We meet local private chef, Jonathan Krespil from Caicos Cuisine, Providenciales in the first of our regular ‘Spotlight on…’ features where we highlight the very best that the Turks and Caicos Islands have to offer.
Jonathan tells us about his journey from the concrete jungle to a tranquil tropical paradise, and his passion for creating memorable mouth-watering food that brings people together.
Jonathan, tell us about yourself and how Caicos Cuisine began…
I never actually set out to become a chef, let alone a private chef. But I am so glad I fell into it the way I did.
Many years ago, I lived in bustling Toronto while trying to pursue a career in acting but I started to realize that I seemed to be building up more of a resume in gourmet cooking! I went to auditions in the day and worked as a mixologist in hotels at night and I would ask a million questions to the chefs (which must have been quite annoying in retrospect) about the dishes they were cooking.
I worked in many different places because I couldn’t hold a job if acting auditions got in the way. This turned out to be a blessing because I wouldn’t have been exposed to so many different cuisines and learned from so many chefs by going to culinary school alone.
My mother is one of the main reasons that food has such a special place in my heart. She was an instrumental influence on me as she was always cooking and baking at home. People were drawn to our place because of the incredible aromas of spices and baked bread.
After a humble start, it all suddenly came together as if by magic when I was managing a hotel bar and I visited a recruitment website to check on some bartender positions I had posted. I refreshed the page and saw “Catering Manager – Turks and Caicos” appearing like 3 cherries in a slot machine.
I had taken a couple of trips to Providenciales before and had fallen in love with its innocence, purity and over-the-top beauty. It felt like fate so I responded with my resume and ten minutes later, I got a call back. Six weeks after that, I was the catering manager for a very well-known Café and Bar on the island and on we go!
The Café was impressed with my cooking so they started to send me out as a private chef to villas. This eventually led to a role as the Executive Chef of what is now known as Prince’s Villa (Emara Estate). Yes, one of the homes on that estate was owned by the Artist formerly known as Prince and still sports a purple driveway!
Shortly after, I started my very own private chef business, Caicos Cuisine, and I feel beyond blessed to share my passion with visitors from all over the world. I love that so many of them keep coming back, it feels like a global family. Food really is the best social glue.
“Absolutely fabulous from the service, to the presentation to the flavors of the food! Jonathan & Caicos Catering staff played a large part of making our trip one of the most memorable and they’ll be one of the reasons we’ll return to Turks. Highly recommend!” Kelly W
What has been your biggest highlight and biggest challenge to date?
My biggest highlight would have to be when I got certified at Tokyo Sushi Academy. It has always been my dream to make amazing sushi and now it’s something I can share with my guests here.
I’m also about to go to Naples in Italy to get certified at AVPN, the official Neapolitan Pizza school. Keep an eye on my website and social channels for updates on that! I want to embrace these culinary expeditions whenever I can by going to the heartland of the most iconic (and intimidating!) dishes and learning from the best and most authentic culinary educators.
I’m always adding to the mix in order to be the most diverse chef I can be while striving to keep up with the latest culinary obsessions and styles. I’m very blessed to have great relationships with the local fisherman and purveyors here in Turks and Caicos who help me provide some pretty amazing catches to my guests.
My biggest challenge would be that even though we have amazing supermarkets here (especially when you consider that we’re on a rock in the middle of the ocean), many specialty ingredients aren’t available.
However, I have designed my Caicos Cuisine menus to deliver the most consistent experience and I personally import some amazing ingredients to compliment the delicious local fare here.
“Jonathan was AMAZING! We celebrated my husband’s birthday with a large group dinner, and had our best meal on the island…. All the kids loved it. Not to mention he left our kitchen and dining room spotless. If you’re thinking of doing something special on the island, find Jonathan, you won’t regret it.” Angel Z
What’s your favourite place to visit or thing to do on The Turks & Caicos Islands?
Taylor Bay Beach has always been a great hidden gem where you can get away from it all and relax and it still is, although a few more tourists have started to appear after it was featured on TripAdvisor!
I love to bring visiting friends or family to Taylor Bay and then go for drinks and appetizers afterwards at Las Brisas, which overlooks the stunning Chalk Sound waters. I’m a bit of an anomaly in that I don’t really do any ocean related activities! I love going for walks on the beach and admiring the views but when I’m not working, I mostly play tennis, catch up with friends or travel. I did go snorkeling once but it’s not my thing. I’d rather see it at the IMAX!
What do your guests tell you that they love most about your food?
Well, I often hear them say that Caicos Cuisine is the best meal or dining experience they have had here on the Turks & Caicos Islands, or sometimes that they’ve ever had. That is wonderful to hear. My goal is to give people delicious memories that keep them coming back to our beautiful islands.
I pride myself on giving my guests the best experience I can because I have these beautiful surroundings to live up to. Plus, I genuinely love making people feel happy through food.
“From the instant of first communication with Jonathan, I was hooked! His energy, knowledge, flexibility, and responsiveness were beyond amazing and professional. Chef Jonathan and his assistants arrived early and stayed late! They created everything from scratch and all was absolutely perfect!” Heather T
Our mouths are watering, where can we find out more about Caicos Cuisine?