentalist, also reports that the higher temperature of the water is responsible for the seasonal muck underfoot, at certain high-rise hotel beaches in warmer summer months. Bacteria grows and forms the slime and muddy feeling on the bottom, he explains.

My marine biologist friend says that theory is plausible, but must be studied, with an extensive research which the island should undertake, immediately.

We also heard that at a certain moment the government was willing to start a cleanup, dredging and replacing the sand at the cost of many millions.

On this topic, my environmentalist AND marine biologist friends agree, they are afraid it will disturb, disrupt, and ultimately change the entire biodiversity without leading to desired results.

What we all need to do is help mitigate global warming, but the problem is ignorance about the subject and everyone’s complacency.  The damage is everywhere and more so, on our little island.

On October 11th, Prof Han Lindeboom, an international coral expert, visited the island. He held a talk at MFA Noord, attended by about 45 stakeholders from among environmental NGOs and some of the resorts. I missed it, but I talked to Leo Henriquez, a member of KIVI, Koninklijk Institut Van Ingenieurs, the NGO that sponsored the professor’s visit here.

While talking to his audience, the Lindeboom, a scientist, introduced what he called the Delta Plan, designed to turn the tide on the ecological disaster. Henriquez, listened carefully. He is a super educated and enthusiastic conservationist-on-fire, regarding the need to institute a Cradle to Cradle philosophy here, circular instead of linear, meaning making sustainability, continuity and consideration, our main concern.

(Wikipedia: The C2C approach, Cradle to Cradle means from the birth, or “cradle,” of one generation to the next versus from birth to death, or “grave,” within the same generation.)

Henriquez wants to change the way things are done on the island, with new construction codes – yes, he is an engineer, and real progress not politics.

So in October, Lindeboom and his Delta Plan were guests of KIVI, the royal institute of engineers, a Dutch organization with 20.000 global members, about 15 of them on Aruba.

Lindeboom’s message was the following: The time to do things differently, as far as our coral is concerned, is NOW, because if nothing is done, there will be no more coral left in 30 years, no coral, no fish, a long chain of losses will ensue.

The time to do something is NOW, but we gotta want to change. One person, one organization cannot undertake the restoration mission, but the entire society can.

Apparently they have made good progress with coral regeneration in St Maarten and in the Dominican Republic. Alas, the recent storms wiped all efforts out, but the professor expressed caution optimism, and they are still making some progress in Bonaire, with the Coral Restoration Foundation.

P.S. They have already cleaned up the muck at Surfside beach and spend a lot of ATA’s money on that. Can one of you, readers, report success? I did not stick my toes in the water there, as yet, I am waiting for your verdict.

Marriott Aruba Resort and Stellaris Casino to Present the Best Flavors of Peru With a Ceviche Pop-Up

Culinary explorers are invited to sample freshly made ceviche at the Marriott Aruba Resort and Stellaris casino when the ceviche pop-up presents the best flavors of Peru on the 17th and 18th of November, anytime from 7pm to 10pm. Come early because only 50 seats are available!!

The ceviche pop-up will be presented in the lobby, at the Shake & Roll bar which is always shaking and rolling. Reservations are required so you’d better call Tel: 520 6648 to make sure you have a seat at this stylish and affordable event, at just $12 per dish.

The pop-up ceviche bar will feature a great lineup of guest chefs with Julio Ferradas from the JW Marriott Lima, Rafael Lopez Aliaga, the executive chef of the Ritz Carlton Aruba and host chefs Ever de Pena and Teddy Bouroncle of the Aruba Marriott Resort. Julio, Rafael and Teddy are Peruvian, which naturally makes them intuitive Peruvian food ambassadors.  They will each prepare their favorite style ceviche.

“I believe this event will be well received,” says Teddy, “it is part of a series of events where we invite friends to cook at our property, not just focusing on Peruvian food but showcasing our Chefs, amazing talents such as Ever and Romeo to display their creativity, and attract other local chefs to join as well.”

“At the ceviche pop-up,” he adds, “I am going to prepare a market-style ceviche, the kind you would eat at local markets with fresh fish and fried calamari, lemon juice, aji Amarillo, cilantro and onions. That’s my favorite style of ceviche,” Teddy continues, “because you can taste the freshness of the fish and the crunchiness of the calamari which activates all your senses with just one bite.”

While it is an opportune coincidence that all three Peruvian chefs are from the Lima area, Teddy explains that as a child his parents had the mindset to always promote the country first. So every vacation they would travel around different parts of Peru and experience the diverse gastronomic influences around that immense country.

Teddy explains that his father’s family is from Arequipa which is the city with the best local gastronomy. In his family, his grandmother was the one who cooked every Sunday and the entire family would sit around the table to enjoy her home-cooked hearty meals.

From his personal perspective his favorite Peruvian ingredient is aji Amarillo. It’s a very flavorful yet gentle chili, which gives the chef the opportunity to explore the flavor of the chili itself without it being very spicy and overwhelming.

Professionally, Teddy believes that as the executive chef first and as the director of F&B later his main contribution to the culinary experience at the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris casino has been to extract more flavors from the current local talents of his culinary brigade, translating their passion for food into menus and special events.

He especially loves working with Rafael as they have worked together in the past at the JW Marriott in Lima, and having him at Ritz Carlton strengthens the synergy and creates an opportunity to thrive even more. Marriott’s “Together We’re Better,” philosophy is definitely at work here and will be put into practice at the pop-up ceviche event.

