Budding pastry chef and baker Brittanni Seymour is well on her way to a flourishing career in the culinary arts, thanks to a joint scholarship from the Cayman Islands Government and Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink at Camana Bay.
Brittanni will attend the Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts in Providence, Rhode Island, beginning in September 2011, and major in Baking and Pastry Arts.
The bachelor’s degree course will help Brittanni realize her dream of becoming an executive pastry chef or pastry shop owner. A 2008 graduate of John Gray High School with an Associate’s Degree in Science from the University College of the Cayman Islands, Brittanni has always had a keen interest in baking.
“I get a kick out of being able to create something that puts a smile on people’s faces because it’s nice to look at and tastes delicious,” Miss Seymour said. “I’m honoured and truly grateful that Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink has provided me with such a great opportunity to pursue an education in the culinary arts and to work with them as part of their family. Throughout the past few weeks I have learned so much about pastry and also what Michael’s stands for in their commitment to providing the very best in fresh, genuine cuisine. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with has welcomed me with open arms; always willing to share their experience.”
Brittanni will learn how to use the most technologically-advanced equipment, utensils and techniques to create artisan breads, classic pastries, pies, tarts, petit fours, celebration cakes, confections and plated desserts. Her skills will then be brought to bear each summer and for three years after her degree at Michael’s Genuine, working alongside Executive Chef Thomas Tennant and Pastry Chef Adriana Duran, the island team of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz.
“Educating youth about the importance of responsible food sourcing is more important now than ever,” said Chef Michael. “We’re thrilled to be working with a driven and passionate student like Brittanni. Working in the kitchen and helping with events like our Farm-to-Table dinner series with Slow Food Grand Cayman, she’ll get a well-rounded experience of how a restaurant like ours operates. It’s a priceless opportunity to learn about what’s growing on island and how these fresh ingredients are sourced and used in the kitchen.”
Brittanni will also have the privilege of being mentored by one of America’s foremost pastry professionals in Hedy Goldsmith, Executive Pastry Chef at Michael’s Genuine in Miami, Florida.
Hedy creates desserts with simple, straightforward flavours presented in interesting combinations. Her signature sweets include “popcorn and peanuts” – a milk chocolate candy bar with buttered popcorn ice cream, sweet basil panna cotta with strawberry consommé and a warm banana toffee panini served with a salted caramel ice cream sundae.
The New York Times has referred to Goldsmith’s desserts as “strikingly beautiful, but not contrived marvels of texture and balance” and just recently three of the nation’s top culinary experts – New York Times scribe Frank Bruni and chefs Scott Conant and Michael Symon – appeared on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate to debate which of Goldsmith’s creations stood supreme.
“Brittanni was identified as a very conscientious and hard-working young lady who is passionate about pursuing a career in pastry,” Chef Goldsmith said. “We are excited to have her working with us, and would love to see more Caymanians follow in her footsteps.”
Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink is committed to developing young Caymanians and the restaurant is working with John Gray High School, years 10 and 11, on a summer intern programme to train two students each month for July and August.
The restaurant has also committed to sponsoring a student from the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Apprenticeship Training Programme.