Charleston chef, St. Croix native, says Hurricane Maria has devastated his home

Digby Stridiron (WCIV)

Hurricane Maria caused widespread destruction as it made a direct hit on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands Wednesday.

The devastation comes little more than a week after Hurricane Irma leveled neighboring islands St. Thomas and St. John.

Digby Stridiron is a Charleston chef and a St. Croix native. He watched helplessly Wednesday as the hurricane battered his home.

“It's knowing a place that you're never going to see again. Just saw Christiansted, which is where I was raised, it's my home, and I don't recognize a lot of places.” Stridiron said.

Stridiron received constant updates while he was prepping for a banquet Thursda, with his family still on the island, including his 92-year-old grandmother.

“My mom is down there, my sisters, aunts and uncles are down there, everybody,” Stridiron said. “(My grandmother) got evacuated after Irma, and she's now in a home, just in case the power goes out.”

Stridiron moved to Charleston about a month ago from the Virgin Islands, He's the Executive Chef at Parcel 32, which opens in Charleston later this year.

The devastation from Hurricane Irma and now Hurricane Maria is unlike any other he's seen.

“When I look at St. Thomas, my best friend, like a brother basically, his house is gone,” Stridiron says. "Most of the people I know lost roofs or the water was in their house.”

Stridiron said though his family, and likely every other family on the island, will need help to rebuild and repair, St Croix will forever be home to his family.

”We’re West Indian, there's no relocation for us," Stridiron said. "St Croix is my home, it's where I’m from.”

You can meet Chef Digby on Thursday at the James Beard Foundation Banquet. Tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.

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