Interview with Chef Digby Stridiron of balter in Christiansted, St.Croix

You could say Chef Digby Stridiron was born into food. A native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Digby grew up around what many today call the “slow food” movement—fresh, locally harvested ingredients and proteins gathered from the sea just steps away. Add to that a West Indian culinary tradition influenced by the African diaspora, and Digby’s gastronomic identity began to take root at an early age. He carries forward those childhood influences today by advancing elegant, contemporary West Indian cuisine that balances avant-garde influences with old-fashioned techniques. He insists on local ingredients and makes a point to establish sustainable working relationships with farmers. Digby is both an official member of the Slow Food Movement and the James Beard Foundation, and was the first chef to host a James Beard dinner in the Virgin Islands. He cares deeply about food equality, and growing up on the island increased his awareness of the importance of local sourcing of ingredients, from conch to coconuts. Digby was named as CTO’s 2014-2015 Caribbean Chef of the year. He was later in that year awarded the role as “Culinary Ambassador of the US Virgin Islands.” Now, after staging his finely honed cuisine across the Caribbean and finding new inspiration from as far away as San Francisco and Italy, Digby is living his childhood dream by opening balter, a contemporary West Indian kitchen in downtown Christiansted, St.Croix.