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Cayman Parent | Articles | Expert Advice | Q & A | Healthy inspiration from Cayman’s Foodies

Q & A | Healthy inspiration from Cayman’s Foodies

Federico Destro

Federico Destro worked in his native Italy before coming to Cayman in 1999, starting out as a line cook. In 2017 he and his business partner opened Bàcaro.

What first inspired you to work with food and nutrition?
My mother’s great cooking skills and my late uncle being a professional chef ignited my desire to cook and the passion came right after.

Which 3 famous chefs would you invite for dinner and why?
Heston Blumenthal because he’s a self-taught chef and his restaurant (The Fat Duck, England) is amongst the top in the world, Grant Achatz (Alinea, Chicago) because of his creativity and innovative approach to food, Masimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Italy) because I consider him a humble genius.

In your opinion which is the most important meal of the day and why?
Most reliable nutritionists will say that breakfast is the most important but personally I don’t have a great appetite in the morning. What I really enjoy is a long lazy lunch which can last 2-3 hours.

What have been the biggest changes in food/restaurant industry trends over the past few years?
I think we have opened our minds towards different cuisines and culinary cultures which is a positive, but at the same time due to our frantic lifestyle we have lost a bit of patience and go through our meals in a bit of a rush.

What is your greatest challenge with creating menus or working with clients in Cayman?
The availability of products, either locally sourced or imported, but sometimes the challenge can prompt you to step up your game as a professional chef.


Simone Sheehan

Simone Sheehan studied and trained in Dublin and the UK and is a Dietician and Nutritionist at
the Health Services Authority..

What first inspired you to work with food and nutrition?
My youngest sister was sick a lot as an infant with gastro intestinal issues and poor weight gain. The paediatric dietitian my mum worked with helped my sister improve and I thought that would be an interesting career to pursue.

Who is your inspiration when it comes to food and healthy eating?
My family and keeping them healthy plus the opportunity to include local food and ingredients in my favourite recipes. By opting to include local ingredients in dishes the nutritional content and health benefit is often improved.

Which Cayman-grown ingredients should people cook with more often?
People should cook more with moringa. This nutritious plant grows all over Cayman and some consider it a superfood. It is very versatile, the leaves can be used to make tea, it can be a side dish with other steamed vegetables or as an alternative to green leafy vegetables such as spinach. It can also be added to smoothies to add flavour and nutrients. The seeds of the tree can be eaten and are a good source of plant based protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Moringa is also believed to have anti-inflammatory benefits.

What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
My favourite cuisine to cook is Italian as many recipes are easy to follow and mostly tasty! One of my other favourite cuisines is Indian food, the dishes have layers of flavour and many Indian dishes lend themselves easily to vegetarian alternatives by replacing meat with lentils or chickpeas and continue to taste really good.

What is your greatest challenge with creating meal plans?
One of the biggest challenges is ensuring healthy selections if there are budget constraints. Ways to stretch the dollars are often a part of the discussion when developing meal plans with clients.


Thomas Seifried

Thomas Seifried is Austrian and became Chef de Cuisine at Blue by Eric Ripert in 2013. In 2015 he was the youngest recipient of Austria’s “Golden Cloche Award”.

What first inspired you to work with food and/or nutrition?
My parents owned a restaurant and I used to spend most of my day there. I was always fascinated by the emotions and feelings you can bring out in people through food and the memories you can create.

Which 3 famous chefs would you invite for dinner and why?
Alain Ducasse, Guy Savoy and Eric Ripert. That would be nine Michelin Stars sitting at one table and for me some of the greatest ever in chef whites.

Which Cayman grown ingredients do you enjoy cooking with?
Mangoes, seasoning peppers, coconuts, ackee and of course the seafood from our beautiful waters.

Who is your healthy eating inspiration?
I am fortunate that I have a great team in my kitchen so major challenges are rare. We have many people from different backgrounds and it is fascinating to see the creative process and very different approach from each individual, even if all of them have to work with the three same ingredients.

What have been the biggest changes in restaurant industry trends over the past few years?
Sustainable food has been one of the biggest trends, and rightly so. Clients want to know where the food comes from and how it was grown. Nordic cuisine became very important and made a lot of people look around what they can find locally resulting in using ingredients that are in season and not buying the same thing all year around. Food wastage has become a big topic and thankfully there are a lot of great initiatives popping up in the restaurant industry to help combat this issue.


Tanya Foster

Tanya Foster trained at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. She is a Manager at Foster’s and the Deli and Bakery Senior.

Who or what first inspired you to work with food?
My grandmother. She loved entertaining and cooking and that came through in her food. You could tell whatever she served was made with love.

What is your favourite dish that you prepare at Foster’s
Our Chicken Biryani. It’s an Indian staple full of aroma and flavour and I just love the way our team prepares it. Our gourmet counter at Bay Market Café is also full of fresh, light meals that are always packed full of flavour and creativity.

Which 3 famous chefs would you invite for dinner and why?
I’d only invite one – Ina Garten. She’s such a fun lady! We’d have a couple of cocktails, cook delicious, fresh comfort food and have a great time!

In your opinion which is the most important meal of the day and why?
The most exciting meal is dinner. You get to really express your creativity with planning and entertaining family and friends. Dinner, in my opinion, gives you the most freedom to explore flavours and ingredients. The most important meal of the day, however, is breakfast. It gets you going and kick starts your day.

Which Cayman grown ingredients do you enjoy cooking with?
I always love cooking with pumpkin, callaloo, and (when I can get my hands on a jar) Cayman honey.

What is your greatest challenge with creating menus or working with clients in Cayman?
For me, the challenge is understanding who I’m feeding, and how I can wow them. I want to cater to their likes and show them that it’s ok to step outside of their flavour comfort zone. There are so many beautiful flavours, textures, and ingredients in food and it’s so rewarding when I get to share them with people.


Want to introduce healthy eating into your daily routine? Click here for some weekday meal planning!

 
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