A native of Providenciales, Robin’s culinary career has spanned over 6 years, and she has represented Team TCI at multiple events, including Taste of the Caribbean, Caribbean Food and Wine Festival, and World Gourmet Summit. Robin was awarded Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Junior Chef of the year in 2016, and has been inducted into the CHTA’s Hall of Fame which led to her receiving one of the TCI’s National Young Achievers Award in October 2016. Recently graduating with her Bachelor’s of Science in Culinary Arts Management, Robin Simons is ready to take on the culinary world.
How did you become interested in the hospitality & tourism field?
I first became interested in this field after taking the Food and Nutrition subject for my final two years of high school. From that, I went on to the Turks & Caicos Hotel &Tourism Association (TCHTA) hospitality summer camp where I got hands-on experience in a restaurant setting and it was there that I developed this love.
How did you begin in this industry?
I began by attending the TCI Community College studying the course Culinary Arts.
What were some of your early roles in the field?
My first role was as an intern. I completed internships at the Grace Bay Club, The Palms and Gansevoort hotels.
What are some big projects you’re working on now or that you’ve finished in the last few months?
The past few months have been quite busy for me. In July, a team of chefs from the TCI, along with myself, travelled to Antigua for a competition where we won first place in the Culinary Grand Prix International. I also graduated from the University of West London in July, obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management. I spent the month of August in Edinburgh, Scotland where I was an intern at Number One, the Michelin-starred restaurant located at the Balmoral Hotel.
What advice would you give someone who is considering this type of job or field?
It’s a great field to be in; however, you have to be willing to put in the work as there are many long hours. My advice would be to always be open to learning new things. Be teachable; hands-on experience is definitely the best teacher. Carry a notepad/book and always take notes; it can be about what or how you did something, recipes, or methods of production.
If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself?
If I could do it all over again, I would indeed choose the same path for myself. I love what I do and plan on continuing to succeed as I progress in this field.
What’s next in store for you?
I am now working on achieving my Food Business Management degree as I begin studies this September. After my course, I’d like to work and gain a lot more experience and exposure in different kitchens. My future goal is to one day open my own catering business or food outlet that will showcase Turks & Caicos native cuisine.