Get all the latest Aruba news in the Visit Aruba app for iOS and Android.

AGA elects new board

AGA boardThe Aruba Gastronomic Association met this week to elect a new board. Outgoing President Raoul Henriquez, he owns Chez Mathilde restaurant and has recently taken over the island’s franchise for Burger King, stepped aside allowing Hubert Solagnier, of Amazonia Churrascaria to take over.

It was a very tight race with three excellent candidates expressing their wish to fill the President’s shoes. Gerry Mans, Director of Food & Beverage, La Cabana All Suite Resort was also in the running, yet a photo-finish helped establish the beginning of Hubert’s AGA career as the head of that organization. Roy Leitch, Waterfront Crabhouse was unanimously elected Vice President while Ann Brown, Director of Operations, Tierra del Sol, maintained her position as treasurer. Douglass Markus, Cuba’s Cookin’ is now the organization’s secretary and the board members, Gerry Mans, John Chemaly Jr., Valentino’s and Gilbert Dijkoff, Aqua Grill, concluded the list of just-elected officials. Coordinator Fern Pochettino, is the one running the organization on a daily basis. She oversees the dine-around programs and also the marketing and the promotion of Aruba as a gourmet travel destination.

Joyce Bartels-Daal, the former head of the Aruba Quality Foundation was recently hired by AGA as a consultant. Joyce’s organization will conduct bi-annual quality inspections at the island’s restaurants and will submit detailed reports about her dining experiences in an effort to continuously improve service and product.  Those inspections were previously conducted by an overseas firm, once a year. Local restaurants, members of AGA, had to maintain certain standards in order to belong. Now with a local company available to monitor standards, the restaurants will enjoy more frequent visits, converting the reports into learning opportunities for owners, kitchen and dining room staffers. New president Hubert Solagnier has 25 years of  restaurant experience on the island and a passion for Harley Davidson’s. John Chemaly Jr. is a first-time board member; he is a busy executive at Codemsa, the island’s largest building materials store, besides running Valentino’s. Gilbert, also a fresh face on the board is running Aqua Grille.

Read more news