Cindy Hutson, chef and co-owner of Coral Gables mainstay Ortanique on the Mile, has been hired by the Dunmore Resort at Harbour Isles in the Bahamas to revamp the restaurant's menu and in-room service.
Dunmore owner Gil Besing, who bought and revamped the property in 2010, discovered Hutson via a Google search and invited her to the property in March. Hutson instantly fell in love.
The Dunmore closed its doors August 15 and will reopen November 15 with a menu specializing in traditional Bahamian food: conch, hogfish, spiny lobster, cassava, and yams.
"I spent a whole day on a golf cart looking to source out breadfruit, and I found six trees," Huston says. "The islanders use it one or two ways: They roast it and eat, or they roast it cut into wedge and fry it."
"We'll do breadfruit fish tacos."
Hutson also says she'll keep the resort's restaurant staff on board.
"They know island food," she says. "They know what they cook at home. I'll just put a little more of an elegant touch to it without making it pretentious."
She'll train the staff with her partner Delius Shirley, along with Warren Rhoden. Rhoden, a Jamaican-born chef who's been working at Hutson's Miracle Mile flagship restaurant, will stay behind to run things at the Dunmore.
"He wanted to go back to an island, either to my Cayman restaurant or back to Jamaica," Huston says.
She opened her first restaurant, Norma's on the Beach, in 1994 with Shirley. It was Hutson's first time cooking, and the restaurant remained open until 1999. That same year Ortanique on the Mile opened. Then she opened a restaurant in Grand Cayman and Las Vegas, yet these days it seems she wants to keep everything closer to home.
She wouldn't say what the Dunmore gig pays other than "managerial fees."
"I had a very hard time letting go of being an on-premise chef. Although we never got bad reviews, I never felt it was consistently me," she say. "Then the Caymanian opportunity came up and that was an hour away. I can easily hop on a flight and be there."