Hurry up and Book a seat for November 17 and 18, sharing the talents of not just one but four culinary wizards. Introduce yourself to Julio the chef from the JW Lima, whose contemporary style has been influenced by his travel around the world  living and working in destinations such as Mexico and Spain with celebrity chef restaurants, then returning to the JW Marriott Lima 4 years ago, making sure it remains one of the best hotels in the region.

The Shake & Roll bar will be featuring Pisco Sours to pair with the freshly prepared ceviches, made with Pisco, Peru’s national drink, a tasty cocktail invented in Lima in the 1920s, a bit like whiskey sour, but distinctively different and incredibly refreshing.

Gerard Coste at the Amsterdam Manor

The Amsterdam Manor resort has just announced the appointment of Gerard Coste as the resort’s new executive chef. He is an industry professional, with many talents.

I met Gerard this week at Mango restaurant, sometime before dinner, and was happy to reconnect. We’ve been friends for many years.

Born in Nice in the South of France, Gerard packs a Mediterranean-French culinary heritage, enhanced by traveling around the globe.

Cooking runs in his veins, he reports, having observed his mother in the kitchen practically since the day he was born. Cooking is his passion and first love.

As kitchen apprentice, young Chef Gerard was first discovered by an award-winning French master, Jean Michel Pericou who guided him through the challenging maze of French cooking techniques. Gerard then went on to England and broadened his horizons at the internationally renowned Harveys Bristol Cream restaurant in Bristol, England, and at the Concorde Hotel in London, also keeping up with the great French chefs of that time, at Hotel de Paris and the Hotel Mirabeau, in Monaco.

Prepared to move on to a different region of the world, he asked for his old mentor’s input and Pericou immediately recommended his prodigy to a property in Aruba, almost 30 years ago, thus launching a successful career in the Caribbean.

Gerard has fond memories of Chalet Suisse & La Vie En Rose restaurants, where he first worked on the island. He then joined the Hilton, which later became the Wyndham, and the Westin, where he served as the Executive Chef for a number of years, also nurturing that hotel’s famed Food & Wine festival, for five years. He then moved on to the Radisson Aruba Caribbean, and is credited with many innovations and menu refreshes, at the famed Sunset Grille.

In recent years, Gerard spent much of his time with Divi Resorts in charge of banquets and special events, combining his ability to affect front-of-the-house service experiences, with back-of-the-house food production; as he is equally comfortable in both areas.

Hungry for a change and a new challenge Gerard recently joined the culinary team at the Amsterdam Manor in charge of iconic Passions on the Beach, Mango Restaurant and Tulip Restaurant at MVC.

From the perspective of his new office Gerard is looking forward to contribute greatly to the award-winning property and push all dining outlets to even higher levels of food, presentation and service.

As a dedicated father and grandpa, he also cooks at home, and always finds time to discover the talents of young chef apprentices in the culinary stream of the local hotel school.

Welcome to the Amsterdam Manor, Gerard, it all sounds good to me — love a classically French trained chef, with appreciation for diverse, cultural backgrounds and different culinary styles.

Crazy Island Life Story

Bureaucratic Aruba, and Belgian principles collide to produce heartbreak

A heartbroken reader writes: I had a good friend here, Belgian-born, like me, and she is a house doctor. She was asked a few years ago by AZV to come and work on the island as a GP, because they were short of house-doctors.

She left Belgium, with her partner and two children to take over Dr. Van Hoorenbeeck’s practice. Now comes the sad part: They are really happy here, the practice is running perfectly and they wanted to stay….but…..DIMAS made their life hell!!! They did not want to grant the doctor’s partner a permit, yes, they were living together, under a samenlevings contract, as a legally bound couple, in European spirit, committed but not legally married – so DIMAS kept sending them threatening letters that, if they don’t leave the island ASAP, he will be deported!!!!

So think about it, the GP was first ASKED to come here!

She looked after 2,500 patients.

AZV, the health insurer, promised to help solve the partner’s permit challenge.

She even talked to a few ministers, they promised to make the issue go away, but nothing.

Consequently, with pain in their hearts, they decided to leave and go back to Belgium in November!

Very, very sad!!

It’s November, and they are gone. What a loss, she is/was a wonderful doctor, specialized in tropical disease, but apparently there is no cure for bureaucratic fever.

She is one that went on house-calls when no one else wants to, I am heartbroken.

End of the reader’s note.

I checked, and heard the following: The problem with Dr Katrien Adriaenssens was not with her permit, but with the permit for her Belgian partner. Dimas was not willing to give him a permit because they were not legally married. Following months of negotiations, Dimas wouldn’t budge. I believe that when Dimas finally relented, the family was fed up and left anyway!

I cannot even begin to think of the emotional consequences for 2,500 patients, and for the doctor’s family members.

As I said: Crazy Island Life story

Aruba is bureaucratic, and the Belgians famously hardheaded, marriage is out of the question, and then these forces collide to produce heartbreak.

I also heard of an EPB teacher, who worked here for six months, had excellent results, a wonderful evaluation, EPB really wanted her to stay, they NEEDED that teacher, but she couldn’t stay, because she has a Belgian school diploma, not a Dutch one….They wanted her to go back to school for FOUR years at IPA in order to obtain the Dutch certification, no, no other accreditation options.

You can’t make shit like that up!