Since the hotel opened 60 years ago on a promontory of the same name, Eden Rock has been a magnet for the A-list crowd from Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes to some of today’s most distinguished celebs. 2012 saw the addition of acclaimed chef Jean Georges Vongerichten join the hotel. This is the first collaboration of its kind on St Barths, and Vongerichten is responsible for the hotel’s two renowned restaurants, The Sand Bar and On the Rocks.
What made you decide to join Eden Rock-St Barths?
I have always loved St Barths as a vacation destination. When approached to open a restaurant at Eden Rock I was hesitant since it is the place I travel to with my family during the holidays. However, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to open a restaurant at one of the best resorts with a prime location.
What is the philosophy behind your food?
I have chosen the best dishes from my NYC restaurants and incorporated locally sourced ingredients. We work with local fisherman daily and receive fresh produce from Guadalupe bi-weekly.
In terms of food, is it hard to balance your French influences with those of the Caribbean?
Not at all — I use French techniques and incorporate local flavours.
What are your most popular dishes?
Tomato, avocado and mango salad. Seared gulf shrimp, with local pumpkin ginger purée, basil and brown rice.
Which chefs influenced you, and why?
Louise Outhier, Paul Bocuse and Jean-Pierre Haeberlin, all of whom I worked alongside of. Each played a huge part in my development as a chef. They taught me the fundamentals of French cuisine and technique. Today, I look to Rene Redzepi from Noma and Ferran Adria from El Bulli for inspiration.
Is it hard work to maintain your Michelin Star standards?
We train our staff to always supersede Michelin Star standards. We treat every guest as if he or she is a food editor or critic and maintain the finest quality ingredients in house at all times.
What was your favourite meal as a child?
I grew up eating one-pot meals. My favourite being my grandmother’s goose stew served with braised red cabbage and mashed potatoes.
Do you have a favourite restaurant?
My favourite restaurant in St Barths is definitely Maya. I love her shrimp salad and tamarind- spiced pork.
Are there any other projects you are currently working on?
I am currently in the process of opening two restaurants in NYC, as well as a few projects in Sinagpore, Hong Kong and Japan.