Gout et Saveurs Lakay is the brain child of a young Chef Stephan Berrouet Durand, who after 20 years comes back to his home country with the idea of helping with the development of Haiti’s gastronomy and putting Haitian Culinary and hospitality talents in the forefront. Haiti has never been recognized as a culinary destination let alone been know for its Chefs. It was time to change it all. After meeting with now friend and colleague Chef Jean-Luc Grabowski, old friend Didier Hyppolite supporting this idea, he would take the chance of taking it further. At a tourist association meeting, Stephan would meet current Minister of Tourism Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin and friend and now partner Jean-Max Chauvet who would take on the project with him. With the support of the oldest and strongest newspaper in Haiti today Le Nouvelliste, the Haitian Tourism Association the 1st Edition of the festival “Gout et Saveurs Lakay” – Haiti Food & Spirits Festival would see the light of day. The festival was a success with Haitian Chefs local & International, restaurants; caterers came to participate in this grand celebration. In 2012, wanting to do better, Jean-Max and Stephan brought event coordinator extraordinaire, Johanne Buteau on board to form Culinary Events, which would take over the full coordination of the festival.
Chef Stephan’s vision with his partner’s wanted this festival to be a change maker in the industry on many levels. The objectives of the festivals became clear: the promotion of Haiti’s gastronomy, under its cultural, professional, economic and social components. This festival had to help make a difference from the grassroots, which is education, which is why in 2012 the festival took the status of non-for-profit festival and the profits would go towards supporting culinary and hospitality education in Haiti. Gout et Saveurs Lakay has to be a major player to help promote and elevate all facets of the culinary and hospitality industry. The success of the 2nd edition helped us donate over $12,000 dollars to the hotel School “Ecole Hoteliere d’Haiti and to CHTAEF-Haiti Fund which helps young Haitians students continue their studies abroad through scholarships.
Every year, we invite Haitian and International Chefs and professionals of the food and beverage industry to take part in this unique event to help enrich and share their knowledge with other professionals in Haiti. Utilizing local grown ingredients, this will help renew our gastronomy and help promote it on the international level. These exchanges will help tell the rich story of Haiti’s diversity, give it an identity and in the future help visitors immerse them selves socially, culturally in every facet of the Haiti experience. Most of all, it will help with the evolution of Haiti’s rich food culture and help create the new Haitian Cuisine while keeping the integrity of Haiti’s unique ingredients and recipes.