Chef determined to bring Bahamian food to the forefront
Published: Jul 05, 2013
Name: Simeon Hall
Position: Managing chef, Twisted Lime
Gold medal winner with the national culinary team
1. Can you briefly describe your experience in the Tourism sector and what your role is today?
Well I'm the chef that is definitely not traveling with the grain of the norm. I am determined to bring Bahamian food to the forefront that it deserves. I believe that in The Bahamas, we are all ambassadors of our tourism product. From the teacher that schools the child of a foreigner here working in a hotel to the waiter at a restaurant in a small out island hotel to a clothing store owner that stops to give a lost tourist direction who turns and ask them for info on their favorite night club, we all are a part of our tourism product.
2. Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
I didn't, it chose me! I grew up around food and hospitality. I was born into the restaurant business. My grandmother had one of the first restaurants in the Carmichael Road area.
3. What has been your most memorable moment?
Watching young cooks I've mentored get promoted and most recently winning gold with Team Bahamas at the 2013 Taste of the Caribbean Competition in Miami, Florida. It was a good feeling bringing home the gold for the country especially during this 40th anniversary celebrations.
4. Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
Oh yes it has. We have lost a sense of place. We replaced local with recognizable. We have given our guest what we think they want rather than shown them who we are. We have taken what has been uniquely and authentically Bahamian and made it commercial and strange to a point.
5. What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
We should join the march on returning things to what is authentically ours. Every where in the world is giving people an experience of culture that even the locals fight for. To me, the best restaurants anywhere in the world are not those built and designed for guests but those that are overcrowded with indigenous people. Where the locals hang out. A sense of place. That's how we will be competitive.
6. What advice would you give to a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
I would tell them embrace your heritage. Don't be ashamed of who you are and your father and his father were. Enhance and make better food but know the foundation. Make things modern but understand tradition and heritage, and you will be even better at what you do!