Hiring a Private Chef in Anguilla

Hiring a Private Chef in Anguilla

Guide to Hiring a Chef for Your Island Getaway

A private chef seems like a lofty idea, and perhaps unnecessary on an island as fabulously foodie as Anguilla. Yet, for many guests to the island, a romantic private dinner a deux or a private chef for a weeklong villa experience with friends is just what the vacation doctor ordered. There’s a personal touch, and the menu is catered to your palate and dream dining experience. What’s not to love?

We’ve been testing the waters with private chef services on a nightly basis at our new villa in Anguilla, which has allowed us to learn how to approach the process of collaborating with a private chef.

And it should be a collaboration. The entire process should be somewhat consultative in nature. How many people? What’s your style? What are you looking to achieve? To work effectively with a private chef and have it wow you, both parties need to understand the other’s expectations. Based on our experiences, here’s a quick guide on how to work effectively with a private chef, whether it’s a one-off experience for a special night on vacation, or services spanning your entire getaway.

Find Your Chef

Hiring a Private Chef

1. If you’re staying at a villa, the owners or property managers will likely have recommendations to share with you. At Frangipani, we’ve been vetting chefs ourselves to find out whose style vibes best and which chefs offer the easiest experience from start to finish. We’ve had some bad eggs, but in the process we found our keepers.

Understand the Payment Terms

2. For some people, this may be a non-issue, but for many of us, it’s important to know how this process works from a financial perspective. Chefs operate in different ways and it’s important to understand what you’re getting into so everything ends as happily as it starts. Are you paying per hour or per person? Some charge a flat rate for a fixed number of people with a cost per head beyond that. Know how they operate on this front. Once you figure out that price, dig deeper. What exactly does that price include?

For many chefs we’ve spoken with, a quoted fee doesn’t include the cost of food. You may need to provide the chef cash to shop. They should return the change and all receipts. Is service charge included in that cost? Some chefs include a fee of 10%, 15% or more on top of the final bill as a mandatory service charge. What about service? Some chefs have quoted us a price that includes a chef and a server, while some charge an additional fee for service and clean-up.

Some may prefer to bartend themselves and choose their own wines, but if that’s something you’re hoping to add on, some chefs can bring in a bartender or sommelier to help craft cocktails or create a wine pairing menu with dinner.

Do know that the cost of hiring a private chef can vary hugely so don’t always assume it’s out of your budget. Many chefs will provide pricing for a one-off dinner vs. an entire week experience, with pricing becoming incrementally more enticing with more people in your party.

Ask for Inspiration

Hiring a Private Chef in Anguilla

3. If you’re hiring a professional chef, they should be able to provide you with sample menus or some inspiration for your dining experience. As we’ve learned in the past: if they can’t articulate what they can offer, then you probably don’t want to be a guinea pig. The chefs we’ve had the best experiences with were able to share sample menus they’ve created in the past or were able to consult with us to craft a menu that fit our tastes and interests. Don’t be afraid to ask them to send over some inspiration – most chefs are happy to send over previous menus they’ve crafted to get the ball rolling and gauge which types of cuisine interest you.

Communicate What You Want

Private Chef in Anguilla, Hiring a Private Chef

4. Chefs work with a huge variety of diners with different tastes, dietary restrictions, and ideas about the dining experience. Communicate what you’re looking for, or at the very least communicate what you’re not looking for. Any dietary restrictions? Be sure to tell them! Do you prefer bold flavors or do you shy away from spice?

Ask if they have specialties – you can use these or modify them to fit your taste. Chat about what a typical dinner looks like for them: is it three courses? Is it family style? Dream up what you have in mind and see how that vibes with their style and their abilities. Not a dessert person? Let them know to scrap dessert and add a pre-dinner snack (e.g. shrimp cocktail, ceviche, pita and hummus, etc.) or pre-dinner cheese plate instead.

