Volunteer opportunities at Taste of Cayman festival

Plans for the 2014 annual Taste of Cayman Food and Wine Festival are under way as organizers begin to assemble the volunteer corps.

“The work has begun for Taste of Cayman 2014, and we actually need volunteers to assist us with some of the pre-event tasks which need to be completed now,” said Jane van der Bol, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

“Every year we are amazed at how they show up and work tirelessly to provide a memorable experience to both patrons and vendors alike, and we expect nothing less in 2014.”

Julie Allan, manager of Rackam’s Waterfront bar and restaurant and volunteer bar supervisor at the festival for the past four years, urged anyone interested in a career in catering or hospitality to sign up.

“One of my best food and beverage servers at Rackam’s was a volunteer for Taste of Cayman one year,” she said. “He wanted to work at Rackam’s, found out I was looking for volunteers for the bar, signed up, did a fantastic job, and I hired him immediately after.

“With all the unemployment in Cayman right now, it would be a great idea for people looking for work to come out and volunteer, connect with vendors from so many different restaurants, and have something extra to put on a resume. Who knows? They just might get a job out of it!”

She said volunteering at the festival is challenging but rewarding.

“I do love a challenge, and this is the ultimate one: Take an eclectic group of volunteers, some with experience, some without, train them in one short session, set up bars, organise the staff, high five, and then off we go.”

Festival grows over the years

Ms Allan has been managing bars and restaurants for more than 10 years and has attended every Taste of Cayman for 16 years.

“The growth of the festival over the years is just astounding. This past year was the best yet, so well done, so many vendors, beautiful weather and great food. So many people commented on what a great event it was this year, which makes it all worth the time and effort in the end.”

Rensford “Tony” Bodden agrees. He volunteered for the first time at Taste of Cayman 2013 along with his wife Barbara, who has been a part of the CITA volunteer team for several years. The couple worked the gate at the Festival Green, collecting tickets from festival-goers.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my first volunteer experience at Taste of Cayman. The way I see it, we waste a lot of time in our lives doing things that really don’t matter in the long term, but volunteering for something like Taste of Cayman is helping our country’s tourism industry, so it benefits not only us but everyone who calls Cayman home. I would encourage people to get involved and volunteer.”

For more information about volunteering for the festival, log on to www.tasteofcayman.org/volunteers1 or call 946.8822.