Plates Of Passion: Derek Myers, Serena Simmons

October 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

Executive Chef Derek Myers, from the Island Restaurant Group, is working alongside culinary arts student Serena Simmons at the upcoming Plates of Passion event run by Bermuda Hospitality Institute, which sees local Culinary Arts students paired up with some of the Island’s top chefs.

POP Chef Myers and Simmons Bermuda Sept 2017

Executive Chef Derek Myers

How long have you been a professional chef? What inspired that choice?

I’ve been a chef now for 23 years. In the early days I enjoyed cooking, but thought I would only be in the culinary industry for a short while. I didn’t expect this career to last this long.

What is your culinary arts specialty/ favorite dish to make?

To be honest I don’t have a favorite, but fusion cuisine is always something I prefer – combining different elements to make something completely new that challenges people’s ideas about food.

Why did you agree to take part in this year’s Plates of Passion event?

This is my 3rd year taking part in Plates of Passion. I really love the idea behind it and there is nothing like it. Not only is the concept new and something I’ve never heard of or done before, it’s also a great idea and for a great cause.

What is the biggest reward for you in doing this?

Seeing the students transform is really the highlight for me. They come in shy and reserved and then we work hard during our time together and they end up pumping out some very high end plates that they can be confident in.

What is the biggest challenge in an event like this?

Doing something that has a big wow factor is always something that you have to put lots of thought and energy into. The guests who come to this event expect a lot and we have to deliver.

What’s your plan when it comes to preparing for the night? How will you try to stand out above the other teams?

The only thing you can do is be as prepared as you can be. This event is part fun and part work so you can find yourself chatting to fellow chefs you haven’t seen in a while so it’s best to not have too much to do as in the end it’s a fun event. There is some friendly competition amongst the professionals, but in the end we’re all doing this to showcase the future of Bermuda.

What do you hope to impart on your student teammate? What lessons do you hope they’ll learn?

I hope the students continue in the industry. It’s a very demanding and difficult career, but it can be rewarding also. I hope the students learn that it is not as glamourous as it seems on TV. It’s a career and you are tested every day.

Culinary Arts Student Serena Simmons, 17

How long have you been cooking? What inspired you to want to become a chef?

Cooking has always been about people to me. Growing up, all meals were a family event, so I have been cooking for as long as I can remember. My mother made sure all her children could cook to some degree, but it was in 2012 when I really began experimenting with different foods and dishes. I really liked making new things and cooking for a crowd. I want to be a chef to bring people together.

What’s your ultimate goal and where you hope to end up in this profession?

I want to go everywhere with my culinary passion. I feel like a wandering soul; I want to go all over the world and keep learning as a constant. When I cease to learn, it’s time for me to move. I also want to go into nutrition and maybe teach the culinary arts. The possibilities are endless. The adventure will continue.

Why did you decide to take part in Plates of Passion?

I decided to take part in Plates of Passion to broaden my experience as a chef. I have to take all the experiences that come my way.

How are you feeling about the event and being paired with Chef Derek Myers?

I think the event is going to be crazily amazing. I’m a little nervous on how the night is going to play out [on November 1], but I know it’s going to work out. I am a little scared of new people, but I know that I have lots to learn from Chef Derek Myers.

What will be the biggest challenge for you?

Creativity. I tend to have a closed mind when it comes to creating a new dish. I am hoping this event will help me to see all the drastically different things you can make with the same ingredients. I want to be able to have five great options for one thing, not just one great idea.

What do you hope to get out of the experience overall?

I want to be more confident in what I do; in what I cook. I want to be able to beat the clock and still have great food. Basically, I want to learn what it really means to be a great chef.

This is the second in a series of profiles of the teams behind the 2017 Plates of Passion event, a one-of-a-kind dining and fundraising event run by Bermuda Hospitality Institute, which sees local Culinary Arts students paired up with some of the Island’s top chefs.

This year’s sold-out event takes place on Wednesday, November 1; leading up to the event students will have an opportunity to shadow their mentor chef, collaborate to create recipes and then assist with meal preparation on the night.

click here Bermuda Plates of Passion

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