Chef Features - 2017

Cayman attracts chefs of international repute to its shores year after year. Here are profiles of some of the best resident chefs on the Island. Make sure you pay them a visit to sample their specialties!


Chef Carlos Contreras

Originally from Bogotá, Columbia, Carlos Contreras is a graduate of the Guild of Master Confectioners and Pastry School in Valencia, and the Sergio Arboleda University in Bogotá. He also holds a master’s degree in culinary management from the School of Hotel and Tourism in Valencia. He has worked for some ofthe world’s leading hospitality companies and is a member of the World Gourmet Society and the World Food Travel Association. He comes to the Howard Hospitality Grop (HHG) as Executive Chef where he will oversee HHG’s culinary team, catering and banquet services, and numerous dining outlets including the global steakhouse YARA, a signature HHG concept that will make its debut at the new Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman.

The Bistro

Chef Michael Leonhardt

Michael is driven and ambitious, strong-willed and creative. He doesn’t shy away from a challenge! For example, he actually enjoys the challenge of preparing meals for customers with food allergies. Originally from Denmark, he has accumulated an eclectic mixture of skills as well as a passion for different types of European cuisine. He worked in France without pay because he felt that the reward of learning how to cook, was worth more than a salary. Michael sees food as artistry and carefully considers the placement of everything on his plates. He also maintains a distinct respect for traditional comfort food..


Chef Gippy & Chef Jeson

Both Chef Gippy and Chef Jeson were born and raised in Jamaica and that is where their passion for cooking began. In both cases it was family who inspired them to cook. Chef Gippy’s father was a chef and he took the young 12 year old under his wing teaching him how to cook chicken curry and other traditional Jamaican dishes. It was the women in Chef Jeson’s family that inspired him to cook, and ever since starting work at Scotchies, a well-known jerk restaurant in Kingston, Jamaica, he has never looked back. Both are now chefs at Peppers and they love preparing traditional jerk chicken, pork and other local favourites each day for the busy and very popular restaurant that they now call home.


Chef Roman Kleinrath

Originally from Austria, Chef Roman Kleinrath started his culinary career in Vienna where he worked for three of the city’s finest restaurants: Hotel Im Palais Schwarzenberg which is owned by a Czech duke, Restaurant Korso, a Michelin star restaurant, and Restaurant Ambassador. He then spent a year in Western Australia working in the highly acclaimed Modo Mio Italian Restaurant where he learned to combine all his styles of cooking - Austrian, Asian, Caribbean, Peruvian and most of all Italian. He loves being a chef in the Cayman Islands, where he can go fishing on his day off, and then prepare the fish in the restaurant the next day knowing that the fish could not be fresher.