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- Thursday, 02 January 2014 17:43 | Written by Matthias Tesi Baur
On January 20th 2014, the first World Gourmet Society Festival launches for one month. The Festival features 20 top restaurants (nine Michelin starred) from around the world that have created one-off menus offering their interpretation of “discovering new culinary landscapes.
For the Bahamas Executive Chef Tim Tibbitts has created a True Bahamian Menu as a contribution to the festival. Read more about the Chef Tim's menu and hs cooking philosophy in this article.
Interview with Chef Tim Tibbitts:
1. Tesi: Dear Chef Tim, some chefs discover their love for food and their gift to prepare ingredients in an outstanding way quite late, for some other it is already clear in their childhood years that they will become a chef. At which point in time did you discover your gift to prepare food far beyond normal standards?
Chef Tim: I always loved food and cooking but my first love was playing music. I tried to balance both music and food for most of my career until my early thirties when I focused completely on food. The first dish I ever cooked was Duck a’L’Orange from a french culinary classics book when I was 12 years old. My mother asked why I didn’t try something easier. I said because if it didn’t go well I had a good excuse because it was so difficult. If I messed up spaghetti there was nowhere to hide. I think it went well although looking back now I’m quite sure I overcooked the duck.
2. Tesi: The most underrated cuisine in the world is...
Chef Tim: I believe without a doubt the most underrated cuisine in the world is Vietnamese. Everyone knows about Japanese or Chinese or Thai or even Korean for their own food identity. But most people have no knowledge of the beauty and simplicity of Vietnamese food. Vietnamese food is the perfect example of the freshest produce served simply with perfect balance and harmony of flavours. Sweet, spicy, salty and sour always in perfect balance. I love Asian flavours but these are definitely my
3. Tesi: What is your favourite dish and why do you love that dish?
Chef Tim: As an eater it would be difficult to narrow down one dish but I think a really good bowl of Pho beef noodle soup would be close to my perfect comfort food. Absolutely spectacular flavour when made well. It’s just so comforting. My favourite dish I have made is my signature; grilled calamari with kalamata olive, confit garlic, capers, tomato and brown butter. Simple but a great complexity of flavour in every bite. We have used modern technique to make this dish more exciting to eat with reverse spherification of the olives and turning the brown butter into a powder that melts on your tongue. Still very traditional Mediterranean flavours but with a very modern twist.
4. Tesi: A young and talented chef is on the edge of making their decision if they want to turn their talent into a professional career or if they want to develop their skills to cook as a hobby. What would your advice be for them?
Chef Tim: These are two completely different questions and the answers are opposite. If you want to make cooking your career you must first take the plunge and go to culinary school. You may not like it but it gives you a good set of basics to work from. After that try to stage in all the restaurants you admire. Work for free to pad your resume. Then work as hard as you can to get into a top quality kitchen and absorb as much information as you can. I wish I had travelled more and worked for some bigger named chefs when I was younger as it would have made my journey faster. As it was I had to prove myself many times as an unknown head chef to establish my reputation.
If you simply want to become a better home cook just immerse yourself in cookbooks, maybe take a class or two but most important; have fun. Cooking should be enjoyable not a chore. When your hobby becomes work then you will quickly abandon your hobby.
5. Tesi: Where do you get your inspiration when you create a menu? Do you follow a method or a routine when you create a menu or is it different every time?
Chef Tim: Every menu is different. Mostly we work from the seasons. Each season brings a different set of ingredients to the front. Being on an island in the Bahamas, our biggest products are the seafood that are in our water. The migratory species are very seasonal: Tuna, Mahi-mahi, Wahoo are very seasonal fish as they move through our waters. Then lobster and stone crab have a season that they are allowed to be caught. The vegetables and fruit also are seasonal, using the freshest ingredients we can. When it comes to designing a dish, the inspirations come from all over the place. Travelling always spurs creative bursts. Even a day at the beach can produce a dish. We have taken a nod from Heston Blumenthal’s “Sound of the Sea” dish to recreate a day at the beach here. Different sea vegetables with edible sand, edible stones, different fish and shellfish, topped with sea foam. Ideas can come from anywhere. A trip to Koreatown in Toronto this year spawned a dish of pickled shrimp with Korean flavours including housemade kimchee.
6. Tesi: What does good food mean to you?
Chef Tim: Good food to me simply means taking the best available ingredients and treating them with respect. Everything scratchmade and carefully prepared. I enjoy something as simple as a great burger. But it’s still better when freshly ground and treated with care, cooked perfectly and dressed simply. Spectacular presentations do not make food great. It makes food pretty but the flavours are what hold your memory. Presentation is important but not as important as flavour and texture. A great dish should be easy to get to the end of and still want another bite. If you eat half of a dish and are happy with that, the dish was not successful.
The World Gourmet Society Festival menu to discover new culinary landscapes:
Discover True Bahamian Food
A Trio of Conch Nitro glass conch fritters, Conch Salad with dissolving vinaigrette, crack conch crackers “Mama Fry” sauce espuma
Chicken Souse “Souse” flavoured consommé, poached chicken breast, lime segment, chili pepper, Caribbean aromatics, Johnny Cake beignet
Tuna & Grits Seared Yellowfin Tuna, crispy grits, chili mayo, lime air
Chicken In The Bag Crispy Fried Chicken, Potato Pavé, “coleslaw” pureé, pipette of ketchup & tobacco
Coconut Tart Textures of Coconut, Pineapple and Raisin
Pictures of the restaurant and Chef Tim Tibbitts cooking skills:
The biography of Chef Tim Tibbitts:
Chef Tim Tibbitts was born in Nassau, Bahamas and grew up in Toronto, Canada. His interest in food goes well back into his childhood. The ethnic diversity of Toronto has always played a large part in his style having spent so much of his youth in the ethnic communities of one of the most multicultural cities in the world. His passion for Asian flavors stems from this time and was a major factor in starting his apprenticeship in the early 90's.
Tim enrolled in the Canadian Apprenticeship Program at Toronto's famed George Brown College, School of Culinary Arts. There he learned the basics of classic European cuisine, which he applied first under his mentor Roger Genoe. It was during this time that Tim developed his respect for great ingredients and technique that is still the hallmark of his style.
After many years of working through the ranks of small high-end kitchens in the Toronto area, Tim along with his wife, Sommelier Rebecca Tibbitts, decided to make a move back to the Bahamas. After successfully opening and running a modern Asian restaurant and sushi bar, Tim decided it was time to start working for himself.
Starting with the creation of his company 99/1 Food Services Management in 2009, Tim has created a brand throughout the Bahamas. In February of 2012 Tim realized a dream by opening his own restaurant, Flying Fish, in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Flying Fish is the only restaurant in the Bahamas using modernist techniques to explore the flavors of the Caribbean. Local products used in various ways exploring all the ethnic influences of Chef Tim from around the world entertain diners every night. His commitment to quality and sustainability of the products are paramount at Flying Fish. Flying Fish was recently named the best restaurant in The Bahamas and one of the Top 5 Restaurants in the Caribbean by travelvoyager.com. It is a dining experience like no other in the Bahamas.
Currently Tim is also a staff writer for the Freeport News with his column "Food For Thought" printed twice weekly. He is also a contributing writer for Bob Izumi's Real Fishing magazine in Canada as a guest chef, and is currently in production of his first TV series titled "Caught In Paradise" where he explores the beauty and bounty of the Bahamas in a new concept of food show.
To book a table at Flying Fish / Bahamas email
(quoting “Flying Fish” in the subject line).
For more information about the festival and the other participating restaurants and chefs across the world please visit
To apply for a membership at the World Gourmet Society please click: