Cooking with class
CHEF GLENROY ALLEYNE never saw himself where he is now, running a restaurant, cooking for a who’s who, catering for exclusive functions and being part of the Barbados National Culinary Team.
“I had no love for the kitchen or cooking,” said the chef who works alongside Peter Edey at The Dining Club, Newton, Christ Church.
At age 19, Glenroy was a handyman at a restaurant called Bajan Author in St Peter, looking after the grounds.
Owner Oneal Batson saw his curiosity during the dinner preps and asked if he was interested.
“It didn’t stop there as he showed me how to open and pour a beer . . . the basic bar techniques and that became my side job on a Sunday evenings,” Glenroy said.
The restaurant was only for dinner, but then added breakfast and lunch.
“I used to go in an hour early and one day the chef didn’t come to work and he [Batson] showed me how to prepare some stuff so we could feed diners. The next day, the chef was again absent and he asked me to come into kitchen.”
Glenroy was a quick study and so impressed the owner that he hired someone to be the handyman and sent Glenroy off to do a course and then off to PomMarine, the base of the Hospitality Institute of the Barbados Community College.
“I was still young and all I was interested in was a salary. I didn’t have any career in mind. But I fell in love with cooking.”
Glenroy stayed at Bajan Author until its closure.
He then went to Almond Beach Village as senior cook and then promoted to chef de partie.
Next kitchens were a year at Accra Hotel as executive sous chef, three years at Tides Restaurant as sous chef and Disney Cruise Line on a year’s contract as junior sous chef.
The 47-year-old said the cruise line job was a learning curve.
“I saw the ad in the paper and I always wanted the outside experience. It was a phenomenal experience. I would challenge anyone who wants to be in the culinary field to try an outside experience.
“The standards, rules, quality were different. They are big on hygiene and sanitation. The amount of food cooked in a day is astounding.”
Glenroy knows his stuff. He is a culinary judge for the past ten years for the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts, hosts workshops, is the assistant coach for the Barbados Junior Culinary team and helps Edey on his TV show.
Last year Glenroy got further recognition when he was contacted by team manager Henderson Butcher, of the Barbados Culinary Team (seniors), to be a judge in the cook-off to choose the team.
“He then asked me to stay on and assist. I went to Miami with the team last year. That in itself is an honour as chef Butcher is so knowledgeable. He has a love for cooking. He then asked me to return for this year.”
Glenroy said the Miami competition, Taste Of The Caribbean, taught him a lot.
“Hearing about it and seeing it is two different ideals.
“The structure, the discipline of the chefs with time management, how you speak, your conduct in kitchen, even plating is paramount.”
Glenroy is like a mentor to the chefs in training.
“I feel a sense of appreciation. They value my input, even though chef Butcher is the leader, they come to me with certain ideas, I give them pep talks . . . . There is a connection and a bond with them.”
When Glenroy is not with the team he is hands on – at The Dining Club – in charge of two kitchens.
He gets there at 6 a.m., coming from St Lucy, and leaves sometimes at 9 p.m.
“No two days are the same. Sometimes I have to create menus, make sure the staff has their stock, if we have a wedding I work overtime.”
If you asked Glenroy to prepare a dish for you, expect something spicy and sweet. “I have a love for curry. I try to put it in everything. And molasses, watch out for my molasses touch,” he said, laughing.