If you’re looking at hiring a private chef for the week vs. a single dinner, talk to them about stocking your kitchen in advance for different meals and be prepared to provide a list. With a high-end villa like the Villa at Frangipani, we communicate with guests prior to arrival to provide a checklist if guests are looking for stocking services prior to arrival. Generally it’s good to come up an idea of what you want and what will make your dining – and snacking! – enjoyable.

Wanting to hire a private chef for an upcoming stay at the Villa at Frangipani? Email our concierge at concierge@frangipaniresort.com to check out sample menus and get recommendations!

What are your thoughts on hiring a private chef? Have you ever hired a professional chef on vacation before? 

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

This post appeared in its original form on The Wanderlust Effect

Five Romantic Experiences in Anguilla

Beachfront lazing on one of Anguilla’s 33 beaches is arguably a romantic pursuit in and of itself. So, how do you up the romance factor when you’re escaping with your other half on a getaway centered on disconnecting with the world and connecting with each other? If you’re heading to the island, here are five romantic experiences in Anguilla for you and that special someone:

Sunset Sail on Tradition Charters

Tradition Sailing, Anguilla

Honestly, how do you beat the utter beauty and tranquility of a gorgeous sunset? Watching the sunset while sailing across the Caribbean with a glass of champagne in hand.

Tradition Sailing knows how to make a sunset experience on the sea extra special, keeping your glass full with champagne, rum punch or a crisp glass of rose. Sailing into Little Bay at sunset is nothing short of magical. Join for one of their shared charters or charter the boat for your own private sail.

Read about our sunset sail on Tradition.

Dining on the Water

Five Romantic Experiences in Anguilla

Dining in Anguilla leaves visitors to the island spoiled for choice: there are a number of world-class dining experiences in settings that are amongst the world’s best. For most couples, a beachfront dining experience with the sound of the Caribbean Sea as the evening’s soundtrack is the ultimate in al fresco dining.

For upscale Caribbean fare, try Straw Hat Restaurant on Meads Bay. For French cuisine, make a reservation at Jacala, and don’t discount their lunch — it’s one of my favorites! Other romantic upscale favorites include Mango’s for a seaside experience and da ‘Vida (go on a Thursday to be serenaded by Omalie 360!) located on Crocus Bay. Continue reading →

Anguilla’s AHTA Gala

AHTA Gala, Anguilla

Anguilla’s ‘Rising Star’ at the Frangipani

On December 5th, Frangipani’s management team took part in the island’s AHTA Gala to honor the island’s best, from Anguilla’s best ferry service to Employee of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. In addition, Juman Hughes, Frangipani’s nominee for Employee of the Year joined the team for the evening.

AHTA Gala, AnguillaAnguilla Entertainer of the Year

Frangipani General Manager, Scott Kircher, had the honor of presenting a special award for the evening which went to Entertainer of the Year, Sprocka. Sprocka is a great friend of the resort, and his much-anticipated Christmas album makes it to the island this week {you can get your copy at Petals Boutique beginning this weekend}.

An extra special honor went to our very own Juman Hughes, who won the AHTA’s newest award, the Rising Star award, which recognizes an employee on the island who has overcome obstacles in life to excel in the workplace. As anyone who has stayed here can attest, Juman certainly excels! The win was an exciting one not only for Juman, but for the entire Frangipani family. Cheers, Juman, for a great three years and for an incredibly bright future ahead!

AHTA Gala, AnguillaAHTA Gala, AnguillaAHTA Gala, AnguillaAHTA Gala, AnguillaAHTA Gala, Anguilla

Thank you to Keroy Browne for capturing some extra special moments!

 

August Thursday Beach Party

Private party at the Frangipani Beach Resort

After the madness of August Monday had come to a close, we were gearing up for Thursday’s events. The Meads Bay boat races takes place on Thursday, making the Frangipani the perfect place to watch the races while taking in the energy of onlookers.

