~ Restaurant revisited! ~
Occasionally, an evening is good enough to make one want to repeat it. Sometimes it could be the folk you are with that makes the evening so great; sometimes it could be because of the service, the wine or even the food. Well, actually, it is very often because of the food.
Not having had the opportunity to return to The Stone for quite some time, an evening came up that was too good an opportunity to miss. Great friends planned to meet at the lovely setting of this restaurant on the edge of Simpson Bay Lagoon one windless night recently.
I accepted the invitation with alacrity; I already knew what I wanted to order as the last time it was so good.
Arriving a tad earlier than most of our group that evening, I spied a couple friends and went over to chat to them. They were already eating and of course in the course of conversation, I asked what they were having and they started enthusing over the dishes set before them. I had not seen what they were eating on the menu last time I was there, their description of the dish sounded so amazing that I wanted to change my mind on what to order.
By the time we all sat down and conversation began about who was going to eat what, my mind was in a complete dither; someone else was ordering my fav dish – the one I wanted to order again – but then I wanted to try the new dish too, Oh, what to do? What to do? Oh, the indecisiveness on what to order because everything was so delicious!
In the end, some of us shared starters which gave us a chance to try the new (to us) dish. Starters were the delicious fish soup and the dish I had not tried before, superb fresh mahi-mahi (or swordfish) spring rolls. Tasty, freshly caught fish in a crispy spring roll wrapper with a mango relish can simply not be beat. I honestly could have (should have) had this dish as my main course.
Well, perhaps not, because my main was simply out of this world too. I ordered the duck breast with a side of orange sweet potato. When asked, I said I would like the duck breast medium rare. It arrived sizzling on the hot stone a tad underdone (as it should). The duck breast skin was crispy and the breast was semi sliced through so as I ate, I sliced a piece off and “cooked” it on the stone to my liking; just can’t get anything more perfect than that. The sweet potato dish was perfection as a side for the duck.
The others had various fish-dish orders on their stone. As soon as the fish arrived, most of them scooped the fish off the hot stone as it was perfectly cooked on arrival. This is what is so good about hot-stone cooking; each person can have their meal cooked as they like it right in front of their eyes. The sides ranged from mashed potato, the sweet orange potato, veggies, peppers and salad. No one opted for dessert this time round but I know for a fact that the desserts are all great.
Service was slick, the great wine list made us happy, the food was excellent, the setting was peaceful and the parking plentiful and close by. What more could one wish for when sharing a great evening with good friends.
6 Welfare Road # 6 Laguna View Complex
In Rear of Building, on the Water
Phone: 1(721) 526-2037
Cuisine: Food cooked on Hot Stone
Good: Easy Parking
Price range: $$
Staff friendliness ****
Service speed ****
Restaurant cleanliness ****
Food quality *****
Value for money ****
If you’re a former Milton Peters College (MPC) student or teacher, you can help rewind the clock in history at a grand reunion being hosted by the school tomorrow, February 24, from 7:00pm to midnight. The reunion is part of SVOBE’s (the school board) list of activities to commemorate MPC’s 40th and Sundial’s 50th anniversary in providing education on St. Maarten.
MPC/Sundial Director Wim de Visser urges all former students and teachers to attend the event, which will be hosted under a big tent outside the school’s gym. The event will be primarily for former students to socialise and go down memory lane together. There will not be any formal speeches.
Activities will include the continuous showing of a slideshow of pictures of former students, staff, activities and events that occurred at the school over the past 40 years, from when it opened its doors in 1976 to 2016.
A deejay will also be in the house to entertain with music covering the past 40 years so that students and staff from the various periods will get a chance to listen to music that was popular in their time.
SVOBE’s anniversary booklet will also be available and attendees will be able to purchase a copy for US $20. Entrance to the event is free. However, food and drinks will be available for a small contribution. “Hopefully, a lot of students will show up,” de Visser said.
Other activities planned to mark the anniversaries of the two schools include a gala fundraising dinner at The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa on March 25, in support of technology at the school. Entrance is US $100 per person.
On May 26, an art exhibition and talent show will be held by current and former students at Princess Port de Plaisance. Entrance is US $10 per person.
