May 10th, 2011 10:23 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Cindy Hutson, Chef and Restaurant Owner
Cindy Hutson is a self "taught chef who developed a passion for cooking at the age of nine. Inspired and amused by the Original television culinary genius of the Galloping Gourmet and Chef Tell, she would emulate their creations on Saturday afternoons. In her teen years she was exposed to Italian and Portuguese cuisine through her best friend`s father, a successful restaurateur from New Jersey.
After high school Hutson left New Jersey to move to the sunny skies of Miami. In late 1994 Hutson met a new life partner, Delius Shirley.
With Hutson having three kids, which were her main concern, she was hesitant to go along with this new life venture. It was Shirley who convinced her to go into the restaurant business with him. In November 1994 they opened Norma`s on the Beach.
Norma`s was touted as the best Caribbean restaurant in South Florida by publications such as USA Today, New York Times, London Times, Chicago Tribune and Ocean Drive magazines. In 1996 they were awarded the coveted 5 Star Diamond Award for the fabulous dining at Norma`s on the Beach and has continued to hold that same prestigious award at Ortanique on the Mile.
Cindy did not stop there; she and her partner Delius opened two other concepts, Copra in Baltimore, MD and Bogwalk in Destin, Fl which have since been sold to new owners. They currently have Ortanique on the Mile in Coral Gables Florida, an establishment that is twelve years young and still going strong.
The couple recently opened Ortanique on the Crescent at Camana Bay, on Grand Cayman Island November 23, 2010.
The restaurant`s menu reflects the same global inspirations that created the menu of Ortanique on the Mile. The Grand Cayman location lends Hutson the ability to have a diversified Caribbean tapas menu along with her full moon Caja China pig roasts. With all the traveling between the two restaurants she still finds time to do guest chef appearances, monthly cooking classes and consulting.
When asked Are you spreading yourself too thin? Hutson replies This culinary travel is what I thrive on teaching other chefs about our earths bounties, edible history and the indigenous ingredients that are regionally prepared being a chef has been an experience beyond imagination. There are no boundaries in cooking, only new opportunities and trends unfolding daily at my door.
Want to track Cindy and her travels and events follow her on her twitter @cindyhutson https://twitter.com/#!/Cindyhutson