In honor of the races, the resort hosted a private party for in-house guests, complete with live music, appetizers from Straw Hat restaurant and a DIY bar to whip up rum cocktails. For many, it was the highlight of Carnival week. Floating in the pool, watching the boats take off, and listening to the Mussington Brothers play while the sun began to set was absolute perfection on every level. Check out this quick video of the Mussington Brothers in action – absolutely incredible:

Here’s another quick clip captured on an iPhone:

Below are some of  pictures from the day’s festivities:

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Frangipani Beach Resort, Anguilla, BWI

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Were you here for Carnival week? What were the highlights for you?

xo from Anguilla,

Shannon Kircher

Cruising with Tradition Sailing

Sailing in Anguilla,

Amidst the fun of snorkeling, diving, kitesurfing and stand-up paddleboarding, there’s something so great about the simple pleasure of being on a boat. At the Frangipani, that often times involves heading out our power boat, Relentless, visiting off-island cays and exploring beach bars that dot the island’s perimeter. On one occasion earlier this year we headed on a boat trip that was extra special, a sunset tapas cruise on Tradition Sailing.

Operated by Laurie Gumbs (of Pumphouse fame) and Deb, his partner-in-crime, the Tradition experience has been fine-tuned to give guests an incredibly unique and memorable experience. When the sunset works in your favor, it’s bliss to the nth degree. The vessel is a traditional West Indian sloop that provides an experience markedly different from a typical powerboat. Considering the historical and cultural significance of sailing in Anguilla, a traditional sailboat is an homage to the island of yesteryear; a slow sweet sail from Sandy Ground with a cocktail in hand and the wood beneath your feet.

Tradition Sailing AnguillaTradition Anguilla

Tradition has a slew of offerings from a half day Little Bay sail to a custom, tailored experience in the form of a private charter (I’ve often thought this would be perfect for a small wedding party or a family trip). Along with another couple, we were fortunate enough to hop aboard the sunset tapas cruise, one of their newer offerings this year where guests not only get to sip on delicious mimosas but also get to nibble on bites from an extravagant spread while the sun sets (think decadent cheese plate, veggie platter, salmon blinis, etc). Continue reading →

Donating to the Blowing Point Youth Development Center

Pack for a Purpose

Smiles, laughs & thank yous from the BPYDC

As you may recall, our team at the Frangipani Beach Resort pioneered the Pack for a Purpose project on Anguilla. Through the program, visitors to the island – not just guests at the resort – can bring necessary supplies for us to donate to the youth program. The center, run by one paid staff member and a slew of volunteers, is run entirely on donations. After a couple of months of collections, we had 96 pounds of goods; everything from books and flashcards to watercolors and construction paper donated by a number of incredible individuals that have helped us get this program off the ground.

We were lucky enough to take the supplies to the youth center and see the kids’ faces as we delivered bag after bag of gifts. The children at BYPDC wanted to say thank you to everyone who has helped to make this possible thus far:

The pure happiness, gratitude and excitement in the air was remarkable – it’s a wonderful reminder as to why we adopted this program in the first place. It’s an opportunity for us give back to the island and to help guests do the same. Before we could even finish unloading, kids had taken books and begun reading; some started chatting about what they were going to do with their new arts and crafts supplies.  Below are a few snapshots of the kids digging through their new supplies.

Anguilla, Caribbean Youth Programs

Blowing Point Youth Development Center

Anguilla, Caribbean Youth

Anguilla, Caribbean Youth Programs

Anguilla, Pack for a Purpose

Blowing Point Youth Development Center

Anguilla, Caribbean Youth, Pack for A Purpose

If you’re interested in donating supplies during your trip to Anguilla, please visit our Pack for a Purpose webpage to see what supplies will be most beneficial to the center’s efforts. For more information on other countries working with Pack for a Purpose, please visit their site. Thank you to the Blowing Point Youth Development Center for working to create a program like this in the first place. We’re honored to be a small part of such a great project!

