What's Cookin' Cayman - Cayman's Best Chefs 2018


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


Artemio Lopez
The Brasserie Chef de Cuisine

What locally grown produce do you use most in your cooking?
I adore chili - so definitely seasoning peppers. I also use plenty of mustard greens as they grow throughout the year.


If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
Twisted Soul.

What dish is unique to your country?
Mole.

What would you say is your favourite late-night snack?
Tacos, tacos and more tacos. Did I mention tacos?

Name some herbs that you must have in the kitchen?
Cilantro, thyme, oregano, lemongrass and kaffir lime.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten and who cooked it?
My grandmother’s tortillas.


What condiment can you not do without?

 Salt.


Name two foods you hate?
Seitan (as he scrunches up his face)!

What’s your favourite local fish and how do you like to prepare it?
Wahoo, sliced raw and seasoned with a dash of vinaigrette.

What three pieces of kitchen equipment can a top Chef not do without?
A sharp knife, a Vita-Prep and a smoker.

What is your advice to a novice cook?
Read and travel as much as you can.

What tips would you offer someone learning to cook?
Keep it simple.





Chef Bruno DeLuche
ex. Head Chef at Guy Harvey's Restaurant & Bar

Who or what inspires your cooking?
My grandmother. She lived on a farm in the countryside, and she would cook for the whole family with only a fireplace.

What locally grown produce do you like to use most in your cooking?
Tomatoes and green long beans.

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
Cooking of Yesterday!

What condiment can you not do without?
Butter or heavy cream

What culinary trend would you like to see next?
I would like to see a shift back towards simpler dining. I think about how people would sit around a table with a big plate of food in the middle, and everyone would help themselves and talk and laugh together. It was a more sociable experience, and in turn, very enjoyable.

What’s the best meal you have ever eaten and who cooked it?
Stuffed mussels with garlic, parsley and butter cooked by my grandmother.

What three pieces of kitchen equipment can a top Chef not do without?
A sharp knife, a cutting board and a timer.

Most overrated ingredient?

Truffles.

What’s your favourite local fish and how do you like it prepared?
Fresh tuna tartare, with lime, salt and pepper.

What tips would you offer someone learning to cook?
Love what you’re doing. If you do, cooking is not a job, it’s a hobby.

Favourite late-night snack?
A ham and cheese croissant with Béchamel sauce.

What was the first dish you learned to cook?
The French crêpe! As a child it was so fun to flip the crêpe, taking care to not drop it on the floor.

Two foods you dislike?
Anchovy and lamb.





Chef Will O'Hara
Head Chef at Abacus

What was the first dish you learned to cook?
Date and walnut cake in a local café in my home town when I was 15.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a Professional Chef?
16 years old.

What locally grown produce do you like to use most in your cooking?
The local Cayman tomatoes!

What three pieces of kitchen equipment can a top Chef not do without?
A knife, tongs, and a Kitchen Aid as I love pastry!

What famous dish is unique to your hometown or country?
Being from Brighton on the South Coast of England, it must be Fish and Chips.
   
Name a food you dislike?
Mushrooms, I like the flavour and love cooking with them, I just do not like the texture.

What’s your favourite late-night snack?
Pizza.

What tips would you offer someone learning to cook?
Make notes and ask as many questions as possible whilst working with experienced Chefs.

What is the most overrated ingredient?
Lobster.

If you had a cooking show what would you call it?
Well Seasoned.

What’s the best meal you have ever eaten and who cooked it?
I have been to many fantastic restaurants all over the world, I could not pick just one! I would say if you enjoyed the experience and the food and service was great, then you should always return.

What condiment can you not do without?
Salt.
 




Chef Prabu Natarajan
Head Chef at Pani

What was the first dish you learned to cook?
Bajji (potato fritters), which I learned to cook from my father.

What three pieces of kitchen equipment can a top Chef not do without?
A Chef’s knife, cooking range, a tasting spoon.

Who or what inspires your cooking?
My father inspired me. I used to help him with the cooking in his own shop when I was younger and he would pay me in pennies to “help”. I fell in love with cooking then. 

What tips would you offer someone learning to cook?
Cook what you like because a happy cook makes the food tasty.

What is the next big culinary trend?
For me, staying on track with sustainability is important.

What famous dish is unique to your hometown or country?
I’m from the southern part of India, where Idlis, Dosas, Masala tea, and of course the street foods are popular.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a professional Chef?
My mom had my life planned out for me and a part of that plan included going to college and getting a degree in Engineering. At a reasonably young age, I decided to become a chef because I realised that I loved cooking and couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life.

What is the most overrated ingredient?
Saffron.

What condiment can you not do without?
Salt.

More and more diners seem to have food allergies, how has this affected your cooking style?
We have to make the appropriate substitutions; I love to satisfy our diners so I do what I can to ensure the dish is still tasty!

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?

Nala Bhagam, which means ‘divine food’ in Tamil.

What’s your favourite late-night snack?
Kulfi and lassi.

What locally grown produce do you like to use most in your cooking?
Local coconut and curry leaves.

Name two foods you dislike?
Food is food, I never dislike food.

What’s your favourite local fish and how do you like it prepared?
Red snapper prepared in a curry with coconut and curry leaves.