From July 27 to 30, Sundial School’s reunion will be held. All former students and teachers from when the school first opened its doors 50 years ago in 1966 leading up to 2016, are urged to attend this event at the school from 7:00pm to 12:00 midnight.
The anniversary events will wrap up with an educational symposium on August 10, with special guest speaker Alan November.
Posh Productions launched this year’s Queen Show delegates in style with a roll-out fit for queens at Taloula Mango’s last month. Families and supporters came out to see the ladies performing an opening dance segment and an introduction segment to begin the launch.
Posh Productions Incorporated is an event and entertainment agency established on St. Maarten with a dedicated goal to provide and promote wholesome entertainment in the areas of fashion, arts, music, theatre, pageantry and all other forms of unified community enhancement events.
Their core objectives include assisting and strengthening the entertainment and tourism industry of St. Maarten through highlighting cultural heritage and natural talents with promotional packages and advertisements that will draw participants, spectators and viewers both locally and regionally.
For this year’s pageants, there are four junior-, four teen-, six senior- and five mature-delegates all vying for the Carnival Queen crowns. In the coming weeks, promotions will take place via the media for pre- and main events. The public is encouraged to support all the Posh events.
Participating in the Junior Queen Show are Jerinelle Louisa, Zidania Charles-Gumbes, Dashannique Pascal and Leesje Amancio; in the Teen Queen Show are Evelyn Marsham, Juli-Ann Richardson, Shakainah Arrindell-Pompier and Letishia Cozier; and in the Senior Queen Show are Stacey Richardson, Judian Francis, Jessica Langlais, Shanice Powell, Nasheka Bryan and Sjenaya Webster. The Miss Mature Carnival pageant features Michelline Hunte, Myris Hall-York, Victoire Citadelle, Anna-Lyse Eudovic and Jacqueline Brooks.
Posh Productions Chief Executive Officer Anna Rabess-Richardson is working hard to make sure all events are great, and said she hopes for the continued support of the public this Carnival. The mission of Posh Productions is to empower young women by helping them realize their potential through a competitive yet collaborative effort, building confidence through scholarship and professional opportunities. Posh also promotes philanthropy through strong community based services and involvement.
SO French is SO Good!
~ Classic French Cuisine with Caribbean Charm ~
So we went out on Monday, February 13, looking for an early Valentine’s dinner and hoping for something very special! And we found it – SO French!
SO French is the kind of place you might drive right past, as you scoot up the hill to Pelican Key in Simpson Bay. That could be a big mistake, because you aren’t likely to find a better French restaurant on the island – and that includes the French side!
We arrived about 7:30pm without reservations, which could have turned out badly as the people arriving after us were turned away with the words, “I’m sorry we’re full.” We were given a small table by the window overlooking Simpson Bay’s lovely waters, lapping gently against the crescent shaped beach. The manager, Tony, told us we weren’t his customers but his guests. He said he doesn’t think of this as work, but like welcoming friends into his home. Well, this charming fellow was authentically joyful, and spread that attitude to every table in the place.
We began the dining experience with wine, as is our want. Soon we received an unexpected amuse-bouche of delectable flavours, a melange of veggies and spices, just enough to prime the taste buds. Then came our shared appetizer, which was very plentiful indeed – a green salad with frog legs adorning the top and a carved lemon as a crown. These frog legs were well seasoned and crispy, exquisite in flavour and texture, a cross between whitefish and chicken. The salad below was fresh and light. We gobbled it all up!
The main courses arrived with rich sauces and wonderful side orders of provincial vegetables that included asparagus, ratatouille and sweet potato. The plates presented lamb shank for my companion and a roasted Angus beef filet mignon with foie gras sauce for yours truly. We were in nirvana at the first bite.
The enjoyment of these meals was not rushed in the least, as great dining should be savoured and prolonged into the night. In time, we had cleaned our plates and felt like indulgence ruled the world, so we decided to split a dessert, asking our waiter what he’d recommend. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “This one,” as he pointed to something that translated to “a melting chocolate cake, crispy and warm in its custard sauce.” This was nirvana’s flip side – a dark descent into decadence that you simply have to try.
