Winning young chef off to London

Desly Kyshon Missick, the winner of a culinary competition for young chefs hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, is off to London this week.

He will spend a week working alongside famed British Chef Adam Handling in his restaurant Adam Handling at Caxton, located at St. Ermin’s Hotel in London’s trendy West End. Missick, 20, who works at the Camana Bay restaurant Ortanique, competed in a series of culinary challenges in January, with the finals judged by Handling and Executive Chef Frederic Morineau of The Ritz-Carlton.

Missick’s Cayman lobster creation scored over Zack Myrie’s dish as the two junior chefs battled for top honors.

Missick was named the winner at the Governor’s House, working alongside Chef Handling to prepare and plate the governor’s dinner.

“Right after I did the lobster dish, the first thing Adam said was, ‘This is something I would actually sit down and eat.’ That made me feel good because he was saying if he went to a restaurant and ordered the dish, he would have no complaints. That boosted my confidence and made me feel good.

“Tasting a few things [Handling] served that night was awesome. I hated beets with a passion, but that night Adam made me try something that was 100 percent beet dish and I loved it,” he said.

Chef Handling said he was delighted to welcome Missick to his restaurant.

“London is the most dynamic foodie city in the world, so it will be great for a young Caymanian chef to experience how we do fine dining British style,” he said.

Missick said he is a little nervous about the trip, but thinks he will be just fine.

He said he wants to improve his knowledge on how to present, plate and emphasize his flavors.

The young chef has done exceptionally well, despite only having been cooking professionally for the past year. He started at Ortanique as a server assistant. After being accepted for a tourism apprenticeship, he started the apprenticeship course at the University College of the Cayman Islands while continuing to work at Ortanique.

Missick said he surprised himself by wanting to become a chef, because no one in his family had previously taken it up as a career. He is not certain where it will lead him, but is taking advantage of the opportunity to learn more.

“It [has] a hectic schedule, and further up in the culinary world it can be quite demanding. But for now this is really what I want to do,” he said.

Working at Ortanique, he enjoys just being in the kitchen and getting the experience.

“I would like to thank The Ritz-Carlton and British Airways for the opportunity to travel to London to work under ‘Master Chef’ Adam and to gain his award-winning knowledge and skills,” he said.