What the baby-faced Brian Lumley lacks in age, he compensates for with a clear focus on leaving an indelible impression on palates. Little wonder he named his catering company Foodie Focused Limited, which was established three years ago. "It was a natural progression since I love food and have always valued great time with family and friends," he revealed. A Level Four graduate -- a certified chef de cuisine -- from the Runaway HEART Hotel and Training Institute, Lumley was prompted to become a caterer after being presented with the opportunity to cater for a client's 40th birthday party. "I haven't looked back since... it was at that moment that the catering bug bit," he shared.
Lumley, who is the in-residence chef at the French embassy, is keen about expanding the horizons of the local food scene and is the key figure behind mounting the buzzed-about annual Foodies Lyme. (Photo: Fern Elise Foster)
While he may not have always wanted to be a chef, Shea Stewart's involvement in the culinary arts is no passing fancy. "To be honest, cooking found me when I was out of school and didn't know what direction I wanted my life to go," shared the 24-year-old chef on the rise. Having attained Level One certification from the Runaway Bay HEART Training Hotel and Institute in 2006 (with plans to return to do follow-up courses), Stewart started his own catering company, Elite Kreations, four years ago, which has proven to be a relative success even in these austere times. Looking to the future, the ambitious young chef envisions reshaping his company into a multi-purpose business that not only handles catering but also offers event planning and sound services.
It's a mammoth task being second in line to overseeing buffet spreads, meals done to order, the turnover of tables and getting the best of your line staff at the Secrets Resorts and Spa Hotel in St James. But it's a challenge that executive sous-chef Kirk Myers at Secrets Resorts and Spa has embraced with gusto. Myers pursued supervisory management studies at the University of Technology and recently was certified as an executive chef with the Culinary Institute of America. Employed to Secrets since last August, he enjoys working alongside several other nationalities in the kitchen. Myers explained that "the cultural mix here is really good and helps you as an individual to be a better cook."
Sous-chef Veyona Martin has devoted 16 years of her life to the culinary profession. She began as a cook in 1995 at the then-Wyndham Hotel, saw the property change hands to the Hilton brand and back to the Wyndham. A University of Technology general catering graduate, Martin is as happy whipping up delectable meals as she is receiving compliments from satisfied diners. As a young girl, she recalls always having an affinity for food and its preparation. "Every time my Mom would cook, I would want to be involved ... she would leave recipes and I would cook them." No doubt, Mom is very proud of her Veyona -- the sole female Chef on the Rise of the Year nominee.
Twenty-three-year-old Theo Smith runs his own catering company - Great House Caterers - realising a dream he harboured from childhood when he viewed himself a budding food critic. "I thought the food industry incorporated the arts, science and business aspects of schooling," he offered as his reason for pursuing a culinary path. Graduating from the University of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management two Novembers ago, Smith, who is now his own boss, previously worked as a junior sous-chef at The Acropolis in-door restaurant The Arena, as well as at Disney's Main Street Bakery and Plaza restaurant in Florida.
The executive pastry chef at the Half Moon Hotel has travelled and worked in a number of countries before calling Jamaica home. Born in The Netherlands, Wouter Tjeertes knew he wanted to be a pastry chef at six years old while on a school excursion where he visited a bakery. In his 10 years of service to the food industry, Tjeertes has held a number of senior positions as company manager at the Metropolitan Deli in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, and was also the chef and demonstrator at The Real Chocolate Company in Amsterdam. His deep-rooted love affair with the Caribbean came about while serving as pastry chef at the Renaissance Curacao Resort and Casino in Willemstad, Curacao. As for his yearlong stint at Half Moon, Tjeertes said: "The people here welcomed me with open arms; I feel as though I never left home."