A double espresso ended the night. We exited with a hug from Tony, feeling nothing but happiness as we floated down the stairs to our car.
If you want to go upscale, it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s – any night can be special! Book your table at SO French and make some memories.
Just off Billy Folly Road
Simpson Bay, Pelican Key area
Open 5:30 to 11:30pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Phone: 1 (721) 544-1143
Staff friendliness: *****
Service speed: ***
Restaurant cleanliness: *****
Food quality: *****
Value for money: ***
Chai is a wise young woman, who seems to have found her own personal formula to enjoy life and be true to oneself. She’s creative, loves to empower others and is a go-getter. Learn more about her in this week’s Hotseat.
Who is Chair Isenia?
I am a young and motivated woman who is determined to bring out the best in people.
Where were you born and how did you end up on this beautiful island?
I was born and raised in Amsterdam, Holland. I have Curacaolean heritage. And I have always lived in Holland with a big sense of feeling “different.” I’ve always been looking for certain vibes and the “warmth” in people. That was until I visited one of my friends to experience St. Maarten Carnival and then it all made sense: I was missing the Caribbean in my life! I found vibes! I was supposed to stay 10 days and ended up spending the whole summer here!
Where did you attend school?
For one year, I studied Media and Entertainment Management in Haarlem. But that didn’t fit me very well. After that, I studied Community Development at Hogeschool of Amsterdam.
What do you do for a living?
I am a professional hula-hoop dancer and SocaFit instructor. I teach classes in gyms and resorts and I host workshops at events, bachelor parties and basically every party I can spice up! Besides that, I make and sell Africa inspired head wraps, which I combine with Afrocentric matching jewellery.
Can you tell us more about Sisterhoops?
Sisterhoops is a community of women who choose to work out in a way that we all know from childhood: we use the hula-hoop to have fun and burn calories at the same time. We try to channel that inner happiness we all had as kids. My mission is to create a movement with women who feel comfortable in their own body, and show that!
What type of dance/exercise classes do you teach?
I teach the SocaFit by Chai classes, Hoopdance and Hoopfitness with Sisterhoops. I am also a kizomba instructor, and give private salsa classes. Those interested in learning more can check out SocaFit by Chai on Facebook.
What is the common thread in your work?
The thing all my classes have in common is that I want the students to go home inspired. That is my goal as a dance instructor. I encourage everyone to find their own style in whatever class I’m teaching. It’s not about “what level” you’re in, or how many of my steps you know to reproduce. To be your authentic self is the best you can be!
How do you juggle doing everything that you do?
I choose to simply do everything I love. My work never feels like an obligation to me. I took my passion and turned it into a purpose, so I don’t mind spending a lot of time doing what I like, which is teaching. In between, I try to plan some time for myself by swimming, meditating. I like being outdoors and since I’ve been living on the island, I now realise how much I love nature.
What are your pet peeves?
People who constantly bring people down. In my opinion, it makes no sense that bringing someone down would make you feel better about yourself.
What’s your dream holiday venue?
I think it would be the Bahamas, or the Seychelles, somewhere that I’m surrounded by water – there’s just something about Islands!
Do you have any hobbies?
I love collecting memories. I see that as my hobby. Back in Europe, I used to go to all kinds of reggae festivals, where I would bring my hula-hoops with me. That hoop connected me to so many cool people! Those are moments to cherish. And of course I keep up with everything involving Carnival: I like to go liming, making costumes and going on the road with my friends. I used to go to the annual Rotterdam Summer Carnival, Berlin Carnival and of course Nothing Hill Carnival in London.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Love the life you live; live the life you love.” It’s a song performed by reggae band Midnight. I think I’ve played it over a thousand times. After spending so much time listening to it, I could not do anything but to adapt it into my lifestyle. It has become my motto.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
Bob Marley, Nelson Mandela and Nina Simone; I think those three people have been a great example to a lot of people in the world. And each one of their stories is one I would like to listen to. I would cook a completely ital (vegan) meal. I believe Bob would have appreciated that, plus it’s totally hip to cook healthy! Being a vegan, one of my favourite one-pot dishes is Trinidadian Bhaji rice. I would probably serve it with tempeh or some plantain. I like simplicity.
