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Grand Hyatt Baha Mar Chef Michael Davis
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Q&A With Bahamian Chefs

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Bahamian cuisine has a unique flavor that’s all its own! A one-of-a-kind blend of American South staples with a generous pinch of Caribbean spice, Bahamian cooking features fresh ingredients and creative twists that deliver delicious results. And no one knows more about the foods of The Bahamas than the chefs who make their livelihood preparing meals here.

We’ve spoken to chefs at two of Nassau Paradise Island’s most popular restaurants to learn more about the tastes of The Bahamas, including their favorite dishes to prepare and their picks for where to eat in Paradise.

Chef Iesha Henfield - Head Chef at Bahamian Club at Atlantis, Paradise Island

Bahamian Club Chef Iesha Henfield

Chef Iesha has been part of Atlantis, Paradise Island’s culinary team for 18 years. Prior to joining the Bahamian Club team, she has worked at Seafire Steakhouse, Bimini Road at Marina Village, and Nobu. “What I love about the resort is that no matter the restaurant, we offer a nice mix of authentic ingredients and traditional Bahamian flavors on the menus,” Iesha says. “Even at restaurants like Nobu, we always work to ensure we offer the freshest local fish for our guests. At my current restaurant, Bahamian Club, we offer a lot of local-infused delicacies.”

What do you love about Bahamian cuisine? What is it that makes Bahamian cooking special?

“I love the flavors and spices that make up Bahamian cuisine. The food is never bland and when you eat these authentic dishes, they feel like a burst of flavors on your taste buds. In The Bahamas, we love fresh herbs; the basic mix of onions, sweet peppers, celery and thyme go a long way for me. Bahamian cooking is special because everyone has their unique touch, but the results are always great.”

What is your favorite dish to prepare?

“One of my favorites I love preparing is fresh pigeon peas and rice with coconut milk.”

What’s one dining experience on Nassau Paradise Island that you recommend to visitors?

“I would recommend all restaurants here at Atlantis, as we have so many options to choose from. And of course, once you have the time, you should check out Bahamian Club for our excellent food and stellar service. It’s an iconic Atlantis restaurant. Come say hello to me any time!”

What is your favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Nassau Paradise Island when you aren’t cooking?

“My favorite local spot is McKenzie’s at the dock (also at Marina Village at Atlantis) or any restaurant at the Fish Fry.”

Chef Michael Davis - Chef de Cuisine at The Palms, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar Chef Michael Davis

Chef Michael grew up in Nassau and has been working in the hospitality industry for 18 years. He’s worked in restaurants including Marketplace and Bimini Road. “At the time, there were not as many Bahamian restaurants in the hotel so as a chef you were creating memorable experiences,” he recalls.

In 2015, Chef Michael came to Baha Mar, where he developed the Conch Shack, which opened in 2017. Since then he’s moved on to The Palms which is popular with guests from around the world.

What do you love about Bahamian cuisine? What is it that makes Bahamian cooking special?

“What I love about the cuisine in The Bahamas is the ability to always have fresh seafood daily, such as fish, lobster, and conch. Being able to go to the dock and have that fresh seafood right at your fingertips is a beautiful thing. Ingredients I love to cook with are locally grown...fresh herbs and spices coming together and the aroma they give off makes my heart smile.”

What is your favorite dish to prepare?

“My favorite dish to prepare is Island Fish Ceviche with Chips.” (Chef Michael even shared his recipe - see below!)

What’s one dining experience on Nassau Paradise Island that you recommend to visitors?

“Most definitely, it would be the superb service and quality of food at Café Matisse.”

What is your favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Nassau Paradise Island when you aren’t cooking?

“My favorite place to grab a bite when I am not cooking would be Sushi Rokkan.”

Create your own Bahamian appetizer at home with Chef Michael’s recipe for Fish Ceviche with Chips! (Tip: choose a firm, lean white fish, such as bass, grouper, or sole.)

Recipe: Fish Ceviche With Chips (Serves 4)

Bahamian Ceviche

Ingredients:

  • ¼ mango, diced
  • ½ papaya, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 4 - 6oz fish fillets, diced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • Pinch of goat pepper
  • Juice of 4 oranges
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lime wedges and/or thinly sliced radish, for garnish

Directions:

Place fresh fish in bowl. Add all ingredients and mix together. Refrigerate for an hour, then serve cold with tortilla chips.