Chef’s keen on home cooking

 

When a very personable chef turns to personalized chef
services, you know you’re in business.

Such is the new venture of Chef Keith Griffin, known
on-island in various venues over the past 23 years, from Le Diplomat to
Treasure Island, from Lantana to Bacchus, and of course, from Discovery
Channel’s Great Chefs of the Caribbean series, among other notable
accomplishments.

Now Griffin is turning his chef chops to private clientele –
dinners, cocktail parties, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, tastings and the
like – for a relaxed, informal dining experience.

“I’m happy with just me going into people’s homes and
cooking dinner for them,” says Griffin, who also does all the shopping, singing
the praises of local produce, meats and seafood. Getting back to the basics
with fresh, local products is his focus, and as to his style, well, it’s quite
simple: “The only way I can pigeon-hole it, really, is I cook what I like to
eat.”

After working with private clients for a few months, he
says, “I’m starting to get the feeling there’s a big market out there and I
want to keep it under control enough to keep it fun and enjoyable.”

That, in part, explains why Griffin closed Bacchus in April,
around the time of the public holidays. Toss in other issues like the slowdown
of the economy in general, dwindling customer numbers and some parking issues
in George Town, and it all adds up to moving on.

“I’m very  happy now,”
says the chef. “I’ve always loved cooking and I enjoy it. Restaurants really
take you away from that. I’m not getting up at 8am and working 14 hours a day.”

Instead, he’s spending more time with his wife and three
children, travelling and going full-tilt at what he enjoys most. The family
will be spending time in Laos and Thailand this summer, enjoying street food
along the way. “I’ll taste anything,” the chef says.

Getting back to the business at hand, Griffin is amenable to
what the client wants; they discuss and he takes it from there. He’ll also get
together with folks he knows in the wine trade to come up with pairings for
meals or tastings.

“Most of the time clients have a certain idea in mind and we
go from there,” he says.

He takes a look at their kitchen and gets an idea of their
home, their tastes and what might fit in best with their lifestyle.

“I think people enjoy having a chef come into their homes,”
Griffin says, adding that the practicality of it is key. “I can do something in
people’s homes for the same price or less than it would cost in a
restaurant…I don’t have the overhead and other costs.”

Business could also expand to condo renters, who, faced with
the prospect of eating out or cooking every evening might prefer to come home
to a chef-prepared meal. Griffin says the Department of Tourism gets inquiries
all the time, and it looks like there’s a niche he could accommodate.

Will he perhaps be too busy? “I do think that I’m going to
have to discipline myself,” he smiles.

Cooking in people’s homes, the pleasure is almost all his:
“It’s fun, it’s very social. They come into the kitchen and talk with you, it’s
very relaxed and informal.

“I’m very happy doing this,” he reiterates. “As long as I’m
happy I can’t see any reason to change it.”

Contact Keith Griffin at [email protected] or call 916-6999.

chefkeith1

Chef Keith Griffin at a recent demonstration of canapes at Icoa.
Judith Isacoff
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