Tourism: A way to express myself
Published: Jul 19, 2013
Name: Chef Ancilleno C. Solomon
Position: Certified chef and ice artist/executive sous chef, Luciano’s of Chicago
What is your role today in the tourism industry?
As a chef in the tourism industry my role is to blow the minds of our guests with the unique and interesting taste of my food because I am an ambassador for my country’s rich heritage of good cuisine. It is said that people eat with their eyes first and foremost. One of my most important roles in the industry is to ensure that when I present a dish to a guest at Luciano’s of Chicago it speaks highly of me as the chef and an artist.
Why did you choose to work in tourism as a career?
I chose this field simply because it is my passion and the gift in which God has blessed me with. I have been told by a guest that I am one of the most talented young people that they have ever met. Tourism gives me the opportunity to express my talents in ways other fields would not. When I was in high school, I was told by my mother that I would become a teacher. However after sautéing my very first onion in Home Economics class, that is when I knew that I wanted to become a chef. Since then, I have been cooking. I am a chef of many talents: ice carving, pastry, Bahamian cuisine, Italian cuisine and Japanese cuisine.
What has been your most memorable moment?
The most memorable moment would be being a member of the 2013 Taste of the Caribbean Gold medal team of The Bahamas. Being a member of the team, my role was then heightened by the experience and exposure. It was important to display our culture and cuisine and to encourage visitors to visit our beautiful shores. I am also proud of the moment I graduated from the Academy of Ice Carving & Design on March 17, 2013 and become the only certified Bahamian ice artist; this memory I will never forget.
Has the industry changed since you started your career? How?
Honestly I have not been in the industry very long, but I can remember the very first time I worked along with the Ministry of Tourism in Grand Bahama on a summer internship program. The industry at that time was booming in every aspect. The Bahamian people were friendly and the guests appreciated that. After the economic downturn, when people were being laid off, I noticed that the Bahamian people have lost their drive for service. But we have to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and if we stay true to who we are and the goals we have for our lives personally and professionally, better days will come – because we are a nation blessed by God. If you travel to other tourist destinations we can see that our industry is more advanced and better than most. Our motto says it all: “It’s better in The Bahamas.”
What should The Bahamas focus on to stay competitive?
I believe that we have to focus more on training and prepare our people for changes that will come in the industry – times are changing and we must learn to embrace change if we are to remain competitive and viable. If you invest in people you are investing in the future of the industry and the future of our country.
What advice would you give a young person who is considering a career in tourism?
My advice to them would be to go for it. Stay focused and don’t mind the noise in the market. Be true to yourself; know what it is that you want out of your career in the industry, and keep it always in sight. Don’t forget your Bahamian spirit, and you will be successful and welcome in the tourism industry.