Caribbean’s Best Hotels for Food

Straw Hat Anguilla, Frangipani Beach Resort Anguilla, Best Resorts in the Caribbean
Frangipani makes an elite list of places to stay & dine

We like to think that the marriage of the Frangipani Beach Resort and on-site restaurant Straw Hat is a match made in heaven. Set right in the middle of Meads Bay, the property buzzes during the day while guests dine beachside ordering up fan favorites like the ahi tuna bahn mi and the all-too-addicting plantain chips. At night, the place sparkles both figuratively and literally; the product of a perfectly lit backdrop and the glowing personalities of staff.

When Caribbean Journal put out their list of the Caribbean’s Best Hotels for Food in April 2014, we were excited to look through the 25 property slide show, which recognized the coalescence of two important elements for a great getaway: luxurious accommodations and fabulous dining. Sharing space with notable properties like the Four Seasons in Nevis and Eden Rock in St. Barths, the Frangipani Beach Resort + Straw Hat union made the list. We are truly proud and honored to be recognized within a dynamic and ever-evolving Caribbean landscape, and specifically within Anguilla, a culinary gem within the region.

Straw Hat lovers, let us in on your secret: What’s your go-to order when you’re dining at the restaurant?


In January 2014, Straw Hat Restaurant was recognized by Fodor's as a Top 10 restaurant in all of the Caribbean.

 

Frangipani Partners with Blowing Point Youth Development Center

BPYDC
Frangipani Beach Resort’s Scott and Shannon Kircher at Blowing Point Youth Development Center

Frangipani Works Up New Initiative with Pack for a Purpose 

The Frangipani Beach Resort is proud to announce its newest community initiative, working to enhance the offerings at the Blowing Point Youth Development Center (BPYDC) in Anguilla’s Blowing Point area. Through a partnership with global nonprofit Pack for a Purpose, this new initiative will allow visitors to the island to donate supplies based on the needs designated by the staff at BPYDC.  The program is open to all visitors to Anguilla. All tourists, expats and locals are invited to participate in bringing necessary supplies to the hotel property where donations will be complied and donated to the center.

Blowing Point Youth Development Center provides after school programs for children, with alternating days for primary school and secondary school children. The organization works to bridge the gap between school, college and the workplace for all children and young people in the community. Staff and volunteers at the center provide ongoing support and guidance to youth in the area of academics and life skills. The facility is staffed by volunteers from the island and is able to provide services through the generosity of donors in Anguilla and abroad. Blowing Point Youth Development Center was the first of its kind in Anguilla and now has two sister progams, the H.O.P.E. Center in the East End and the Care Center in Island Harbour. The Frangipani intends to extend its partnership with Pack for a Purpose to these two sister centers as the initiative gains support from visitors.

The Frangipani Beach Resort is the first property in Anguilla to partner with Pack for a Purpose to improve the offerings for youth in Anguilla. The needs list for Blowing Point Youth Development Center and organizational profile can be found here. Supplies outlined by the center manager include basic school supplies in addition to larger items like printers, speakers and A/V equipment to integrate technology into after school lessons and programs.

Pack for a Purpose works with resorts around the world to positively impact communities by assisting travelers in making meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. The organization has been awarded the Global Vision Award by Travel + Leisure and was chosen as the Editor’s Pick for Digital Initiatives.  Pack for a Purpose is a certified 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax-deductible for American travelers.

Snapshots from BPYDC

Blowing Point Youth Development Center, Anguilla Youth Center, Anguillian Youth

Blowing Point Youth Development Center, Anguilla Youth Center, Anguillian Youth

Blowing Point Youth Development Center, Anguilla Youth Center, Anguillian Youth

Blowing Point Youth Development Center, Anguilla Youth Center, Anguillian Youth

Blowing Point Youth Development Center, Anguilla Youth Center, Anguillian Youth

Blowing Point Youth Development Center, Anguilla Youth Center, Anguillian Youth

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For further information about the Frangipani’s community initiatives, please contact Shannon Kircher at Frangipani Beach Resort by phone at 264-497-6442 or by email at shannon.kircher@frangipaniresort.com.

