Chef Shetty - In words and recipes
Life on the islands, a restaurateur’s perspective as Head of the Culinary Society
Last year we were fortunate to work closely with the Cayman Islands, promoting the islands as an epicurean destination, as well as a pretty beautiful and convenient place to just chill out. It’s great to get away from it all and surrender yourself to your surroundings, particularly when they are as indulgent and satisfying as the Caymans can be.
When we do take vacations, and I know for many of us that is far too infrequently, it is easy to forget that the reason our vacations are so enjoyable is because there are professionals catering to us, concerned with our well being and determined to make sure that everything appears effortlessly. It’s part of the vacation tourism industry, as I found out first hand catering to vacationers for several years. As easy as it to vacation on a place like the Cayman Islands, working there is another story entirely, especially when it comes to the hospitality industry, and the restaurant side of things in particular.
The competition for our time is fierce, so you better believe that destinations such as the Caymans are constantly honing their game, finding out what we want before we want it, and making sure it’s available when we want it. Case in point: the Cayman Culinary Society. Led by Executive Chef Vidyadhara Shetty, the Culinary Society brings together the culinary community of the Caymans, allowing them to share ideas and inspirations, secrets and of course the keys to preserving their indigenous cuisine. Per the Society’s promotional materials:
His goal as President of The Culinary Society is to offer the top chefs in the Cayman Islands the opportunity to shine in their art and excite the world by creating “authentic contemporary Caribbean” dishes. ‘It is essential, in this fast-paced environment, to be surrounded by a professional and dedicated team’ says Shetty. ‘I am fortunate here on this beautiful island paradise to be surrounded by people who share a genuine love of the kitchen and food.’
Chef Shetty, as he is known, brings decades of experience to his role as President of the Culinary Society, having won the prestigious Cayman Islands “Chef of the Year” award in 1999 after polishing his craft in the restaurants of his hometown Mumbai, India, throughout the Middle East, as Chef with the Cruise Ships of the Caribbean and finally, since 1994, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman. I was recently able to interview Chef Shetty and dig a little deeper into his background and his life and work in the Cayman Islands.