"Food allows me to express my inner creative self," declares Rohan Foley, head chef of From Thought to Finish. "The process of making food is soooo creative, you can't even imagine." His enthusiasm is obvious. As a second-tier player in the steadily expanding catering empire operated by sisters Jacqui and Janice Tyson, Foley oversees menus, manages food costs and time efficiency. It's a job he absolutely adores. How much exactly? "I love going to work in the mornings... I actually look forward to getting in," he confides. The passion in his voice is enough to convince of his zeal.
Foley's present professional status was long in the making, with its beginnings traced back to home economics classes at his alma mater, Oracabessa Secondary in St Mary. "I liked creating menus and coordinating the meals with colour schemes that match the plates," he reflects of his high school years learning about culinary fare.
Foley's first brush with the inner workings of the food biz came during his stint as a steward at the Taste Jamaica eatery, a now defunct restaurant operated by Jacqui Tyson and her ex-husband, European chef Andre Niederhauser, in the late 1990s. An eager on-the-job trainee, he eventually headed off to the Runaway Bay HEART Training Institute to study, attaining Level Four certification as an executive chef while still working for Tyson. More work experience came Foley's way with subsequent employment at Half Moon Hotel in St James and Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston. In 2005, he travelled to the United States where he worked for five years on two contracts: the first for three years as a sauté chef at the Bonita Bay Country Club in Bonita Springs, Florida, and then for two years as a sous-chef at Bob Montana's Italian restaurant in Massachusetts. He returned to Jamaica in September 2010 and sought a job with Tyson, who was quite pleased to have him back. It's a complete role reversal for the man who was once a steward, as he is now the one giving a guiding hand. "Some of the staff are not well experienced, so in addition to my regular duties, I do training as well," the steward-cum-head chef notes.