Food

Chefs to watch for 2017 - Jewel Resorts and Hilton Rose Hall

Counting Down To The 19th Staging Of The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards Thursday, May 25 2017

Thursday, March 09, 2017    

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Thursday Food highlights five more chefs who are charged with introducing visitors and locals to the best culinary offerings in Jamaica.

This week’s featured chefs are from Jewel Resorts and Hilton Rose Hall respectively.


Donald Harrison

Sous-chef at Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa

Chef Donald Harrison’s appreciation for food was developed at a young age. During his formative years, he had visions of going in a different direction, having majored in carpentry at high school before going on to work at a garage. However, his love for cooking did not wane and it was not long before he decided to attend the Runaway Bay HEART Academy.

He pursued his career with fervour then started working at the FDR Hotel (Franklin D Resort Hotel) where his passion developed for different cuisines. This led him to specialise in Italian cuisine and he later became the lead chef for the hotel’s Italian restaurant. His search for more knowledge led him to Grand Lido Braco in Falmouth, Trelawny and to international opportunities where he had stints on the Royal Caribbean cruise lines and other overseas programmes. His love for Jamaica led him back home to the Half Moon Hotel where his talent was recognied. He honed his considerable skills and became a garde manger under the tutelage of Executive Chef Stephen Sowa. Chef Harrison has made thr foray into small business management where he specialises in catering.

Harrison’s years of experience have allowed him to grow from range one cook to management positions in the kitchen. Now he shares his skills and love for food at Jewel Paradise Beach Resort & Spa where he is currently a sous-chef.

His ultimate dream is to lecture at the tertiary level where he will be able to impart his wealth of knowledge to young chefs who share his passion for the culinary arts.

Chef Lennox Smart

Sous-Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa

Chef Lennox Smart was inspired by his grandmother during his childhood years when he would help her to prepare dinner on Sunday afternoons in Kingston, Jamaica.

Smart has carried that interest and passion throughout a career spanning more than 20 years, taking him from Jamaica to Canada and back. He prides himself on providing his customers with a culinary experience they will never forget.

Chef Smart’s culinary journey surprisingly began when he was an infantry soldier in the Jamaica Defence Force, where he was introduced to cooking on a large scale and loved it! After leaving the JDF, he attended the University of Technology (UTech), graduating in Hospitality & Tourism, with a major in Culinary Arts.

His next stop was Inflight Cooking at Versair, Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston followed by a stint at Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston, where he worked as a dietician assistant/chef.

Smart’s culinary career took off when he migrated to Canada to work at the prestigious Harvest Golf Club, British Columbia and enrolled at Okanagan University College and gained the North American Red Seal in Culinary Arts. He also worked at the Halcyon Hot Springs Hotel, also in BC where he garnered more experience in all areas of the kitchen.

While at the Harvest Golf Club, Chef Smart was promoted to sous-chef, overseeing the Harvest Golf Club Restaurant, Lounge and Grill with full responsibility for the banqueting kitchen which catered for dinners, weddings and golf tournaments with up to 500 guests.

In 2014, Smart had a yearning to return to his homeland to be with his family and to contribute to the development of the culinary arts in the ever-expanding tourism industry. He joined Sunset Beach Resorts and Spa in Montego Bay as a sous-chef before moving to his present position at Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.

Lennox is very ambitious and is on his way to becoming an executive chef.

Philbert Simms

Sous-Chef at Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa

Philbert Simms hails from the beautiful and now more well-known parish of Trelawny courtesy of Usain Bolt. His culinary journey started at the Runaway Bay HEART Academy in January 1994.

After leaving that institution, which he thanks for his culinary start, Simms worked at Jamaica-Jamaica for nine-and-a-half years up to a supervisory level. Simms then joined the Royal Decameron team as a sous-chef for four years and within that period, through dedication and hard work, was promoted to executive chef.

With his passion for cooking and exploring new avenues to showcase his talent, he then joined The Grand Bahia Principe as sous-chef, the first Jamaican to be employed in that capacity.

Simms worked as a sous-chef with Costa Crociere Cruise Line (Costa’s cruise line out of Italy), assistant chef at Disney Cruise Line and executive chef at FDR Hotel.

His journey has now taken him to the Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort and Spa, where he serves as sous-chef of part of a growing resort group. Already Simms’s menus have gained the reputation of satisfying the most discerning palates through their appeal, innovation and attention to detail.

With his wide knowledge of international cuisine including Italian, American, Asian and European, Philbert plans to motivate any young individual in the kitchen who wants to learn, while contributing effectively and efficiently to the growth and development of the organisation. He believes in giving back and now finds a great opportunity to do just that!

