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Mixing careers

Natanga Smith

Mixing careers

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Thaddeus Sealy calls himself a “cheftender”. That isn’t acutally a word but it does make sense when you get to the meat and bones of it.
“It is actually a combination of chef and bartender. I have a love affair with the kitchen and the bar and was unable to choose, so I decided to do both. Both are so intricately linked that that is when the fun began. Chef by day. Bar by night,” was his explanation.
Many would have seen Sealy during the just concluded Food &?Wine and Rum Festival. He took part in the Sizzle Street Mixology Competition and came second.
“I created an Across Bim cocktail that consisted of passion fruit juice, bay leaf syrup, fresh grapefruit and white rum. I also worked alongside Barbados mixologists for the Sunday Bajan Buffet at Lion Castle.”
Sealy’s formal training started at the Barbados Hospitality Institute along with the old school art of trial and error.
“Everyone in my family could cook in some form or fashion. The interest was sparked with me assisting with Sunday lunch or helping my grandmother to frost my own birthday cake. The passion was fuelled in my home kitchen, and with my crazy and quirky ways, I recreated whatever I saw.”
Sealy took his quirky ways to Canada, to the kitchens at The Rosseau JW Marriott’s in Muskoka:?“It was quite arguably testing, but it was a chance to interact with multiple ethnicities and see some interesting cuisine styles,” he said, adding he had put in a lot of practice being a chef in friends kitchens.
Sealy, born in Eagel Hall “and raised in Clapham, St Michael” is now at the Coral Reef Club and said he works with a great team, doing the dinner shift.
His worst kitchen nightmare was when a vichyssoise turned into “carrotssoise” because somehow “the potato and leek based soup had some carrot in the mixture. So it turned out a light orange. I felt ashamed for being silly saying “I know” when to the contrary I didn’t. I was given the name “I know” for almost a year,” he said chuckling at the memory.
Better memories are associated with 2010 Angostura Challenge, where he was secretly entered by his workmates. He made the finals in his first try and placed a respectable fourth. Not bad for a chef. The next year he entered the Barbados Hotel &?Tourism Association’s National Chef/Bar Competition 2011, where he managed to actually cook and create cocktails. “So it was great fun to do dual roles. People were shocked to see me in both areas.
“Not many people know that I am a chef [since for] most if not all events I’m behind the bar.”
The “cheftender” said he is an avid Jack Daniels fan and his favourite cocktail is named after his cousin Lucinda: Smirnoff Apple Vodka, Simple Syrup, lemon juice, coconut water and apple juice (optional).
“My go-to ingredient in drinks would have to be coconut water. I am highly annoyed it isn’t used much more across Barbados. In Canada many cocktail books embrace it. We have it in abundance and our best usage is as a chaser, when it so diverse.”
On the cooking side it is a straight battle between cracked black pepper and any use of fresh herbs. The chef doesn’t have a specialty dish but when pinned down, he admits to being a lover of Asian cuisine.
Sealy has added one more hat to the pile: he is a blogger.
“I realized that some blogs were a bit dreary and heavily sugar-coated, so I had to put my extremely colourful spin on it.  Me and my friends find random ‘holes’ across Barbados to eat and drink and I blog on some experiences, good or bad, across the land.
“I am much more open and multiple friends won’t invite me over for fear of my reprisals. But with that said, the posts have had views from Trinidad to Serbia to Japan.”