Roman Dolejs, Chef de Cuisine of the Grand Cayman Marriot Beach Resort’s Solana Restaurant, has won the prestigious annual Chef of the Year 2006 award at the Cayman Islands Culinary Awards of Excellence Competition, a press release said.
Organised by the Cayman Culinary Society, the contest started with a seven category competition on day one, with the winners competing for Chef of the Year on day two. Roman won the category for best main course on day one and secured his position to compete in day two.
Commenting on his win Roman said he was delighted.
‘The competition was very well organized and the standard of the contestants was very high. This made for a challenging and competitive event. I’m absolutely passionate about cooking, cooking is my life.’
To win the Chef of the Year accolade, Roman had to triumph in a mystery basket cook-off. Chefs were given 45 minutes to review the contents of their mystery basket, and write a menu comprising one appetizer and one main course. They then had one hour to cook the meal using the ingredients provided.
The competition was fierce and included chefs from the Ritz-Carlton and Grand Old House, but Roman succeeded in finishing on top and winning Chef of the Year for the Marriott Resort.
Roman cooked a cilantro rubbed, pan seared red snapper on roasted fingerling potatoes in lemon grass and shitake mushrooms broth. Whilst for the appetizer he cooked a pepper crusted salmon filet on arugula salad with fresh avocado, cherry tomatoes and tropical fruit chutney.
As part of the prize, Roman will be going to Las Vegas to cook together with a celebrity chef and will also head up the Cayman Islands Culinary Team that will compete in other contests throughout the Caribbean.
Roman Dolejs was born in the Czech Republic and gained his professional training in Austria. He has cooked for four and five star hotels and restaurants in Germany, Switzerland, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.
Vidyadhara Shetty, President of the Culinary Society, said: ‘Roman won the competition because he did an excellent job on the first day which got him through to the second day to compete for Chef of the Year. On the second day he stood out because of his overall professionalism, cleanliness, knife skills and his excellent team work.’
Mr Vijay Dharman, director of food and beverages at the Marriott Resort, said: ‘I’m very proud that we have recruited such an excellent chef like Roman and it is great to have his talent recognized.’
The Solana Restaurant is open from 11am until 2.30pm for lunch and from 6pm until 10pm for dinner, seven days a week. Call 949 0088.