Day Trip: Prickly Pear Cays

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On Friday, we took some of our guests out on a boat excursion, beginning at Prickly Pear and ending at the Frangipani Beach Resort with lunch at da’Vida in between. Prickly Pear was a new experience for most guests, even for the Anguilla veterans with years of adventures under their belts. There are two islands that make up Prickly Pear: Prickly Pear East and Prickly Pear West, both uninhabited. On the eastern cay, there are two establishments perched ever-so-perfectly on the beach. Johnno’s, of Sandy Ground fame, has a small satellite beach bar there (though it’s not open regularly). Prickly Pear Restaurant, with a main restaurant and a pop-up stand on the beach, provides affordable frozen concoctions ($6 for coladas and daiquiris) and a great lunch menu.

The trip is a bit further than more well-known Sandy Island, with a trip time of about 25 minutes each way. We headed north towards the openness of the Atlantic as flat Anguilla became masked by mountainous St. Maarten. As the clouds moved away and the sun came out, even the faint silhouette of Saba was visible in the distance.

One guest asked us why the islands are called Prickly Pear Cays. I have no legitimate answer for that. We’ve since asked around our offices at the Frangipani to see if locals had any insight, but we’re still stumped. Someone offered up the thought that perhaps the islands are shaped like prickly pears. Our assumption is that prickly pears once grew on the islands, giving them their moniker. If anyone knows the real story, please share in the comments below!

Some snapshots from beautiful Prickly Pear

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Have you visited Prickly Pear before? What’s your favorite off-island cay when you’re in Anguilla?

This post appeared in its original form at The Traveling Scholar.

Day Trip: St. Barths

Earlier, we shared our excitement about flights offered by Trans Anguilla Airways, and now we’re sharing our experiences for guests interested in bringing together a Caribbean excursion with a taste of different islands. Our first excursion with TAA? St. Barths. 

We departed Anguilla at 10AM, just as scheduled. After chatting with the team at Trans Anguilla Airways, the flight to St. Barths was half of the draw for me. I had heard about the  landing and after having experienced it, it lived up to its hype.

Despite the small plane size and close quarters, the flight was actually pretty spectacular. I personally love flying (hate airports, but love flying) so the small plane was actually a bit of a draw for me. The view of Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barths during the trip was stunning and the contrast between the islands’ topography was even more pronounced from above.  The short flight took us from Anguilla to St. Barths in 12 minutes, where we scooted into the airport and walked right onto St. Jean Beach.

Also worth noting, the AXA airport is quite possibly the nicest and simplest airport on the face of the earth. If you haven’t been through Anguilla’s airport before, you’re in for a pleasantly easy experience. We arrived about 30 minutes prior to flight time, which may have been 15 minutes earlier than necessary. Since there are inevitably only a few people on your given flight there’s not this entire production about safety, exits, etc. (though they do make sure to point out exits and make sure you buckle up). The plane is smaller than an SUV, so everything is pretty obvious at first glance.

St. Jean Beach – Anse de Lorient

After a quick landing and deplaning, we were on our way to explore St. Barths. The airport is adjacent to St. Jean Beach, home of Eden Rock Resort, which was clearly visible in the distance. Since we had opted out of renting a car, we decided to walk down the beach to check out the area and the architecture of the island. At first glance, it looked much like St. Martin: red-roofed buildings built into a sea of mountainous greenery.

Walking through the streets surrounding St. Jean Beach and Anse de Lorient, I was immediately impressed with how chic and clean the areas were. The cobblestone roads were quaint, and the brightly colored boats added to the Caribbean feel. Unlike Anguilla’s bright candy-colored Caribbean houses (think bright orange, teal, lime green, etc.), St. Barths’ homes and buildings are very French Caribbean, straight off of a Coastal Chic Pinterest Board.

