Rising culinary star Stefan Ebanks is back at the Ritz-Carlton for the summer on a break from his degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management at Providence, Rhode Island.
Mr. Ebanks is on a scholarship from the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and the 18-year-old has been enjoying his first year of university.
“The hardest challenge was the weather,” the Bodden Towner told the Compass.
“It is extremely cold – I hardly came out the room to start with. The Rhode Island culture is very different, relaxed and laid back with lots of restaurants. I went to Restaurant Week in Newport and met a lot of celebrity chefs. The seafood up here is excellent.
“But it is going well,” he said.
Mr. Ebanks started his culinary adventures helping his grandmother in the kitchen, he said.
“I told her I was hungry so she got a pan, turned on the stove and showed me how to make banana fritters and cassava cake. I was nine years old and then learnt other things from her like scrambled eggs and casserole. Then I went to Foster’s Food Fair deli for a year and a half. When I then went to Grand Cayman Beach Suites, Chef Shetty suggested I got some experience at the Ritz-Carlton. From there I got to know Chef Frederic Morineau and had a very intense trial in Seven.” From there the scholarship came about, which holds no obligation to work for the Ritz-Carlton, said Melissa Ladley, director of communications.
“We hope he will work here but also the goal is to grow Cayman,” she explained.
Mr. Ebanks added that his parents, who advised him to go for the scholarship, were always an inspiring factor in his choice of career.
“They have always backed me 100 per cent,” he said.
He added that he is looking forward to his debut assisting at Cayman Cookout in 2013. There is also the possibility to travel to Eric Ripert’s famous New York restaurant, Le Bernardin, to gain experience for this young Caymanian on the up. Following his degree, he said he would like to do a Masters in Tourism Management.
“Some friends say that hospitality is for poor people and that you do not make any money so they often go into finance or to law school. But my ambition is to become Food and Beverage director of the Ritz-Carlton, then one day become the Minister of Tourism,” he said.