The Cliff at Cap Hosts Top Chef Si­mon McKen­zie

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Top Chef Si­mon McKen­zie from the Chan­nel Is­lands ar­rived in Saint Lu­cia this week as part of an in­ter­na­tional chef ex­change pro­gramme with the Cap Ma­sion Re­sort and Spa. The highly re­garded chef has worked in Miche­lin-starred restau­rants and with world-renowned chefs. He cur­rently works at Bella Luce in Guernsey, and is also the reign­ing Chan­nel Is­lands Chef of the Year. This week Chef Si­mon met with the lo­cal press to share his in­spir­ing jour­ney that was pushed in the di­rec­tion of cui­sine when he was told at 15 by a young girl he barely re­mem­bers to­day that he’d never be a chef. “So that’s ex­actly what I be­came,” he laughed. Booked with Cap Mai­son Re­sort for one week as part of the chef ex­change, he said that so far things were go­ing well. He did ad­mit, how­ever, that it was al­ways dif­fi­cult go­ing into an un­fa­mil­iar kitchen. “When you go into a strange kitchen in an­other coun­try noth­ing is the same that it is back home,” he said. “Ev­ery­one works dif­fer­ent. For the first day it’s kind of, blurry you know, get­ting your­self or­ga­nized.” But or­ga­ni­za­tion was one of the big­gest ca­reer lessons he’d learnt so far, par­tic­u­larly when it came to work­ing in for­eign ter­ri­to­ries. “I’m re­ally OCD any­way, so I’ve leant to be ul­tra or­ga­nized,” he said. “We do quite a bit of work with dif­fer­ent coun­tries. It’s great fun for the chefs. It’s kind of just a break from the norm.”

Later in the year Chef Si­mon is ex­pected to be part of an­other ex­change in Canada. On the part of Cap Mai­son, Chef Craig Jones said this was the ho­tel’s first chef ex­change for the year, with an ob­jec­tive of bring­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent to guests. Chef Craig him­self had been part of a chef ex­change event last year, when he worked in the kitchen of Chef Si­mon at the Old Gov­ern­ment House in Guernsey for one night. At the time he brought a taste of the Caribbean to Guernsey, and now Chef Si­mon is bring­ing Guernsey to Saint Lu­cia.

“Guests look for­ward to it, es­pe­cially our regulars,” Chef Craig said. “It’s great for the chefs be­cause they get to see their cook­ing is just as good as many of these guys over­seas. It works out well both ways.”

Fri­day was Chef Si­mon’s first day at the helm of Cap Mai­son’s Naked Fish­er­man res­tau­rant. He will be fea­tured this even­ing at a fine din­ing event at The Cliff, and is ex­pected to fly out on Sun­day.

Chef Si­mon McKen­zie will be fea­tured at Cap Mai­son’s Cliff res­tau­rant this even­ing.

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