Gustavia

While there’s a fair bit of nice shopping in the St. Jean area, we wanted to get out and explore different regions of St. Barths before lunch. The staff at Eden Rock was kind enough to call us a cab since there were none available on the streets. When a black Mercedes cab pulled up, I looked at Scott with both excitement and fear. Can I have them send a Kia cab? This is going to cost a fortune. As if by government mandate that all things in St. Barths embody all that is beautiful and perfect, the cab smelled like fresh cut flowers inside and the interior was spotlessly perfect. Verdict: 20 euros to Gustavia. That I could do. Do note that cabs in St. Barths are extremely expensive (not unlike Anguilla). Keep costs down by staying near the airport — there’s plenty to do within walking distance of the airport.

We made it down to Gustavia with no real plans in mind. We asked the taxi driver to drop us off at the starting point of the main shopping ‘strip’, an area dotted with boutique shops and luxury stores like Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Bulgari. I dared to window shop, but didn’t venture too much further than that. We approached the end of the strip and a restaurant that was recommended by our cab driver for a drink, a burger place called Le Select. While I wouldn’t have known any better, Scott recognized Le Select’s name as being the inspiration for Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise. Sure enough, the sign confirmed this. For all of you Jimmy Buffett lovers, I’m sure this is on your agenda.

We had about an hour before we wanted to leave for lunch and Le Select was dead but for a few weathered locals sitting at the bar inside. We decided to find a place with outdoor seating and a view to grab a drink. Just down the street, we ran into La Cantina which fit that very description.

I grabbed a margarita (no mint for my mojito go-to) and Scott grabbed a Ti Punch, the famous drink of the French Caribbean. Near the water, this place offered great views and a perfect perch to people watch. Plus, the prices were refreshingly reasonable. If you’re looking for an affordable place in Gustavia, La Cantina offers street side tapas and cocktails.

Note: If you’re taking the ferry from Anguilla or St. Martin to St. Barths, you’ll get dropped off in Gustavia on the main drag, which is perfect for walking around. There are plenty of shops and dining in Gustavia to keep you intrigued.

Lunch at Le Gaiac

We asked our taxi driver to take us to Le Toiny Hotel for lunch, a €30 cab ride. I have no idea if we were getting totally ripped off on cabs all day, but based on Anguilla’s taxi prices, I think that may be the norm. Unlike the Merecedes cab of earlier, this was a beat up old van with a wizened cab driver at the helm. €30 seemed a bit outrageous, but he explained that the restaurant was ‘across the island’. On an island that’s 8 square miles, that makes you raise your eyebrows a bit.

Lunch was one of our main missions for the day since that was the only dining we were going to experience in St. Barths. We wanted to see Hotel Le Toiny so we opted to eat at their on-site restaurant, the acclaimed Le Gaiac. On Tuesdays, Le Gaiac offers a gourmet ‘Fish Market’ prix fixe lunch special in lieu of their standard menu. For a set price, you get a three-course lunch with a selection for each course. There are certainly less expensive options (see below) but we wanted to explore the hotel for future trips to the island. With the hotel and restaurant set up on the hill, the view from Le Gaiac is a stunning one; sweeping views of Anse Toiny and the green hills that surround the beach.

If you’ve looked into a trip to St. Barths, you’ll know that dining can be very expensive. There are a number of high-end places with entree prices that will make you look twice. There are also a number of places that are reasonable by St. Barths’ standards. Do a bit of research beforehand so you know what you’re getting into. You don’t have to spend a fortune on food. There are super casual dining spots scattered throughout the island, plus grocery stores which offer easy options for a beach picnic.

Looking for something more affordable for lunch? Check out these places in St. Barths:

The Wall House Restaurant, Gustavia
Andy’s Hideaway, St. Jean
Le Creperie, Gustavia
K’Fe Massai, St. Jean

While you could easily spend a few days in St. Barths, six hours was the perfect taste of the island if you’re just looking for a glimpse. Since you’re only there for a brief period, plan your day out in advance to ensure you’re making the most of your brief time on the island. If you decide to stay by the airport, you’ll have St. Jean Beach and Anse L’orient within walking distance, plus great lunch spots and plenty of cute boutiques to do a bit of shopping. Save that cab money and spend it on lunch and a ti punch. Tres chic indeed.

This post originally appeared in its original form on The Traveling Scholar.