Chefs in the Caribbean

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Fe­male chefs are mak­ing waves in the Caribbean and chang­ing the face of the in­dus­try through de­li­cious culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ences and in­no­va­tive pro­grams. They are not only award-win­ners, but also ex­cit­ing trailblazers who are shak­ing up the way some re­sorts look at their in­gre­di­ents and menus al­to­gether.

From pineap­ple carpac­cio to ceviche to au­then­tic pep­per pot, sweet and sa­vory dishes abound and de­light. Ready for a bite? Head to Carlisle Bay An­tigua, Hil­ton Cu­ra­cao, and Hy­att Re­gency Trinidad to taste the cre­ations of these ris­ing fe­male chefs and ex­pe­ri­ence the fla­vor of their coun­tries.

CHEF LISA SELL­ERS, CARLISLE BAY AN­TIGUA

An­tigua’s Carlisle Bay re­sort is an oa­sis of calm and beauty, with the pic­turesque Carlisle Bay its nat­u­rally chang­ing tableau. “Dis­creet lux­ury” is their motto, but af­ter din­ing at one of their four restau­rants it’s the deca­dent palate-pleasers that linger in mem­ory. How does ev­ery dish have so much fla­vor? It’s all in the in­gre­di­ents. Carlisle Bay’s lo­cally-sourced din­ing pro­gram was

“AS THE ONLY FE­MALE CHEF ON AN­TIGUA, CHEF LISA BROUGHT A PER­SONAL, COMMUNITYMINDED AP­PROACH TO OUR CULI­NARY PRO­GRAM AND DI­VER­SI­FIED OUR SEA­SONAL MENUS BY BUILD­ING RE­LA­TION­SHIPS WITH LO­CAL GROW­ERS AND SUP­PLI­ERS,” SAID JOHN ROGERS, GEN­ERAL MAN­AGER OF CARLISLE BAY.

ini­ti­ated by their for­mer Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Lisa Sell­ers, who was the first fe­male ex­ec­u­tive chef on An­tigua.

“As the only fe­male chef on An­tigua,

Chef Lisa brought a per­sonal, communityminded ap­proach to our culi­nary pro­gram and di­ver­si­fied our sea­sonal menus by build­ing re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal grow­ers and sup­pli­ers,” said John Rogers, Gen­eral Man­ager of Carlisle Bay. “This com­mit­ment con­tin­ues to­day and is ev­i­dent in Carlisle Bay’s four di­verse restau­rants, which fea­ture vi­brant, sea­sonal fla­vors and in­gre­di­ents – many of which can only be found on An­tigua.”

Chef Lisa over­hauled the re­sort’s culi­nary pro­gram to work with more lo­cal ven­dors and em­brace the Slow Food Move­ment, sup­port­ing the An­tiguan com­mu­nity, culture and en­vi­ron­ment. Carlisle Bay’s ro­tat­ing sea­sonal menu is crafted with lo­cal in­gre­di­ents. Guests en­joy fresh-caught fish and lob­ster, farm-raised goat and chicken, plus is­land-grown fruits like the su­per-sweet An­tiguan Black Pineap­ple, un­avail­able any­where else in the world. Lo­cal spices, along with herbs and vegeta­bles from Carlisle Bay’s own gar­den ac­cent the of­fer­ings. Chef Lisa’s sig­na­ture dish is Pineap­ple Carpac­cio with Pineap­ple & Car­damom Sor­bet; guests can sa­vor it on prop­erty at Indigo and Jetty Grill.

Carlisle Bay of­fers a di­verse cui­sine so guests never want for va­ri­ety. Af­ter­noon tea is served beach­side, cel­e­brat­ing An­tigua’s Bri­tish his­tory. Non-tee­to­talers will love the “Gar­den to Glass” fresh ginger or mint gar­nished cock­tails, while movie buffs en­joy a 45-seat cinema with snacks that match the films. For ex­am­ple, catch a screen­ing of “Goldfin­ger” while sip­ping a Ves­per Mar­tini and munch­ing on “gold” dusted pop­corn that will give guests-wait for it--gold fin­gers. For Chef Lisa’s Pineap­ple Trio with Pineap­ple & Car­damom Sor­bet recipe see be­low.

TRIO OF PINEAP­PLE (SERVES 6)

An­tigua is known for its black pineap­ple, con­sid­ered to be the sweet­est in the world. The na­tional fruit of An­tigua, the pineap­ple is grown in small batches and is not ex­ported off the is­land, so it’s only avail­able to ex­pe­ri­ence on An­tigua. Carlisle Bay’s ex­ec­u­tive chef Lisa Sell­ers (the only fe­male exec chef on An­tigua) pre­pares an el­e­vated ver­sion of the black pineap­ple three ways. The dessert trio pairs finely sliced pineap­ple, with caramelized pineap­ple and a pineap­ple car­damom sor­bet, all dis­played on the same plate.

