This initiative, underscored by the vital role of food in society, tradition, culture, and economic stability, drew robust support from both the Department of Tourism (DoT) and key culinary figures in the Virgin Islands. However, it also sparked a thoughtful debate over the diversity of cooking styles across the islands, authenticity, and the influence of evolving cultural factors on local cuisine.
Alani Henneman, Assistant Commissioner of DoT, testified in support of the bill on behalf of DoT Commissioner Joseph Boschulte. She highlighted that a national dish and dessert would elevate the already thriving culinary and agriculture tourism in the Virgin Islands. Henneman proposed a digital strategy for the survey, including targeted ads on social media, a digital survey platform, and localized digital ads throughout the territory.