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Bonaire Tourism Scholarship Program Supports Culinary Duo on Inspiring Journey to Bulgaria

July 9, 2023

First two students who completed all entry requirements received their Bonaire Tourism Scholarship Award of 2023

Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) in partnership with Guardian Group Fatum is proud to announce that the first two applicants for the Bonaire Tourism Scholarship Program have been selected and honored with their Scholarship Award. Hensmier Jeomar Arrindell and Elise Arrindell-Weerstand are both embarking on an inspiring culinary journey to Bulgaria, aiming to elevate their culinary skills.

With a vision to create unforgettable meals that pay homage to Bonaire’s traditions, the Bonaire native chef, Hensmier seeks to bring the island’s cuisine to the next level of fine dining. In a letter expressing his passion and ambitions, Hensmier shares his commitment to representing Bonaire in every dish served to his guests. “I would love to widen my horizon and knowledge to make a memorable meal for every visitor, and to be an ambassador for the culinary world of Bonaire.”

When Hensmier is not working at Ocean Oasis, he dedicates his time to educating children at Nature Cooking School. With a heartfelt desire to make a positive impact, he teaches them essential skills in growing, harvesting, and preparing their own food. Hensmier expresses, “going on a trip like this will show our youth the possibilities of our amazing industry and island. I started as a dishwasher and now I’m a chef in one of the best restaurants on the island. This would never happen if no one gave me this chance to start cooking.”

As the owner of Sweeti Bakery, tourism holds great significance for Elise. However, she believes it is crucial not only for herself but for the entire island. Education and personal development are core values she holds dear. “In my bakery, I offer a learning place to students of different levels, and I provide workshops to incarcerated individuals and students from SGB.”

Elise is actively involved in shaping the Culinary Capital project on Bonaire, contributing valuable insights and ideas. Her commitment to promoting culinary education within the tourism sector is evident. “I envision a future where culinary education and international collaborations empower Bonaire’s tourism sector. Through this initiative, we aim to bridge the gap between Bonaire and international educational institutions, fostering growth and innovation. The school in Bulgaria offers affordable and highly professional tailor-made programs specifically designed for students from Bonaire,” says Elise.

Both of the students are determined to create positive change and strive to unlock new opportunities for the local community, enhance Bonaire’s culinary offerings, and contribute to the sustainable development of the island’s tourism sector. This transformative experience in Bulgaria will broaden their horizons, enabling them to bring newfound knowledge and skills back to Bonaire.

About the Scholarship Program

The Bonaire Tourism Scholarship Program helps fund individual professional development courses and full-time academic courses in all areas of Hospitality and Tourism Management for Associate (MBO), Bachelor and Master programs. The scholarship allows deserving students and non-students to achieve their educational goals, meet their professional objectives and realize their dreams. In addition, the scholarship program enables participants to take advantage of opportunities for continuing their professional development. This scholarship is also an effective tool/opportunity to improve recruitment of qualified locals and encourage retention and professional growth in the tourism sector of Bonaire.