Holy Chef! Candid Q&A's from Cayman's most 'colourful' chefs

Candid Q&A's from Cayman's most 'colourful' chefs

Chef Niven Patel
The Brasserie

Where have you travelled to that has inspired your cooking?
A: Six years ago I travelled to Florence, Italy. My time there changed my whole approach to cooking and the culture behind it. Before I went to Florence, I was into the latest trends of molecular gastronomy and the science behind food. Then I stayed in Florence for six months cooking and that experience taught me how important it is to let the ingredients speak for themselves.
Q:What is your most prized ingredient?
A:The most prized ingredient in any dish is the love and passion you put into it. If you put your heart and soul into a button mushroom you can make the person eating it feel like they are eating a morel.

Chef Gilbert Cavallaro
Cracked Conch

Q:What is your best cooking tip for a novice
A: It would have to be, use the best and the freshest of whatever produce is available in your area and always use the right amount of salt.
Q: What is your most prized ingredient?
The local seasoning peppers give an extraordinary plateau of flavour to most dishes. We are so fortunate to find them here nearby almost all year round.
Q: Who inspired you to become a chef?
Food was an integral part of my childhood. I grew up in the south of France and spent my summers in the south of Italy. My grandmother’s garden was fantastic with its fruit, vegetables and herbs and fresh ricotta was delivered to the village by Vespa each day. My grandmother once ran a cantina and my mother loves to bake so I was surrounded by my family’s love of food.

Chef Cindy Hutson

Q:What was your typical family dinner as a child?
A: It was far from typical. Dad would cook weekends. We would watch football, eat Maryland Blue Crabs, raw clams, smoked oysters and Jersey sloppy joes with beef tongue, Russian dressing and coleslaw. Mom was weekdays....well let’s just say that’s why I decided to learn how to cook.
Q: What has been your funniest kitchen incident?
One of my chefs was walking from one end of the line to the other with a stack of our plates. We were all watching him when all of a sudden he was gone and we heard whoaaaaa and a few crashes. The other cook had left the oven door open and Danny never saw it. He was laying on the ground still holding the plates, looking at us in shock. After we saw he wasn’t hurt we died laughing...he saved the plates too!
Q: Where have you travelled to that has inspired your cooking?
A: Well I call my cuisine...”Cuisine of the Sun”, so therefore I have travelled all over the world and at some point something from a specific destination shows up on my menu. I intend to do that as long as I have restaurants.

Chef Vidyadhara Shetty


What would you recommend as a ‘first date’ dish?
A: Crab Cake and Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Q: What was your typical family dinner as a child?
My mom cooked the best Curry Goat and Fried Fish every Sunday - we used to wait for Sundays to come.
Q: What is the best way to stay on top of culinary trends?
Chefs are like doctors, they keep experimenting and trying different things. Of course, it is important to travel out of Cayman to different cities and dine in different restaurants for the experience and to gain knowledge.
Q: What has been your funniest kitchen incident?
Well there are so many....once during the Hyatt times on Christmas Brunch we ran out of Turkey and we had to fry almost 10 to 12 turkeys.