Head Chef Cardine is the creative force behind our new menu at Dodgy Dock which was launched on September 1st 2016. Cardine, a born Grenadian, grew up in the countryside of Grenada and became passionate about food and cooking by spending time in the kitchen with her mother who prepared meals for the family. Cardine also enjoyed watching cooking show classics like Julia Child and modern favourites like Food Network’s Chopped As a child she often pictured herself having her very own cooking show one day. In April, 2016 at only 22 she became Head Chef at our restaurant and since then has been very busy adding exciting new dished to the Dodgy Dock meal line up. She was influenced by Caribbean and Mexican cooking traditions and added a little (and in some cases a lot) Grenadian Chocolate (If you did not know…there is a little chocolate in everything at True Blue Bay Resort)
We caught up with her and here is what she shared:
How long have you worked at True Blue?
I have been working at True Blue since 2011
What did you do at the Resort before you were promoted to head chef?
I was the junior supervisor in our kitchen.
Did you always want to be a chef?
Yes, I always dreamed of becoming a chef. Growing up I watched my mom cook up delicious dishes. I always imagined myself cooking on my own TV show. I grew up watching a lot of Julia Child, Lidia Bastianich (Italian chef), Chopped, Master of desserts and other cooking shows.
Your kitchen just launched a new menu that includes something for everyone, tell us a bit about the process
Restaurant Consultant Nehanda Campbell and I tried to incorporate something for everyone. We were aware that most people nowadays are very health conscious. I decided to include gluten free and vegetarian options, while also having some snacky items, full meals items and something for pork lovers. In keeping with our Mexican theme we also have some Mexican dishes. I analysed the usual customers we receive. For example, the students from St. George’s University and many of our other guest come to the restaurant and request something gluten free or vegetarian so this was taken into consideration
How did you come up with the new dishes, was there any creative direction by anyone else?
First we analysed our previous sales of the menu items. We eliminated what doesn’t sell and kept our most popular dishes. We then added new items to the list that are creative and keeping with our the Mexican theme. Our intention was to use mostly local produce, there was a lot of research done, a lot of sleepless nights trying to come up with creative ideas while trying to ensure that people would love it. I did receive help from Nehanda Campbell (previous executive chef at Le Phare Bleu and now private consultant) and the hotel owner/marketing director of the resort Magdalena Fielden who has a love for food . The management team was also enlisted to critique the new dishes during the process of finalising which items would make the cut.
There are quite a few new vegetarian and gluten free options, was that intentional and why?
Yes it was intentional. Many of our restaurant guests usually request food that is either gluten free or vegetarian or both. Most people today are more conscious about their health, so I took that into consideration during the process of creating the new menu.
Was it fun coming up with new recipes?
Yes it was exciting knowing that I could create new ideas & recipes. While researching I would discover unbelievable food items that were so creative & interesting and this inspired me to create my own.
Were there any new dishes that did not make the final cut?
No(Can’t remember). With some of the dishes the condiments that went with them tasted better with others so I just made some adjustments here and there.
How many times did you have to tweak a recipe until you were satisfied?
Twice, well, actually, when I had the first tasting there were a few things I didn’t like and also our management team had suggestions to change a few things about the taste of some of the items. I took their critique into consideration and tried it out until I was satisfied with the final product.
There must have been a lot of tasting!
Yes Indeed!! We had 3 tasting with the management team and 3 with the food and beverage team and I had to taste the items a few times first when I experimented myself and the 6 times with our team.
What is your favorite part of working with local ingredients?
Its, just having fun with our local produce and creating new ideas with them. For example taking something like plantain we locals consider as an everyday meal and making plantain lasagna which is very health its gluten free & vegetarian. Many of these ingredients are available all year round so there’s no trouble with me often hearing from the purchasing department that items are not in stock or unavailable.
Any favorites on the new menu (saying all is not an option)?
My favorite item on the menu would be the Mexican street corn & and the chocolate pork ribs. I have always loved boiled corn and adding the Mexican touch to it makes it extra delicious. With the chocolate pork most people are like “hmm” chocolate and pork “no way” but it is finger licking delicious. It’s not sweet it is a savory dish made with our very own 100% Grenadian chocolate.
What is your favorite thing to do in Grenada?
I love to spend time with my friends and family taking them to different restaurants to critique the food and also love going to the beach.
Favorite local dish and why:
Provision (especially plantain) and salt fish souse, growing up in the country as a child I ate a lot of this dish and I love it up till today even though I don’t get time to cook it.
Who was the first to teach you how to cook?
My mom. I always used to be in the kitchen with my mom wanting to learn. My mom always said you have to be able to cook and clean in order to keep a husband (LOL). I also gained some cooking experience from school, working at The Crane in Barbados and here at True Blue Bay Resort (from Chef Gary).
Favorite thing about preparing food and why
It’s about incorporating different flavors & presentation. Making the food into something exciting to look at and interesting to eat. Food must always taste good and look good. The way the food is presented on a plate is what tempts customer’s eyes and makes them want to taste.
What style of food do you love to eat?
I love Italian food one day I’ll have my own Italian restaurant.
Favorite comfort food
Local nutmeg flavoured Ice cream from Sugar and Spice