It’s all about bringing the authentic taste of Italy to The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Periwinkle restaurant.
Chef Stefano Attende hails from Naples, which due to its location in between the mountains and the sea has a cuisine including fresh produce and exceptional seafood.
“It is all about fresh ingredients, simple and healthy,” Chef Attende said. “Also, the pizza was born in Naples. The Pizzeria de Michele is one of the originals and only serves two kinds of pizza – margarita and marinara. When I was there last year, there were 60 people waiting to get in. It is so light and soft, super-light in fact.”
Mr. Attende studied at culinary school in the United States and underwent management training at Palm Springs for the opening of Le Meridien. He has also worked in Italy, Miami, France and Switzerland.
“I got a phone call from the first executive chef that was here [at The Ritz-Carlton]. My resume was on file and I came for the opening of Blue. I was 21, did not know where Cayman was and thought, ‘why not?’. I then went to Dubai, the Seychelles, back to Switzerland then decided to come back to Cayman.
“I missed the beach, the sun. If you like peace and serenity this is the place to be and I knew how high the standard of the restaurant was.” He returned in 2009 to Periwinkle, which was always an Italian and Mediterranean-angled restaurant.
“We are doing everything we can to keep it authentic Italian,” he said of the revamped menu.
“These are the typical dishes that you will find if, for example, you go and eat the same dish in Sicily. We eat it here like they eat there, like swordfish or tuna. I realised that many guests who travelled to Italy wanted to find that authentic experience here, too.”
The restaurant is open to non-guests of the resort, he said.