You'll soon get to know the faces at The Brasserie. People tend to stick around. Maybe it's the friendly vibe and the passion we all share.
Dean Max - Brasserie Chef
Dean James Max comes from a dynasty of foodies. His grandfather, for many years a chef at an upstate NY resort, opened a much-loved bed-and-breakfast in Cape May. Dean's father, himself a New Jersey farmer's son, started his own farm on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
Dean says he has fond memories of the bounty, both earthbound and marine, of Chesapeake Bay: “Growing up in this environment gave me an early insight about freshness and how foods work together.”
Moving with his family to Stuart, Florida, where his father became a produce broker for the major supermarkets, Dean became a student at Florida State University where he earned a BSc in Marketing, with a Hotel and Restaurant Management minor.
After college, Dean enrolled in The Florence Study Centre, Italy, and spent a season there, ‘making his bones’ in the cooking trade. “It was in Italy that I confirmed my love for food, and for natural cooking”.
With his newly acquired skills, recipes and commitment to cooking, Dean returned to the United States. There his classical training, coupled with his precise cooking technique, underpinned his passion for creative cooking as well as his keen understanding of the importance of fresh ingredients.
His cooking career soon took off, working first at Brasserie Savoy, in San Francisco's boutique Savoy Hotel followed by positions at the Ritz Carlton Dining Room in Pentagon City, Washington, DC; Gerard's Place, downtown Washington, DC; and the Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, GA.
By now a seasoned professional, Dean became executive chef and co-owner of the much-loved Atlanta restaurant, Mumbo Jumbo. From there he was coaxed back to the West Coast being named executive chef of the wildly popular Woodside, in Brentwood, Southern California.
Success brought an offer from the giant Marriott hotel group to create his own restaurant at one of its most prestigious properties, the Harbour Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
3030 Ocean, a unique dining concept, is today one of South Florida's most celebrated restaurants and one that Dean delivers “an experience that treats the taste through all senses”.
With many appearance on the Food Network, authorship of the book ‘Life By the Sea’, Dean has won wide recognition, including:
Best Chef in South Florida, 2005, Boca Raton Magazine Best Chef South Florida, 2006, National Restaurant Association James Beard Recognized Chef.
Artemio Lopez - Chef de Cuisine
If there’s one food that Artemio, aka Arte, can not live without it is fresh homemade tortillas, the ones his grandmother and mother used to make growing up in the “food capital” of Mexico, Oaxaca. It is these fond memories that inspired Arte to pursue a culinary career.
Arte’s experience expands more than 20 years in eight different countries. He began his studies at the Culinary Institute of Mexico where he obtained a degree in Culinary Art. Moving abroad to Switzerland, Arte continued his studies in hotel management at the Glion Hotel School and then catering at Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts in Paris. France opened the doors to a six-month apprenticeship at Château de Brindos.
From France to Kosovo, Arte expanded his skillset spending three months helping to set up the first Mexican restaurant in Pristina. He then traveled to Spain to work at Casa Alfonso restaurant, and while there, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star.
It took a stint in the United States before Arte started to make his way to the Caribbean. Bermuda was his first stop and here he blossomed at the Port Royal Golf Course establishment, 64 Degrees Restaurant.
It’s now been six years since Arte arrived at The Brasserie. As Chef de Cuisine, he enjoys the opportunity to cook with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and create menus based on the wide variety and availability of farm-to-table produce in Cayman.
Corey Blohm - Manager
Corey's passion for the hospitality & service industries began at a very young age, assisting his parents at their local grocery store in White Plains New York. After studying Business Administration at Rockland College in New York, he moved to Florida to take up a position at the Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. It was there that Corey's talent & dedication came to the attention of Chef Dean Max, who invited Corey to join his team as assistant manager of his award winning 3030 Ocean Restaurant. Chef Dean recalls that the decision to recruit Corey was an easy one: “Corey’s attention to detail & great customer relations are exactly the skills I look for when recruiting future managers”.