 

Chef Rian Gray

Pastry Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa

Chef Gray is the beloved pastry chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa and has had an interest in the industry since he was a schoolboy. His ambition was always to become a chef.

At 16, Gray enrolled in the Runaway Bay HEART Academy to study culinary arts. While completing the two-year training course, Gray was sent on internship as a trainee to Sandals Montego Bay. From the very first day he was put in the pastry department, he excelled and was so good that they kept him there for the entire two years!

Shortly after graduating, Gray was transferred along with another chef to start the Pastry Shop at Sandals Inn in Montego Bay and was also promoted to pastry chef!

In pursuit of growth and self-development, he joined Dak International, a distribution company importing specialist pastry products to Jamaica, where he made desserts and cakes which were sold to local restaurants and hotels in Jamaica. He garnered further baking experience as head baker at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Hotel, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Celebrity Cruises in the Caribbean as pastry chef. Chef Gray has also worked as head pastry chef at Wyndham Rose Hall, Breezes Runaway Bay and Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, and at Disney Cruise Line as pastry chef for five years. It was during those years that Gray learned to cater for large numbers and produce the most amazing desserts that satisfied the most discerning palates.

In 2016, Chef Gray returned to Jamaica to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa where he is currently lending his considerable skills and experience by showcasing chocolate and sugar sculpting, wedding cakes and plated desserts. Chef Gray has won numerous medals and trophies in Jamaican culinary competitions over the years.

 

Jodian Blake

Sous-Chef at Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club

Jodian Blake was born in the beautiful parish of Portland, and has been cooking since the age of five, often watching her mom in the kitchen. Jodian channelled her energy into what she had learned from an early age. With her passion for cooking, she attended the Runaway Bay HEART Academy and graduated in 2001. From there she entered the hotel industry and worked in various areas in the kitchen such as breakfast preparation and à la carte. She joined Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club in 2012 as a pantry cook where she was responsible for all cold production for the Moonstone Italian Restaurant.

After three years of hard work and dedication she was promoted to pantry supervisor. Her dedication to her increased role also saw her being given the responsibility for all weddings and catered events for the hotel which is renowned for its smooth execution of signature programmes. Blake did not stop there; soon after she was promoted to sous-chef, undertaking all the challenges and opportunities that come with that role. She is working her way to being a recognised culinarian in the future. Her team thinks she is on her way and with all the effort and dedication to her tasks, Jodian is primed for even greater success.

 

Donald Harrison

Sous-chef at Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa

Chef Donald Harrison’s appreciation for food was developed at a young age. During his formative years, he had visions of going in a different direction, having majored in carpentry at high school before going on to work at a garage. However, his love for cooking did not wane and it was not long before he decided to attend the Runaway Bay HEART Academy.

He pursued his career with fervour then started working at the FDR Hotel (Franklin D Resort Hotel) where his passion developed for different cuisines. This led him to specialise in Italian cuisine and he later became the lead chef for the hotel’s Italian restaurant. His search for more knowledge led him to Grand Lido Braco in Falmouth, Trelawny and to international opportunities where he had stints on the Royal Caribbean cruise lines and other overseas programmes. His love for Jamaica led him back home to the Half Moon Hotel where his talent was recognied. He honed his considerable skills and became a garde manger under the tutelage of Executive Chef Stephen Sowa. Chef Harrison has made thr foray into small business management where he specialises in catering.

Harrison’s years of experience have allowed him to grow from range one cook to management positions in the kitchen. Now he shares his skills and love for food at Jewel Paradise Beach Resort & Spa where he is currently a sous-chef.

His ultimate dream is to lecture at the tertiary level where he will be able to impart his wealth of knowledge to young chefs who share his passion for the culinary arts.

 

Chef Lennox Smart

Sous-Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa

Chef Lennox Smart was inspired by his grandmother during his childhood years when he would help her to prepare dinner on Sunday afternoons in Kingston, Jamaica.

Smart has carried that interest and passion throughout a career spanning more than 20 years, taking him from Jamaica to Canada and back. He prides himself on providing his customers with a culinary experience they will never forget.

Chef Smart’s culinary journey surprisingly began when he was an infantry soldier in the Jamaica Defence Force, where he was introduced to cooking on a large scale and loved it! After leaving the JDF, he attended the University of Technology (UTech), graduating in Hospitality & Tourism, with a major in Culinary Arts.

His next stop was Inflight Cooking at Versair, Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston followed by a stint at Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston, where he worked as a dietician assistant/chef.

