Sunday, July 13, 2008

Upscaling Island Cuisine

More than 20 years ago I visited a small island where there were barely any roads, no stop signs, and no significant touristic development. The few establishments there offered local cuisine, some of which can no longer be found. We dined on turtle, basic chicken dishes, and simple grilled fish. Today, the island of Providenciales has some of the most intriguing, creative offerings around, particularly notable given that nothing is grown on the island. Local fish like mahi mahi, snapper, grouper and the indigenous conch abound, but pretty much everything else is flown in from somewhere. Including the chefs. It is amazing to see the breadth of creativity that competition inspires, albeit at top dollar. Dishes with fantastic names like "symphony of conch" or "tomatoes three ways" attest to some of the culinary explorations happening. It's like watching a series of Top Chef done island-style. I have just spent seven days sampling the best of the best on the island, and I am truly impressed. Now if only a reduced cost of living could help bring down the prices...

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