Corey soon proved himself, & when Dean opened his third restaurant, AMP 150 in Ohio, Corey was the natural choice for the role of General Manager. On being the leader of Chef Max's opening team Corey says "Shaping the restaurant's service standards, beverage menus, & promotional activities gave me an intimate understanding of the necessary ingredients for a successful restaurant. Opening AMP 150 was a fantastic learning experience".
Throughout his career, Corey has worked closely with Dean to inspire his teams to share their enthusiasm for the industry & their commitment to exceptional service, & while this ethos has won them many accolades, Corey says that the most rewarding part of his job is "...getting people excited about food & wine, & introducing like-minded customers to new culinary experiences & bar creations”.
Corey is excited to be heading up the Brasserie team. "Working with the Dean Max organization has given me many great opportunities, from developing craft bars & boutique wine lists, to participating in the Epcot & South Beach Food & Wine festivals & attending James Beard Foundation dinners. The Brasserie's focus on sea to table cooking, insistence on local ingredients, & creative approach to combining Caymanian food traditions with the very best of modern cuisine makes me confident that my experience here will be no exception. I am looking forward to meeting our customers & working with them to ensure that the Brasserie remains an integral part of the local community. Please stop by & say hello".
Christine Ward - Pastry Chef
Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania near Lancaster County, Christine is very familiar with cooking and eating seasonally.
Christine’s grandfather owned a dairy farm and used his front field as a "vegetable garden", canning and freezing produce seasonally to be enjoyed throughout the year. Her Aunt had a small orchard and Christine would look forward to harvesting the fresh ripe fruit from the trees as well as enjoying the delicious jams and pies that stemmed from this produce. The many hours spent planting and picking, gave Christine the foundation to love food and develop passion for learning about where it comes from how and how it’s grown, from farm to table.
Attending a local culinary school, Christine learned the basics of baking and pastry techniques. She worked at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida, and was responsible for the pastry station at the AAA 5 Diamond restaurant, the Grill. Much of what she learned came from Pastry Chef, Erin Maupin, at Keswick Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia.
To see a different side of pastry that involved the production of whole cakes, tarts and a wide variety of pastry items for retail, Christine worked in award-winning pastry shop, Sweet Somethings, based in Wilmington, Delaware.
Leading a team of seven in the pastry kitchen, Christine became the Pastry Chef at the Omni La Mansion del Rio in San Antonio. She created her own menus and produced goods for two restaurants and the banquet facility.
It takes skill and ingenuity to create over 40 custom wedding cakes in one season, but Christine took on this challenge to advance her cake-making skills as Pastry Chef at Relais & Chateaux’s The Clifton Inn, Charlottesville.
Christine came to The Brasserie as Pastry Chef in 2011. In 2014 she joined the team at Chef Dean’s restaurant, James Republic in Long Beach, California. However, missing the beaches, the island and the team at The Brasserie, Christine returned to Grand Cayman two years later.
She loves using unique fruits and vegetables from The Brasserie’s garden and surrounding island and relishes in the challenge of creating desserts to showcase this produce. Christine says she enjoys the diversity of the restaurant and market and the ever-changing flavors she is presented with.
Dorson Wright - Capt. Brasserie Catch I
Operating off Grand Cayman, Brasserie Catch I is a 25' Grady White Dolphin powered by 2 x 150 Suzuki outboards, Captained by Dorson Wright. Dorson was born in Cayman Brac and is a second-generation deep-water fisherman. He spent many days as a boy fishing with his father where they perfected the technique of catching several species of deep water snappers at one time at great depth of up to 1200 ft. deep. Dorson uses this technique today to keep The Brasserie and Market regularly supplied with the freshest deep-water snapper, a customer favorite.
Atlee Evans - Capt. Brasserie Catch II
Operating off the lessor islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, Brasserie Catch II is a 26' Shamrock powered by an inboard diesel engine, captained by Atlee Evans. Atlee was born in Grand Cayman and was the first Caymanian to become a certified dive master. Atlee ran his own water sports operation for many years until moving to Cayman Brac where he now fishes daily for The Brasserie and Market. A daily catch can include wahoo, mahi mahi, satin snappers, day groupers (not the protected Nassau grouper) and yellow fin tuna.
