Barbados Today

Chef Spotlight – Damian Reid Puts His Art In Local Cuisine

For Barbadian Chef, Damian Reid art is his nature. When he isn’t in his lab (kitchen) coming up with delectable dishes to delight the palette, you might find this Renaissance Chef writing poetry, doing spoken word, drumming or creating a masterpiece on canvas with a paintbrush. This culinary genius’s creative expressions and his love for all forms of art can be tasted in each scrumptious bite of any meal he prepares.  It can be seen in it too, just take a look at his Instagram page and you will find dishes that look like works of art. With signature dishes like smoking roast corn soup, cassava and plantain dumplings with crispy red herring and coconut bay leaf crème brulee, his kitchen creations are also beautifully Bajan.

Damian’s passion for making food that looks and tastes beautiful was ignited when a Chef came to career day while he was in secondary school. “I can’t remember exactly what the dish was, but it was so beautiful and tasted so good, I thought to myself yes I feel this is exactly what I want to do.”  And that’s just what he did after attaining an associate degree in culinary arts from Pomarine. Damian started his professional career at the Hilton Hotel and he didn’t stop there.  Opportunities presented that allowed him to work at the J.W. Marriott Canada, CinCin By The Sea restaurant, and as a member of a team of private chefs from Caribbean Villa Chefs.  It was while working as a private chef that his interest in fine dining and Caribbean cuisine was peaked.  “I worked with a lot of high-end clients who would always ask what’s local that you think we would love…so I started refining and putting a fine dining twist on local dishes.”  At the invitation of a fellow Barbadian chef he went to London and did a stint at a restaurant and was blown away by the level of creativity and food interpretation of Caribbean food. Damien returned to Barbados and within three years he opened his own business Baobab Kitchen, “the journey has been interesting, there have been lots of challenges along the way but it was those very challenges that were part of what motivated me to take the leap of faith and do this.”

Baobab Kitchen provides catering as well as private chef services that delivers sophisticated Caribbean cuisine. Damian gets excited about and inspired by all things local, especially fresh quality produce.  His gifting is in transforming simple local ingredients, into deliciously mouthwatering memories.  How does carambola glazed lobster sound? Ever had a bajan cherry liquer with a pickled bajan cherry for a palette cleanser?  Baobab Kitchen is Chef Reid’s creativity unleashed.

Just last year Damian launched a product called The Five Star In Home Dinning Experience.  From waitstaff to cutlery, linens, music and of course delicious food, Damien provides everything for the experience which is custom made for his clients.  “I was accustomed to cooking for wealthy clients from overseas at the villas and I wanted locals to experience that, especially in terms of my food and refining local cuisine that they usually eat.  So, my aim is to prepare local food but doing it in a totally refreshed way, a totally different way by adding my twist and reinventing things that they already know. I want people to leave with an unforgettable personalized experience that has been created uniquely for each diner based on their individual preferences.”  With a course in healthy cuisine from the Culinary Institute of America under his belt Damian is well versed in healthy cooking so meeting the specific dietary needs of his clients is never an issue.  Attention to detail, great service and mouthwatering fare are always on this Chef’s menu.  When all are fed and full this chef always leaves a host of satisfied customers in his wake and if you are fortunate enough to taste anything he’s prepared you will be too!

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