Chef Kevin Jones

In high school I struggled with what career I wanted to pursue, all my friends around me knew what they wanted, but I struggled to see where my future path would take me. Architecture was one of my first career pursuits but it wasn’t for me. Training to be a lawyer was the second but again I felt like something was missing.

From the age of 15, my father started a weekend BBQ stand where I used to help him. I really enjoyed this but never thought that it could be a career path. A great friend Chef Gorvey, told me about a course held at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) and it sounded amazing, but was way above what I could afford which initially hindered me from going forward with the application. Chef Gorvey assured me that something would fall into place. Fast-forward 2 years later, I graduated and had finally found that missing piece of the puzzle.

During my studies, I upheld an apprentice role at Village Cay Hotel and Marina. With all the tests and practical exams I still had to complete, this position gave me real life scenarios and experience that helped my overall development.

The October 2016 BVI Food Fete was an experience that expanded my outlook on the culinary industry. This was my first time working alongside international chefs such as Michael Ferraro and Kerry Heffernan.

In January 2018, I was due to begin my studies at the prestigious culinary arts programme Le Cordon Bleu in London. As the world knows, Hurricane Irma, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, struck the British Virgin Islands and many other locations in September 2017. As you’d imagine, any and all plans that I had were now put on hold. On the 30th September 2017, as an evacuee I migrated to Bristol and by November 2017 I secured a commis chef role at the four star Aztec Hotel and Spa.

I experienced a huge cultural shock as I’d just migrated from an island that suffered severe damage from a category 5 hurricane & the pace of living was quite fast. The culture of the kitchen was different; I had to learn different cooking styles & methods, ingredients, people and most of all pressure. 2 years later and I am now a strong CDP (Chef de partie) who continues to push daily to ensure that my dreams come true.

This year, 2 other British Virgin Islanders and I co-founded Nyammin’ – a supper club that celebrates all things Caribbean. One of our main goals is to enhance Caribbean awareness through cuisine and culture. A Nyammin’ experience is the ultimate lime filled with great nyams, live music & entertainment, drinks and of course rum. Each experience highlights different islands which inspires the evening’s theme & menu. At our official launch, we celebrated the BVI and served traditional nyams like peas soup and coconut tart alongside BVI GIN cocktails and authentic Soggy Dollar Rum Painkillers. This year we’ve celebrated the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis & Barbados. I’m excited to curate the menus and share food we grew up loving with the world.

Years ago, being a chef was not deemed as an actual professional career at home but more so just an extra benefit when feeding the family. Despite the traumatic circumstances that led me to the UK, my new surroundings reinforced that the career possibilities as a chef were endless. Times have changed and it is time to showcase that we British Virgin Islanders can be a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world.