Fazula Alli Weekes has been cooking from the age of 14.
Learning at the side of her dad who had a private catering company, she was taught different Caribbean styles of preparing food and how to incorporate spices and different textures.
After getting married, she moved to Barbados from Guyana with her Bajan husband 30 years ago and has since then honed her skills to becoming the head chef/manager at Lemongrass restaurant in Limegrove Centre.
“I love food. I love to see the textures and different techniques used to create culinary masterpieces,” she told EASY magazine in an interview at the restaurant.
Chef Fazula, 55, has worked in various restaurants across the island, while expanding her knowledge.
She worked as a head chef at Seabreeze for 20 years, then five years at Crane as sous chef and now six years at Lemongrass as head chef/manager.
“I am still learning and gaining more knowledge,” she said, adding that she has diplomas and certificates from the hospitality institute, PomMarine.
The chef, who has won various awards, likes international cuisines and her go-to ingredient is garlic.
“It enhances the food and gives it that flavour.”
Her aim every day when she creates dishes is to satisfy the clientele appetite and make the food prove itself.
“The eye appeal counts when you present a dish, so it must look as good as it tastes.”
Lemongrass, which opens every day, serves authentic Asian cuisine.
“Sometimes guests ask for stuff that isn’t on the menu and we try to accommodate.”
She says the restaurant has repeat guests that visit from overseas who bring others to taste the culinary concepts.
Chef Fazula works a 12-to 14-hour day.
“I don’t leave until the last diner leaves,” she said, adding that she supervises a total of 15 staff members.
“It is all about teamwork.”
The restaurant is about freshness, so “we prepare all our sauces, starches and meals from scratch. We get fresh vegetables locally when they are available.”
Chef Fazula says she looks forward each day to coming to work as she enjoys what she does.
She wants to pass on her knowledge and does that daily with her staff.
“My son, who is 30, wants to be an engineer, so I don’t have anyone to pass on my knowledge to but my staff,” she said, chuckling. (NS)