Hemingway’s Beachfront at The Sands on Grace Bay THE CHEF AT HEMINGWAY’S has come a long way to pamper our taste buds with his fresh, colourful creations. Born 'just next door in Cap Haitian, Haiti, Executive Chef Alix Saimpha has travelled many miles, both literally and figuratively since he first began to help his mom out in the kitchen. His journey began in the early 90s. In his mid twenties, he was at college studying law, but the situation in Haiti was becoming heated. He decided to leave; an uncle was living on Providenciales and he came here. Law wasn’t an option for him in the TCI, so he put the knowledge he’d learned from his mother, a private chef in Haiti, to good use. He was hired on at Club Med, where for five years he worked and learned in their kitchen. In 1999, as a line-chef, he moved to the Allegro Resort (now the site of the Seven Stars Resort). His big break came when he met the then Executive Chef at Ocean Club’s Gecko Grille - John Brubaker. John brought him to the Gecko and mentored him. Alix said that was so important to him. He also met one of the principals of the Barefoot Cafe (which was where Jimmy’s Dive Bar is now located) and eventually went to work there as the executive chef. His French-Creole conch dishes were a huge success. Another turning point for this talented chef was a family reunion in Miami, where he played a large part in that event’s meal preparation. A friend of the family was so impressed with Alix’s creations that he offered to send him to Le Cordon Bleu - the famous French culinary school. Chuck Hesse from the Conch Farm also helped send Alix to Paris. Alix explained that Chuck Hesse and Barb Young were the first couple he met on Providenciales who encouraged him and helped him get to where he is today. In 2004 Alix packed his bags and headed for Paris, where he immersed himself in all things cuisine every day for six months. Speaking of that time he said that he most enjoyed learning about the spices, seasoning, and creating sauces and understanding various techniques proven in the culinary world. He still keeps in touch with the dinner guest who helped him - who has since moved to Paris himself. Alix also spent three months in New Orleans as a chef, and at the Naked Conch Cafe on Grand Turk. In fact, as the chef at Barefoot, his conch creation won a first at the first Conch Festival competition. He hammered his reputation for creative conch cuisine when Hemingway’s won Best in Show at the 2012 and the 2013 Festivals. Another notable restaurant where Alix honed his craft was Bay Bistro, where he was the sous chef before he moved to Hemingway’s as the executive chef in 2007. He’s been there for nine years now, and he says of Terry Drummey’s well known and popular beachfront eatery at The Sands Resort: "I am at home here. It’s busy, the team is very strong. It’s good to be here.” His specialty is fish: grilled grouper, mahi mahi, or salmon for dinner, and soft grouper tacos for lunch. He is also the king of conch, as you now know, and is equally familiar with Black Angus beef, chicken and lobster. The 51 year old is married and has three children, all of whom help mom and dad in the kitchen of their Blue Hills home. Alix is pleased that his children seem to share his passion and hopes that other local children will be encouraged to take up cooking rather than going off to law school, as he nearly did. He’d like to see many more local executive chefs in the restaurants on Providenciales and across the TCI. Hemingway’s beachfront deck has the perfect view of the turquoise ocean, over golden plumes of sea grass. The open air, covered dining area is comfortable year round. Enjoy contemporary Caribbean-Creole and American cuisine, for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
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