Pineap­ple in sa­vory su­gar syrup

1 cup su­gar

1 cup wa­ter

3 sprigs rose­mary

½ pineap­ple, peeled, cored and sliced pa­per thin

Mix su­gar and wa­ter in a small pot and sim­mer on medium-high heat un­til the su­gar dis­solves. Re­move from heat. Add rose­mary. Steep for 10 min­utes; then re­move rose­mary. Pour in­gre­di­ents into a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add pineap­ple to syrup mix­ture, cover and re­frig­er­ate un­til ready to use.

Caramelized Pineap­ple

½ pineap­ple, peeled, cored and diced into

¼ inch cubes

4 ta­ble­spoons brown su­gar

1 ta­ble­spoon un­salted but­ter

½ cup English Har­bour Rum (au­then­tic to An­tigua) or other golden rum

In a medium bowl, toss pineap­ple with su­gar. In a non­stick fry­ing pan over high heat, heat but­ter un­til it foams. Add pineap­ple and cook for 2 min­utes on each side or un­til golden brown. Add rum and bring to a boil. Re­move from heat, cool, cover and re­frig­er­ate un­til use.

Pineap­ple & Car­damom Sor­bet

½ pineap­ple, peeled, cored and diced 8 ta­ble­spoons su­gar

½ cup wa­ter

¼ tsp freshly ground car­damom 2 ta­ble­spoons fresh le­mon juice

In a blender, com­bine pineap­ple, su­gar, wa­ter, le­mon juice, and car­damom. Blend un­til smooth. Place mix­ture in a cov­ered shal­low con­tainer and chill for at least an hour or overnight. Then, process in ice cream ma­chine per man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions.

CHEF VANESSE TWEEBOOM, HIL­TON CURAÇAO

Tourism is on the rise in Cu­ra­cao, the col­or­ful is­land that wel­comes all vis­i­tors. Willem­stad’s multi-hued Dutch ar­chi­tec­ture is post­card-per­fect and the nightlife never stops. Still, most vis­i­tors come for the beaches. Hil­ton Cu­ra­cao pro­vides am­ple beach and pool play ar­eas for what­ever guests pre­fer, along with menus and cock­tails that com­ple­ment the turquoise scenery. Hil­ton Cu­ra­cao be­lieves that food should ac­cent its en­vi­ron­ment and so they put their trust in Chef Vanesse Tweeboom, with great re­ward.

Chef Vanesse Tweeboom’s sig­na­ture recipe is ceviche and food­ies rave about its sim­ple per­fec­tion. Dur­ing “Peru­vian Week” guests can learn to make the dish with Chef Vanesse, and en­joy a three-course demon­stra­tion din­ner as well. Born and raised in Curaçao, Tweeboom stud­ied In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel & Business Man­age­ment in The Nether­lands. She loves the

idea of us­ing food to bring peo­ple to­gether and of­fers fun classes dur­ing high sea­son: pizza mak­ing classes, cookie dé­cor classes and cup­cake classes for kids.

“Cu­ra­cao’s vi­brant col­ors in­spire me to have more fun with color in all my foods, not only with my pas­tries.” Notes Chef Vanesse, “For me, taste and color are very im­por­tant and I try to main­tain the orig­i­nal­ity of each lo­cal dish, while still adding my own spe­cial twist.” Chef Vanesse is now the Ex­ec­u­tive Chef at Hil­ton Curaçao, but she isn’t rest­ing on her ti­tle by any means. Be­sides cook­ing she has be­come fas­ci­nated by pas­tries, be­gin­ning to test and de­velop new recipes of her own. Who says chefs can’t wear two hats?

PAS­TRY SOUS CHEF AVANELLE JAMES, HY­ATT RE­GENCY TRINIDAD

Tri­nis, as peo­ple from Trinidad & Tobago are af­fec­tion­ately called, love their spice. Hy­att Re­gency Trinidad serves up lo­cal heat at Wa­ter­front, their con­tem­po­rary Caribbean restau­rant, as well as at their Sushi Bar. Their motto “Thought­fully Sourced, Care­fully Served” is known through­out the in­dus­try, and the qual­ity shows. But the award-win­ner in their group comes from their sweet side, Chef Avanelle James. A mem­ber of the Hy­att team since 2013, James won the Pas­try Chef Com­pe­ti­tion Bronze award dur­ing the CHTA’s “Taste of the Caribbean” Culi­nary Com­pe­ti­tion in 2009 and won 2nd place in the Trinidad & Tobago Hos­pi­tal­ity In­sti­tute Iron Chef com­pe­ti­tion in 2003. For fire, lo­cals know to pour some Trinidad Scor­pion pep­per on their roti, but for some honey they or­der the sweet pas­tries at Hy­att Re­gency Trinidad.

An­tigua Carlisle Bay Re­sort

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