Chef Features 2020

Candid Q&A's from some of Cayman's most talented chefs


Gilbert Cavallaro
Cracked Conch Head Chef

What is the best/trickiest thing about being a chef in Cayman?
My answer is the same for the best and the trickiest! The best part is there are a lot of restaurants in such a small place which forces us chefs to be at the top of our game and remain innovative. However, due to it being such a small place, competition is fierce.


What do you feel are the three most important qualities for anyone looking to get into the food industry, or become a chef?
Without a doubt: consistency, attention to detail and an unending love of food.

Why do you think Cayman is such a culinary hotspot?
I think it’s to do with the diversity of chefs. We have chefs from all over the world who all bring something different to the table whether it’s the style of cooking, where they trained, the different countries or restaurants they worked; it’s a huge melting pot of talented people creating fantastic food day after day.

What is your first, or favourite food memory?
I have fond memories of my mother baking delicious cakes. I also remember her spaghetti which she cooked every week for the whole family – it was delicious!

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
'Playing with Vegetables'.


What is your favourite cookbook?
Essential cuisine by Michel Bras – he’s a three star Michelin chef and it's a classic cookbook.

Tell us about a time you had a culinary fail, and how you managed through it?
There have been too many too remember! But with great teamwork, professionalism and a lot of hard work, we have always made it through every issue without the customer suspecting a thing!

What would you offer as the best cooking tip for a novice?
It would be to taste your food all the time. How can you know if a dish is good if you don’t taste it throughout the entire process?

What do you think is the next worthwhile food/dining trend?
Veganism. I find it's growing in popularity everywhere and it is very trendy in the media.

What's your culinary guilty pleasure?
Pizza!


Joel Olaguer
Edoardos Head Chef

What is your favourite dish to cook, and why?
Local seafood, because our patrons love the flavours and the freshness speaks for itself.

What is the best/trickiest thing about being a chef in Cayman?
Limited availability of local organic produce. No real seasons as such to bring different varieties of produce at different times of the year.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Alinea by Grant Achatz.

What do you feel are the three most important qualities for anyone looking to get into the food industry, or become a chef?
Love what you do, have passion for your artwork as food is a form of art. Know your ingredients and how to make the ingredients work for you.


What is your favourite kitchen gadget?
Robocook blender.

Why do you think Cayman is such a culinary hotspot?

We are a high-end tourist destination with visitors who are used to the best of everything, this makes us push ourselves to be at the forefront of the industry to continually impress.

What is your first, or favourite food memory?
When I was 14 in Japan, I had the most amazing seafood ever. It really opened my eyes to the world of food and high-quality ingredients.

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
'I love the grill!'

What's your culinary guilty pleasure?
Seabass.

Tell us about a time you had a culinary fail, and how you managed through it?
I had a function for 1,500 people and 3 plates were overcooked. I just made it happen and recooked the dishes within 3 minutes.



Jonathan Rivard
Steak Social Chef/Owner

What is your favourite dish to cook, and why?
A good old rib-eye.

What is the best/trickiest thing about being a chef in Cayman?
The best thing is the amount of foodies on the Island. People here really know their stuff so it pushes chefs to elevate the cuisine and operate at the top of their game.

What is your first, or favourite food memory?
Cooking with grandma and making barley soup and sugar pie with her.

Who is the biggest influence on your cooking?
Anthony Bourdain. After working alongside Bourdain at Cayman Cookout for three consecutive years, I realised he was actually just like the rest of us. He loved to cook and didn’t mess around with it too much! A true cook at heart!

What is your favourite kitchen gadget?
A sharp knife.

Is there a secret ingredient in your kitchen?
Salt.

What would you offer as the best cooking tip for a novice?
Learn the basics and master them.

Fill in the blank: If I weren't a chef, I would be...
There was never a plan B, I was always going to be a chef.

Tell us about a time you had a culinary faily, and how you managed through it?
It was more of a technical fail, but on our opening night our computer systems completely failed so we had no way to communicate orders to the kitchen and had to revert to hand written cheques. We managed through it thanks to some great teamwork!


What is your favourite cookbook?
'Chefs Don't Feel Pain' by Jonny Roberts.

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
'Raising the Steaks'.



Robby Molina
Spanglish Head Chef

What is your favourite dish to cook, and why?
A paella. I love this traditional dish; the flavours and the colours are amazing and I love how it brings people together in a social setting.

What is your first, or favourite food memory?
Eating my grandma’s fried fish back in Roatán. The fish was incredibly fresh – just caught that morning from the ocean. She would get the whole family together, brothers, sisters, aunties and cousins, for a weekly feast. The house would smell delicious and everyone would enjoy catching up – I loved it!

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
'Cooking with Robby'.

What would you offer as the best cooking tip for a novice?
The importance of good hygiene in the kitchen and to be aware of allergies.

What is your most popular dish at Spanglish?
Tequila shrimp. They are crunchy and delicious. I recommend pairing them with a margarita!

What is your favourite kitchen gadget?
The mixer.

Why do you think Cayman is such a culinary hotspot?
I think part of the reason is the fresh seafood. We have access to fresh fish coming off the boats every day, which many places across the US and Canada can only dream of. We also have some fantastic chefs. I am relatively new to Cayman and I’m already blown away by the local talent and the amazing food served in restaurants.

Fill in the blank: If i weren't a chef, I would be...
A footballer!