Poi performer and fire dancer George Woodley was one of the big arts and entertainment winners at the recently held Topian Awards ceremony, in which persons in the industry were recognised for their work. Woodley won Best Mail Poi performer and Best Spotter. A Spotter is someone who assists stilt walkers during their performances while Poi is a form of dance, where weights on the ends of tethers are swung through rhythmical patterns. It is rooted in the culture of the Maori people of New Zealand (Aotearoa), who dance with poi poi in traditional ceremonies. Woodley tells us more about himself and his life as a performer in this week’s Hot Seat.
Who is George Woodley?
I am a selfless person, who is very passionate about what I believe in and I work very hard to achieve my goals.
How would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as a very nice and helpful guy. I always look out for other people, sometimes before I even look out for myself. I am also a man of my word and I do not like to let people down. I am also a very dependable person.
I attended Oranje primary school in Philipsburg. I then attended Sundial for the first two years of my secondary education and was then transferred to Milton Peters College (MPC) where I studied electrical engineering. I completed two years in the PBL stream and received my first diploma, then completed an extra year in the PKL stream and got my second diploma. I studied Electrical Engineering because I love physics. The minute I began the classes, I knew this was for me.
How did you end up being a Poi performer and fire dancer?
Almost a year ago, Funtopia introduced fire dancing to the list of entertainment it offers and I signed up for it. Before you start with the fire, you must practice Poi dancing. I rapidly advanced in it and eventually began to use the fire and became the first fire dancer in Funtopia and I really liked it very much. I eventually learned how to blow fire because it was needed in this field and I became very good at it. I am currently the only fire dancer at Funtopia. Poi dancing is a type of art called flow arts, which is basically spinning two items at the end of each string and you make circular motions. It can be done in different ways, such as with LED lights and with fire.
What inspired you and what is it that you like about this field?
My instructor inspired me because she would encourage me to learn as much as I can. Just by watching her spin and blow fire, it was really amusing so I also wanted to express such talent and amaze people with my skills. I also like the fact that there is always something new to learn and there is always room for improvement. I just enjoy everything there is about it.
What kind of poi performer are you?
I am a very amusing Poi performer to watch because I always make sure I mesmerize my crowd during my performances.
What differentiates you from other poi performers and artistes?
I always focus on making myself better as I execute my performance and I can adapt to any environment that I have to perform in.
How and where did you develop your skills?
I developed my skills in Funtopia constantly practicing with my Poi instructor and even practicing on my own at home and watching videos online.
Where have you performed in the past?
I have performed many times all over the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, also in Dominica, St. Eustatius, Saba and Anguilla.
How does it feel to win the Topian Award?
It’s an amazing feeling inside when your name gets called and you go up for that award and you are recognised for your hard work and dedication.
What do you think gave you the edge over other nominees?
My self-confidence during my performances; I always give 110% when I am performing.
Have you ever received any other awards in this field?
I won the TelCell Breakthrough competition in October last year.
Aside from performing, what is your career ambition?
I would like to obtain my Master’s Degree in electrical engineering.
What is your advice to other youths who also want to learn about poi performance?
My advice to them is that they should not be scared to learn and they should always do their best. Be patient and you will learn everything you need to learn in order to master this skill.
What are your future goals?
To go and study abroad so that in the future I may come back to St. Maarten and help make a positive change.
My only hobby besides my performances is sports.
What is your favourite type of music?
I listen to all types of music once I like the song. I have no favourite artistes.
If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I would invite Albert Einstein, Steven Hawking and Nikola Tesla and I would probably cook them some Spanish food.
Radio personality and managing director of Caribe Broadcasting Network/Island92 Jeffrey “Dr. Soc” Sochrin (49) has embarked on a new venture in radio. He tells us more about it in this week’s Hot Seat.
Who is Jeffrey ‘Dr. Soc’ Sochrin?
Driven, hardworking, focused, fun and a beach bum at heart – I find it very hard to say no to anyone.
How did you end up in beautiful St. Maarten?
