MEET CHEF DACRES
“When he stepped out to do his own thing, it was like things falling into place.”
TO CONSIDER an industry to be traditionally male or female is certainly a thing of the past as increasingly, game changers are making their own rules and breaking down barriers. This is the story of Anthony Dacres, the 20-year-old young man behind some of the best meals in the East and making the kitchen his domain.
Raised in the fruitful, rural parish of St Thomas, Dacres’ brand, ‘Chef Dacres’, is the end result of many years of observation, trial and error and, most importantly, determination. “I used to watch my mom cook from I was about nine until I started, bit by bit, to assist. I definitely can’t go out on a limb and say I was born to do this (laughs), because it took a few not-so-good dishes to perfect my craft; but that’s just me, always trying to get better,” he told Youthlink.
‘ ‘Service with a smile’ is my philosophy because, believe it or not, food has power; whether it is to bring people closer together, mend broken relationships or just to put a smile on ’ someone’s face.
With the apparent trend of unemployment, bettering the odds of finding job security was, similarly, no easy feat for the Jamaica College alumnus. After high school, he became a coaching assistant at the Morant Bay High School just a few doors from his house until eventually, getting a foot in the kitchen at the Golden Shore resort, also in St Thomas. He describes this first encounter with ‘chef life’ as eye-opening. “I was18 at the time when I first prepared a meal for the CEO of the resort, Derrick Hamilton; he was amazed and the guests were pleased. That made me realise that this could be a viable skill for me,” said Dacres. Alas, in February 2017, he hung up his Golden Shore apron to hone the Chef Dacres logo, which is now accessed by 18,500 followers on Instagram and counting. Ivy Buckley, a longtime friend, told Youthlink of Dacres’ journey, “He always did the most when he was at Golden Shore with the uniform and logo, and if you didn’t know him, you would think this is an executive chef with his own business. So, when he stepped out to do his own thing, it was like things falling into place.” “Most of my clients are based overseas,” Dacres said. “I have also cooked regularly for Wilson Chung and his family, the owner of Joong Supermarket and One Stop Hardware (in St Thomas). I’ve cooked for Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government, and Conroy Wilson, executive director of Ashe Performing Arts.”
He is also no stranger to the media, recalling that, “I’ve been featured by Eat Around Jamaica earlier this year and I was also invited to be a part of the live audience for TVJ’s Daytime Live. My mother, who is always a tower of strength for me, convinced me to take samples and wear my uniform, which I frowned upon at first, but you know how mothers are. When I arrived at TVJ, the producer saw that I had food and was well dressed and laughed, saying to go to the guests’ room and prepare myself for an interview. I was the ‘Daytime Xtra’ that day.”
“Service with a smile is my philosophy because believe, it or not, food has power; whether it is to bring people closer together, mend broken relationships or just to put a smile on someone’s face. I believe in this power and I aim to execute it with every meal,” he commented.
In between celebrity clients and the occasional media features, Chef Dacres says he is working on the bigger picture of one day having his own line of products marketed. He said, “It’s definitely in the pipeline, I would say within or five or 10 years this goal should be a reality. I’m confident about my jerk sauce and a host of others. I want that when you see Maggie, Miss Birdie or even Grace, Chef Dacres is right there, too.”
Find Chef Dacres on Instagram: @chef.dacres, on Twitter: @chef_dacres or on Facebook: Chef Dacres. Send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website: chefanthonydacres.wordpress.com.
YL:GAME CHANGERS “I’ve been featured by ‘Eat Around Jamaica’ earlier this year and I was also invited to be a part of the live audience for TVJ’s ‘Daytime Live’.”