OLD ROAD VILLAGE, Antigua -- For French-born and -trained Christophe Blatz, executive chef at Curtain Bluff, feeding 150 people three meals a day at an all-inclusive resort where the average length of stay is six nights presents unique challenges.

Ive been the head chef for four years and was a sous chef here for six years before that, Blatz said. I was born in the Alsace region of France, started cooking at 17 and trained and cooked in France and Germany. This was my first Caribbean job.

He admitted that the beginning was terrible, but they convinced me to stay, and Im very glad I did.

Cooking in the Caribbean means that Im never sure when the food will be delivered. Most of it arrives by air, but flights are delayed at times.

Frequent power shortages on Antigua also play havoc with cooking, and the weather can be a challenge, as well.

Curtain Bluffs two restaurants welcome nonguests who must reserve in advance, and Blatz said these diners sometimes criticize what they view as a lack of selections, as do the travel agents who spend two nights here on a fam trip but are not here long enough to see our variety, Blatz said.

Guests who are here a week have new choices every night. We offer three or more main courses and appetizers, side dishes and desserts at dinner.

The most popular entrees over the years have proven to be lamb, veal and fish, Blatz said.

Menus are planned 10 days ahead, but changes are made if the fish arent caught that day, but it doesnt often happen that we run out of something.

Herbs come from Curtain Bluffs own herb garden; fruits and vegetables are flown in from Dominica; pastries and breads are baked on the premises.

Kids menus intrigue Blatz, who said that most kids eat unhealthy foods. Id never seen a chicken nugget before I came here, and Ive never cooked as many french fries as I do here.

Wedding catering falls under Blatzs domain, as well, as does room service.

Many of the chefs under Blatz are sent to cooking schools in the U.S. for training during the three-month period when Curtain Bluff is closed.

The training is good, he said. It shows where each chef is strongest and where he or she would work best in the kitchen.

The kitchen staff numbers 24; the wait staff numbers 30.

The name of the game, according to Blatz, is flexibility. Thats what counts, he said.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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For more details on this article, see Curtain Bluff keeps em coming back.

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