I grew up in Seymour and Milford, Connecticut, USA, and came to St. Maarten with my parents in 1982. My parents had fallen in love with St. Maarten in the mid-1970s and decided they wanted to retire here. So they eventually purchased a vacation home here, and St. Maarten became our regular home away from home.
How did you discover your love for radio?
I remember as a child being fascinated with radio. Back in the 1970s in Connecticut, everyone listened to the radio to find out what was happening – not so different than here on St. Maarten. My morning radio guy was Big Al Warren on WICC, based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Big Al was always there to tell me if school was cancelled due a blizzard or if something else was going on in the local community. I remember as a child, calling in to the radio station to make a request one evening, on a program called Instant Request. I never realised the radio bug bit me at such a young age, but I now know, after almost a decade on the air at Island 92, it was my calling in life to talk.
How did you hone that love?
I guess I have always been a natural speaker. I love to talk in front of a group. I often find myself thinking about our listeners, especially early in the morning when it’s only me, my coffee and the microphone in the studio. The real key is to be yourself, and talk to your audience. If you find it interesting, chances are your audience will feel the same way.
What differentiates you from other radio personalities?
Island 92 and soon-to-be Z105.1 are a family. Everyone who listens, all of our clients and all team members – both on and off the air – are part of the family. It has to be that way in our small town surrounded by water. We have extended family members around the globe that listen to us online from wherever they may be in the world, because they long to be on St. Maarten. This means more to me than I can ever express in words. This passion, the love for our island and my extended radio family are what make ol’ Dr. Soc different from all the rest. The character I play on the radio is very much me, although I must admit some of the far out perspectives or opinions are exaggerated to get a reaction – but at the end of the day, it’s just me talking to my extended family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What do you like about your job?
I love the fact that I can say something on the air and by the time I sneak out to lunch in the middle of the day, people are repeating what they heard on the radio. I try very hard to make sure our listeners around the globe understand what a special place St. Maarten is to me. It’s my adopted home and I don’t think I could ever leave.
What do you set out to achieve when you go on air each day?
I hope I can bring a smile to the face of as many listeners as possible every day. I hope I can influence members of our community, in spite of all the silliness, to adhere to the golden rule and the Rotary four-way test. If we can all treat each other the way we would like to be treated ourselves, and at the end of the day always remember to ask, “Is it the truth?” “Is it fair to all concerned?” “Will it build good will and better friendships?” “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”, there is nothing that we can’t achieve here on St Maarten.
And where can people tune in to listen to Soc?
Fresh Air in the Morning with Dr. Soc airs weekdays from 7:00 to11:00 on Island 92 (91.9) FM and on Z105.1 FM (starting February 1) locally; or online at www.island92.com and www.z1051.com, or any streaming services like tunein.com.
Tell us about the new radio station?
About six months ago, an opportunity presented itself to acquire ZRON 105.1 FM, based on Anguilla. With that opportunity came the next question: “What are we going to play on Z105.1?” We are rockers to our core, but we needed to come up with something that fits our audience without straying too far from our roots. Eric Boyer, my good friend and associate at Island 92 (ERB to our listeners), suggested we explore a Classic Hits format, the more popular stuff from the mid-1970s through mid-1990s. Simply stated, Z105.1 was born on January 1, with its new Classic Hits format. Beginning February 1, Fresh Air in the Morning with Dr. Soc will air simultaneously on both stations, giving our programming the biggest reach in the Northeast Caribbean.
How did the alias Dr. Soc come about?
Let’s be honest, “Fresh Air in the Morning with Jeffrey” sounds horrible. I had to come up with a good radio name. My last name “Sochrin” kind of naturally brings about the nickname Soc. As a matter of fact, it was and still is my father’s nickname. So, I guess I stole Dad’s name. In 2012, a group from AUC came to the studio with a white doctor-coat, a stethoscope and an honorary “Doctor of Radio-ology” degree and proclaimed, “You are now Dr. Soc.” I now affectionately refer to Dad as “Pop Soc.”
What are you involved in outside of radio?
I’m a member of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten, serving as the president from 2015 to 2016; I’m treasurer of St. Maarten Yacht Club for almost five years, and treasurer of St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Recently, I became an adjunct member of the faculty at University of St. Martin, teaching in the business programme. I’m also chairman/founder of Team Goldendog Foundation, which strives to help homeless animals find their forever homes.