Smart’s culinary career took off when he migrated to Canada to work at the prestigious Harvest Golf Club, British Columbia and enrolled at Okanagan University College and gained the North American Red Seal in Culinary Arts. He also worked at the Halcyon Hot Springs Hotel, also in BC where he garnered more experience in all areas of the kitchen.

While at the Harvest Golf Club, Chef Smart was promoted to sous-chef, overseeing the Harvest Golf Club Restaurant, Lounge and Grill with full responsibility for the banqueting kitchen which catered for dinners, weddings and golf tournaments with up to 500 guests.

In 2014, Smart had a yearning to return to his homeland to be with his family and to contribute to the development of the culinary arts in the ever-expanding tourism industry. He joined Sunset Beach Resorts and Spa in Montego Bay as a sous-chef before moving to his present position at Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa.

Lennox is very ambitious and is on his way to becoming an executive chef.

 

Philbert Simms

Sous-Chef at Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa

Philbert Simms hails from the beautiful and now more well-known parish of Trelawny courtesy of Usain Bolt. His culinary journey started at the Runaway Bay HEART Academy in January 1994.

After leaving that institution, which he thanks for his culinary start, Simms worked at Jamaica-Jamaica for nine-and-a-half years up to a supervisory level. Simms then joined the Royal Decameron team as a sous-chef for four years and within that period, through dedication and hard work, was promoted to executive chef.

With his passion for cooking and exploring new avenues to showcase his talent, he then joined The Grand Bahia Principe as sous-chef, the first Jamaican to be employed in that capacity.

Simms worked as a sous-chef with Costa Crociere Cruise Line (Costa’s cruise line out of Italy), assistant chef at Disney Cruise Line and executive chef at FDR Hotel.

His journey has now taken him to the Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort and Spa, where he serves as sous-chef of part of a growing resort group. Already Simms’s menus have gained the reputation of satisfying the most discerning palates through their appeal, innovation and attention to detail.

With his wide knowledge of international cuisine including Italian, American, Asian and European, Philbert plans to motivate any young individual in the kitchen who wants to learn, while contributing effectively and efficiently to the growth and development of the organisation. He believes in giving back and now finds a great opportunity to do just that!

Chef Rian Gray

Pastry Chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa

Chef Gray is the beloved pastry chef at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa and has had an interest in the industry since he was a schoolboy. His ambition was always to become a chef.

At 16, Gray enrolled in the Runaway Bay HEART Academy to study culinary arts. While completing the two-year training course, Gray was sent on internship as a trainee to Sandals Montego Bay. From the very first day he was put in the pastry department, he excelled and was so good that they kept him there for the entire two years!

Shortly after graduating, Gray was transferred along with another chef to start the Pastry Shop at Sandals Inn in Montego Bay and was also promoted to pastry chef!

In pursuit of growth and self-development, he joined Dak International, a distribution company importing specialist pastry products to Jamaica, where he made desserts and cakes which were sold to local restaurants and hotels in Jamaica. He garnered further baking experience as head baker at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Hotel, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and Celebrity Cruises in the Caribbean as pastry chef. Chef Gray has also worked as head pastry chef at Wyndham Rose Hall, Breezes Runaway Bay and Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, and at Disney Cruise Line as pastry chef for five years. It was during those years that Gray learned to cater for large numbers and produce the most amazing desserts that satisfied the most discerning palates.

In 2016, Chef Gray returned to Jamaica to the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa where he is currently lending his considerable skills and experience by showcasing chocolate and sugar sculpting, wedding cakes and plated desserts. Chef Gray has won numerous medals and trophies in Jamaican culinary competitions over the years.

Jodian Blake

Sous-Chef at Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club

Jodian Blake was born in the beautiful parish of Portland, and has been cooking since the age of five, often watching her mom in the kitchen. Jodian channelled her energy into what she had learned from an early age. With her passion for cooking, she attended the Runaway Bay HEART Academy and graduated in 2001. From there she entered the hotel industry and worked in various areas in the kitchen such as breakfast preparation and à la carte. She joined Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Club in 2012 as a pantry cook where she was responsible for all cold production for the Moonstone Italian Restaurant.

After three years of hard work and dedication she was promoted to pantry supervisor. Her dedication to her increased role also saw her being given the responsibility for all weddings and catered events for the hotel which is renowned for its smooth execution of signature programmes. Blake did not stop there; soon after she was promoted to sous-chef, undertaking all the challenges and opportunities that come with that role. She is working her way to being a recognised culinarian in the future. Her team thinks she is on her way and with all the effort and dedication to her tasks, Jodian is primed for even greater success.

 

 

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