This week’s Chef in the Spotlight is Ricky Gopeesingh Executive Chef at the Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa. Born in the Caribbean and being of Indian heritage has provided Gopeesingh with an instinctive culinary creativity that is rich and diverse in many cultures, Indian, Asian, African, Spanish, French and British. This melting pot of ethnic backgrounds has been a natural resource for Gopeesingh, of techniques, ingredients, and styles of cookery. From country club kitchens to independent restaurants Gopeesingh has put his stamp of worldwide culinary cache on many menus in South Florida and currently doing so at the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa since November 2009. I present this week’s Chef in the Spotlight, Ricky Gopeesingh.
South Florida Food and Wine: You have a very big job as Executive Chef of the Jupiter Beach Resort overseeing all the food and beverage outlets; how do you manage it all?
Ricky Gopeesingh: We have a great staff here at the resort, from our Sous Chefs, line cooks and stewarding staff we all work as a team with everyone knowing there roles. We are only as strong as our weakest link hence one of my primary roles is to ensure that we have all the tools, product and staff to accomplish our culinary goals. An ability to teach and effectively communicate with staff members can never be underestimated for it is paramount in ensuring that the product we produce is consistent at all times. Our professional work environment always guarantees that the clients are being well taken care off for we are only as good as the last plate produced.
South Florida Food and Wine: Sinclair’s recently underwent a physical renovation and a new menu launch as well. Where did the inspiration come from for the new menu?
Ricky Gopeesingh: Inspiration always comes from my Caribbean heritage and my Island home of Trinidad which is a melting pot of many cultures. First settled by the Spanish substantially conquered by the French and then the English which brought in many different ethnic work forces to include Indians, Africans, Asian, Lebanese and Chinese. Each contributing something to the island’s cuisine.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one go-to ingredient and why?
Ricky Gopeesingh: I don’t really have a go to ingredient what I do have is a philosophy. Great ingredients with texture and taste profile and a lot of eye appeal. In short it always has to look and taste good.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Ricky Gopeesingh: It will be my favorite child hood dish; Curried Chicken with Cumin infused Dahl, Steamed Basmati Rice and Spicy Lime Cucumber. It’s also my ultimate comfort food.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would like to cook with and why?
Ricky Gopeesingh: Julia Child. After moving to NYC in the late eighties there was a cook book left by the pervious tenant in the closet. It was Julia Childs “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. At that time I did not think that I wanted to be a chef, cooking was something that I did. Becoming an Architect was my true aspiration. But I kept the book. Working in gourmet shops and restaurants in the city while attending college with some really talented young NYC chefs my life’s path changed and the book had become a great resource and inspiration for me. As the wife to the US ambassador to France wife in her early fifties Julia Child was a stranger to Paris but never the less adopted that city and was inspired to learn its cuisine. And was the first really significant French cook book to ever be written by an American. Stranger in a big city conquering its cuisine. I could really relate to that.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Ricky Gopeesingh: It would a buttermilk bleu cheese with a great glass of Pinot Noir or Cab.
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at, other than at Sinclair’s or Sandbar and what did you order?
Ricky Gopeesingh: That would be Prime Steak House in Delray. Crab Cakes Appetizer and NY Strip Steak with Brandy Peppercorn Sauce.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
Ricky Gopeesingh: I really like cooking for my friends and family the most especially when I am off. There is nothing like sharing good times and god given gifts over great food and wine.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Ricky Gopeesingh: I really like working with my hands love to grow gardens, plant flowers and working with wood to build things. It may not seem like a lot of fun to some but I can personally tell you its very rewarding.
Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa 5 North A1A, Jupiter,FL 33477
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