Aidé Davila - Head Gardener
Aidé is the backbone behind The Brasserie’s thriving edible gardens throughout Cricket Square.
She has just finished harvesting 50 pounds of the fragrantly sweet star apple for the kitchen and is taking the final passionfruit to The Wicket; a popular ingredient in our Juiced@ menu.
“It’s important for me to be outside in the garden. I love the outdoors. I could never see myself working in an office.”
In the shade house alone, Aidé cares for 18 different vegetables, six fruit varieties and over 25 herbs to feed The Wicket, The Market and Brasserie restaurant customers that value the local, fresh and seasonal flavors grown just meters away.
“It’s important that people know where the food that they eat comes from and I believe it’s my job to teach people. If they can see the produce in front of them as it is here when they come to work everyday, hopefully it will inspire them to eat locally and seasonally and reduce food miles.”
Beyond the shade house you can embark on an edible adventure around Cricket Square to find, 11 varieties of eggplant, avocados, naseberries, cashews, starfruit, star apples, grapefruit, all spice, kaffir lime, ackee, guava, soursop, sugar cane and mangoes, just to name a few.
Tomatoes climb up the square boundary and watermelons lace wooden crate structures amongst the parked cars.
Ever stopped to think about how a pineapple grows? Look down and you will see pineapple heads immersed in the soil, building roots and preparing to hoist more pineapple fruit above their tropical foliage.
A qualified biologist, Aidé grows all her own seedlings in the nursery using the seeds from the previous harvest and transplants the crops regularly as is required by the kitchen’s appetite.
“For those wanting to grow food in a small space at home, it is important that you plant an assortment of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Different plants attract different insects and so by growing a variety there will never just be one dominant insect or pest eating your harvest. This is called biology control; reducing or mitigating pests and pest effects through the use of natural enemies so that you don’t need to use pesticides.”
The introduction of our Brasserie bees has boosted production levels significantly as they work endlessly to pollinate the crops, and the nearby ‘Chateau Chooks’ must also be acknowledged. Aidé makes her own sustainable compost using the green waste from the restaurant and the chicken manure from the coop. For those plants that need extra care like our favorite edible species of orchid, vanilla bean, Aidé concocts her famous compost tea by diluting this mixture in water and distributing it onto the leaves.
So next time you venture into Cricket Square, stop, observe all the delicious produce being grown around you, give Aidé a wave, and be thankful that you have the opportunity to enjoy this abundant food basket right on your doorstep.
Efrain Alarcon - Beekeeper
Efrain was born into a beekeeping family. Growing up in New Jersey in the United States, Efrain and his parents returned to their homeland of Mexico when he was 13 years old and joined the family beekeeping operation, Productores de Pulta de Guerrero Oaxaca, exporting honey to Germany.
Efrain’s father was also a skilled carpenter and made all his own beehives, a talent that Efrain brought with him to Cayman to establish The Brasserie’s bee hives and local honey production.
As a young teenager it was Efrain’s job to feed the bees, clean the apiaries and move the hives of the certified organic family operation in Mexico. In 2004, he began studying civil engineering at the Institute of Technology in Oaxaca, but his commitments to the family business were far too great for him to complete his studies. Efrain continued to expand his skillset, making bee hive supplies like hive colonies and providing packaged bees to the budding beekeeper, as well as frames and wax. Today, Efrain says there are more than 1000 beekeepers just in his home district of Pulta de Guerrero.
In September 2016, Efrain arrived on Grand Cayman and began constructing The Brasserie bee hives from scratch, breeding his own queen bees, learning about the Caribbean seasons for prime honey flow and creating value-added products like bees wax candles and lip balm to utilise the entire harvest. He is also regularly called upon to rescue bees in the roofs of houses, inside tree trunks or under beach umbrellas, and then provides them with one of his own hives to start collecting their delicious golden honey that you will find at The Market.