Bermunchies Spotlight with Chef Cella
We continue our spotlight series with another interview with Bermudian Chef Marcy Smith- Chef at the Bird Cage Café at the Young Men’s Social Club. Read all about her culinary passions and aspirations. We love hearing all about young Bermudian chefs kickin’ it up in Bermuda’s foodie scene!
Bermunchies Spotlight with Chef Cella
BM: Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
CC: I would say that I am dedicated, passionate, creative, a risk taker and determined.
BM: How long have you been interested in Culinary Arts?
CC: My interest in Culinary Arts started as a hobby - one that I wasn't that good at either. As the years transgressed my cooking skills became better and other career aspirations seemed impossible. I fell in love with culinary arts 7 years ago and decided to pursue it professionally 3 years to date.
BM: Did you further your studies overseas? If so where did you go and what did you study?
CC: I am mostly self-taught; however I am presently enrolled and studying online at Escoffier School of Culinary Arts located in Boulder, Colorado.
BM: Who would you say is your biggest culinary influence?
CC: I have many culinary influences. We could write a cookbook on the melting pot of inspiration I’ve had and still get from different cooks and chefs alike. My mom was my first influence. Being a US Navy brat we travelled a lot as a child; Japan and Hawaii being a couple of places I’ve resided. My mom would create meals based on our demographic teaching me at a young age the art of food fusion. My love for Home cooked soul food came from my children's godmother Kijuana Johnston and My "NANA" Ms. Gloria Usher. Their passion and knack for cooking homemade meals from scratch still keeps me in awe. Last but not least my professional influence is Iron Chef Bobby Flay, his charisma and creativity goes without having to say, yet he always seem to K.I.S.S ( keep it simple stupid). I am determined to work with him someday in the future.
BM: Other than cooking, what else interests you?
CC: Other than cooking ... I like to eat!! I love to go to different restaurants with friends and enjoy all different types of food. I consider myself a foodie also I have three little Bermuda onions (kids) at home who keep me quite busy and up to date on trends etc.!
BM: Where has your career led you?
CC: I spent the last summer season as Lead Chef at Tobacco Bay Beach Bermuda under the direction of Beach Boys Ltd. It was an amazing experience, our menu items where fresh , creative and VELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL (Yummy) as Bermudians would say. Presently Owner/Chef at The Bird Cage Cafe at the Young Men's Social Club located on the corner of Angle and Princess St. In Hamilton, Bermuda. Heart of the city Hamilton our menu consists of homemade burgers, fresh seafood, specialty wings and dinner Specials daily.
BM: What have been some of the highs and lows of working in the culinary industry?
CC: It takes passion and a want to pursue a career in this industry. Not all days are good days and not all the time do you get along with your teammates. You have to be able to take negative criticism despite your own personal beliefs at times. But in turn-there is nothing better than to create and execute a food experience. To have a customer react and return again and again because of something I created is my drive for being a chef.
BM: What are some of your specialty dishes?
CC: I love burgers... I can put almost any topping on a burger and create a different reaction for each one. One of my most popular creations is my Cheesy Mac Burger; 6 oz. homemade burger topped with homemade cheesy mac and my Chef Cella signature apple slaw served on a freshly baked Cake Shop burger bun.
BM: What advice would you give to a young Bermudian who is interested in pursuing a career in culinary arts?
CC: My advice to any up and coming chef is to remember to follow your passion and to mise en place (everything is in place). Keeping organized in and out the kitchen is essential!
BM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CC: In 10 years I see myself in position of Executive Chef at one of the Major hotels in Bermuda, representing my country in chef competitions throughout the world and giving back to my community by owning a few Bermusion (Bermuda fusion) restaurants throughout the island.