The USVI Has a New Culinary Ambassador


The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has named St. Croix chef Ralph Motta as its newest Culinary Ambassador.

The department announced that the executive chef of Motta Cuisine will represent the U.S. Virgin Islands at various in-market activations and events during the year to promote the territory’s culinary offerings.

This week, Motta appeared on camera preparing a dish for “SoFloTaste” on ABC in Miami, in advance of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s Caribbean305 culinary celebration, which will take place on Miami’s Jungle Island on June 3.

During the segment, Motta, who appeared with Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty, offered host Hunter Franqui a taste of a modern twist on boiled fish.

He prepared the dish with poached mahi mahi in a butter sauce with a cilantro-lime yucca purée, passionfruit glaze, sauteed broccoli and microgreens.

“We’re honored to have Chef Motta as a Culinary Ambassador,” Nicholson-Doty said. “His incredible dishes speak for themselves, and he embodies what makes St. Croix’s culinary scene so special – fresh farm-to-table and sea-to-plate cuisine, on par with and excelling beyond well-established culinary hot spots around the world.”

The self-trained chef, who earned a BFA in Painting from New York’s Pratt Institute, brings an artistic flair to his cooking, often experimenting with a palette of new culinary techniques, serving up a fusion of American, Caribbean and French cuisines.

He founded Motta Cuisine, a boutique catering company, in 2014.

— Dana Niland, CJ Contributor