Monday, April 22, 2024

Chef Creig likes it hot and spicy


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Creig Greenidge had a passion for cars and thought he would go into that field. He also  saw himself being either a barber or chef.
He still has that passion for fast cars and he cuts his friends’ hair but his real love is cooking.
The Christ Church resident and past student of Foundation has won Barbados Chef Of The Year twice – 2005 and 2007 and was runner-up in 2006.
Creig said he grew up with a family that cooks and he discovered his love for it when he started to prepare breakfast and lunch for his mum Jannis, who was working two jobs.
“When I got into fourth form at Foundation there were three boys who were in the Home Economics class – myself, Pedro Harris and Bryan Harris and we all are now professional chefs.”
Creig recalls doing the associate arts degree in culinary arts at PomMarine in 2000 and working part time at a supermarket to pay for school.
The day he completed of his final exams he went outside the room to see head chef Anthony Forde of the Dining Club waiting to offer him a job.
“I was working at PomMarine in between my studies, doing functions and such and doing an internship at the Dining Club. I wanted to be like a sponge – soaking up everything I could.”
Creig worked for three years at the Dining Club, moving on to various hotels such as South Beach where he went from sous chef to executive chef in “a matter of months”. He then went to Sea Breeze as executive chef and also Sandridge Hotel and the Sugar Cane Club.
 Creig got a chance to fly the Bajan flag high – as ambassador chef for the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association – being the featured chef for a week, sometimes two weeks in kitchens in Brussels, Brazil, Ireland, Britain, and also in the United States in places such as Atlanta and New York to name a few.
Creig has also competed at the Taste of the Caribbean competitions from 2005 and was also an assistant coach for two years.
In 2008 Creig realized that his “creativity and passion had outgrown the hotel sector” so he left and formed his own company, CM Catering.
“Back then my life became being a chef. I would spend hours at work. I now set my own hours. I am my own boss. Plus I got married and had a daughter [Ayoka, now four years old] and family became very important to me.”
Family is so important wife Marsha is his partner in life and in business, helping Creig run the day-to-day operations of his catering company.
Creig has done many events in Barbados – from
Crop Over to reggae shows. Creig has a love for Asian-Barbadian fusion dishes and Caribbean curries: “I love the sauces . . . the way they use fresh vegetables.”
The chef has also been a staple for the past four years at the Food & Wine and Rum Festival. As a member of the Barbados Culinary team, for the first years he was assigned to prep for Canadian chef Rob Feenie. Then the next two years he was brought on to work at the Bajan Fiesta. This year he did Ambrosia.
“I had great reviews on my dish. I love the atmosphere there . . .  the camaraderie between all the chefs. I made some personal contacts that I am looking forward to capitalizing on.”
One of those is Food Network’s Aaron Big Daddy McCargo who came over and introduced himself to Creig that night and said he would keep in contact.
During the interview at his house one of his employees brought us two cups of hot chocolate with tiny marshmallows, without us asking.
“That is what I like about these guys. I choose people that fit me and fit my style of cooking. No one is more important than the other. They all know how important they are to me.”
Creig has taken almost 40 people from the non-tourism sector and trained them himself. And some of them work on Friday nights with him at his Gall Hill residence where he has a food banquet set up selling fish, chicken, pasta, salads, a special BBQ sauce that is a secret recipe and the special “Chef Creig Spice Chips”.
This Christmas, dinner will be at mum-in-law Delores Hunte’s. Last year it was at Creig’s.
“I love Christmas. The day before I have a catering job but the next day is for family. As a dad and husband, I definitely put my wife and daughter first. I try to make sure they, my family and my staff who are my extended family are secure.”
Creig hopes to open a restaurant and use his style of cooking to entice patrons. “Not too fine dining. I want a place where anybody can come in and eat. I love people.”
Creig said he could have been a cricketer (dad Alvin was a member of the West Indies team that went to South Africa during the apartheid regime) but said he didn’t like the many comparison to his dad and instead chose basketball at high school, said his guiding mantra is “stay humble, passionate and love what you do. Always respect and understand people in terms of their likes and dislikes, especially when it comes to food”.


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