And The Chef of the Year Nominees 2012 Are...
Executive Chef, Half Moon
Chef Sowa has been in the culinary profession for over 37 years, with years of experience in England, Guernsey, The Bahamas, Barbados, Mauritius, Ghana, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Jamaica. A Jamaican resident for over 16 years, Sowa has been involved in culinary associations, competitions and training for most of those years and has travelled extensively throughout the Far East, and counts the cuisine of that region amongst his favourites. A garde manger by profession and highly skilled at carving ice, tallow and fruit and vegetables, Sowa has won numerous medals and trophies from culinary competitions in England, The Bahamas, Mauritius, the United States, and Jamaica. The multiple-award winner is a past team member of the Jamaica National Culinary Team and has been team manager for the past three years. He is currently the Executive Chef at the exclusive Half Moon, Montego Bay.
Executive Chef, Cardiff Hotel and Spa
The earliest sign of culinary greatness from Chef Dennis McIntosh was when he won a pie-making contest while at primary school. The eldest of nine children, his skills were honed as he helped his mother with cooking and baking for the large household. After completing high school in the UK, McIntosh enrolled at the Henley College of Further Education to study culinary arts. This programme afforded him the opportunity to spend his final year in Germany, where he developed yet another passion: travelling. After working in London at several fine-dining establishments including Chelsa Hotel and Quaglinós, McIntosh moved to Bermuda to work for eight years and returned to Jamaica in 1990. Since then, guests at SuperClubs, Ciboney, The Ritz-Carlton, Secrets, and the Cardiff Hotel and Spa have enjoyed his culinary expertise. McIntosh is currently executive chef of Cardiff Hotel and Spa and president of the Culinary Federation of Jamaica.
Corporate Executive Chef, Couples Resorts
Born in Germany in 1970, chef Stefan grew up in a food-loving family. After two successful apprenticeships as both a chef and pastry chef, he left Germany at the age of 20 to gain international experience. Spath spent time working under some of the most talented and diverse chefs in prestigious hotels in London, New Zealand and Kenya and finally arrived in Jamaica in 1999. He has worked with Couples Resorts for the past 13 years. As their Corporate Executive Chef, Spath is the vision and creative mind behind all culinary operations at the four Couples Resorts. He continues to reinvent his food based on seasonal and local availability, fresh produce and current food trends. Spath is inspired by his worldwide food travels and he successfully fuses these experiences with local Jamaican ingredients and expertise. He enjoys working with local talent, and many of whom now hold senior positions at the various Couples Resorts and other hotels in Jamaica and overseas.
Executive Chef, Round Hill Hotel & Villas
Chef Martin Maginley is currently the executive chef at Round Hill Hotel & Villas. Before joining the team at Round Hill, Chef Martin was the executive chef at SuperClubs, Grand Lido Negril Resort & Spa, where he enriched the culinary dining experience. There he was responsible for seven restaurants and oversaw a staff of 90. Prior to his executive chef position, he served as executive sous-chef and sous-chef at the Grand Lido and sous-chef at Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, Canada. Maginley graduated from George Brown College in Toronto, where he also completed his apprenticeship. He has appeared on national television, performing live demonstrations on such programmes as The Today Show, Fox 5 Morning Show, NBC Chicago, and Montreal Global TV. The executive chef has been profiled in national publications such as Food & Wine magazine and Caribbean Travel & Life and has won 42 gold, 27 silver and 19 bronze awards from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. Maginley has been invited to cook at The James Beard House and also helped create the highly successful "Epicurean Escape" in association with Food & Wine magazine.
Executive Chef, The Spanish Court Hotel
"The road to success is always under construction," is the life-guiding mantra for Anthony Matthews, executive chef of The Spanish Court Hotel. His passion for food began during his frequent trips to the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he was exposed to a variety of dishes. These experiences planted the seeds of his career that began to flourish when he moved to the United Kingdom to finish school. Working with master chefs like Remy Joly and establishments such as Mya Lacarte. Returning to Jamaica, he worked at Secrets Resorts & Spa in Montego Bay where he helped organise and establish their kitchens before moving to The Spanish Court Hotel, where he acts as food and beverage director.
Executive Chef, Sandals Royal Plantation
At Peter Hamil's first hotel job at the Renaissance Jamaica Grande, then General Manager Peter Fraser recognised his talent and immediately took him under his wing. Undoubtedly the mentoring paid off as Hamil was promoted shortly thereafter from cook to chef de partie. Fraser's mentoring drove Chef Hamil to pursue his Associate Degree with Hocking Technical College in Ohio, where he was recognised for Special Achievement with the Caribbean Scholars Association Award for Outstanding Performance. Hamil went on to spread his wings in the Caribbean, working in Antigua, St Kitts, Aruba, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks & Caicos Islands. His first job as an executive chef was in Antigua at the Grand Pineapple Resort. Hamil's work has earned numerous culinary awards at the US Meat Export Federation Culinary Competition and the Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition. After spending many years as executive chef at major resorts such as the Occidental Hotels and Resorts, Elite Island Resorts and Allegro Resorts Corporation, Hamil has taken his 17-odd years of experience and his passion 'home'. Full circle, he is back with his mentor — the quintessential Peter Fraser at Sandals Royal Plantation, wowing all with his culinary skills.