What’s your favourite type of music?
I love rock, new and old. I also like all the popular music of the 1980s. I love all the music of the rock era, along with many of the standards of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the rest of the Rat Pack. My favourite rock band is Led Zeppelin; favourite Led Zeppelin song is Fool in the Rain; favourite song of all time is Don McClean’s American Pie.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be?
Ronald Reagan – he was president when I was in high school; Farrah Fawcett and Frank Sinatra, whose music I love, and if I could add a fourth, it would be Johnny Carson from The Tonight Show. He made me laugh and feel good.
Entrepreneur Beatrice Richardson- Piper is a soft spoken and open minded young lady, who’s always wanted to own her own business. Her dream was not confirmed until the last months of 2015. It’s then that she found her passion, which is maintaining and advising/consulting with black women who wear their hair natural.
Who is Beatrice Richardson- Piper?
A young entrepreneur, Mother of 3, and I’m happily married.
I grew up in a business owner household as my father had his own Auto parts shop. RoI started to work there from the age of 16 and after a while the business was taken over by my sister.
Where were you born?
I was born on the French side of the island.
I attended Lycée Polyvalent Des Iles Du Nord on the french side of the island.
I enjoy looking at YouTube hair tutorials and reading about Natural hair
What do you do for a living?
I’m the owner of Glamorous Hairtopia. It’s a store that opened its doors on July 18th, 2016. I offer hair consultations with Naturalistas (black women who wear their hair natural) or persons who are on their way to Naturalista land (transitioning) based on their hair type. I also sell natural hair products, wooden jewelry, fabric and clothing. The clothing consists of natural hair t- shirts and clothing made from African print fabric.
What type of products do you like to use on your hair without?
I absolutely love using natural oils on my hair.
Who’s your favourite natural hair guru?
Jenell Stewart is my absolute favourite and the reason for that is because we appear to have the same type of natural hair. I also admire the manner in which she spends quality time with her family.
What inspired you to open a store?
In 2015 I started a Facebook group called Naturellement Belle in sxm, because there were many people that I would meet, who were interested in tips and ideas as how to care for their hair the best way possible. I consulted and gave advice on hair care and the interest people showed grew. I then contacted Initiative Saint Martin and I also did a survey. The purpose behind the survey was to get a general view of what people were interested in. I received lots of responses to the Survey and they were very positive. This resulted in the decision to open my own store.
What do you like about having your own business?
Being able to determine my own working hours, allows me to spend more time with my family when I want to.
What are some of the challenges that you’ve encountered?
There can be many challenges. An example of such is that there are days you may not earn the amount of money you would have liked to. However, there are other times that make up for the previous days that you earned less.
What do you have planned for 2017 and what are your future goals?
There will be new services offered in my store, such as treating hair, styling hair, new styles of African print clothing, jewellery, and hair care products. I also plan to organize more Workshops.
One of my future goals is to host a huge natural hair event with the association that I created last year and is also a facebook group called "Naturellement Belle in sxm"
What would be your message to anyone who would like to open their own store?
Keep your eyes on your goal and stay focused. You might encounter others who have the same business idea as you do, instead of focusing on competing, look at how you can collaborate with one another. Anytime someone tries to discourage you, keep going towards your dreams.
If someone wants information on your services, how can they contact you?
They can visit my Facebook page Glamorous Hairtopia for more information and contact me via the page or visit my store in Marigot.
Where would you spend your dream holiday?
I would like to travel to Italy, Germany and the African continent, I would love to experience what each of them has to offer.
What are your pet peeves?
I really don’t like to hear the sound of persons dragging their feet while walking.
What’s your favourite quote?
Love your hair and your hair will love you back.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I love to listen soul, soft Rnb music from artist such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Brian McKnight.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I would invite my Husband my Mother and Ms. Jenell B Stewart (the natural hair guru that I admire).The meal which would be prepared would consist of Lasanga, Garlic bread and Plantain. To top it all off, Caramel ice cream would be served for dessert.