Chef Orlando Satchell: Connecting with People by Providing Love in Every Dish!
Updated: Apr 30
Orlando Satchell proclaimed “godfather” of the kitchen is an internationally recognized and decorated Chef. He was named the 2020 Caribbean Chef of the Year by Caribbean Journal Invest. Additionally, Chef Orlando was voted as one of the best chefs in the Caribbean region in 2018 and 2019 by Caribbean Journal. The Celebrity Chef has been living in St. Lucia for the past 20 years and has been running his restaurant Orlando’s Restaurant & Bar, which has been accredited as one of the Top Three in the Caribbean, since 2012. Orlando’s Restaurant & Bar has also been named as the only Caribbean restaurant to be observed as one of the best in the world by Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine. The aforementioned are just a few of his accolades.
Photos provided by Chef Orlando Stachell
Born to a Jamaican mother and Barbadian father, Chef Orlando shared his culinary expertise and passion internationally prior to taking residence in St. Lucia. He operated restaurants in Singapore, Miami and London. He is known for elevating the flavors and spices of his childhood, and presenting his dishes in a gourmet yet approachable fashion.
When Chef Orlando came across Caribbean Essence’s radar, it was a no brainer to reach out to him, I craved to learn more about the Chef’s career, and what has motivated and inspired him over the years. Not only that, I’m looking forward to going back to St. Lucia, to have my own dining experiences curated by Chef Orlando and his team.
CE: You were born in England of Jamaican and Bajan descent, please tell us about your childhood?
CO: Growing up in the Caribbean gave me a better understanding of ingredients. Doing chores before getting out of the house, getting up in the morning, feeding animals etc. (chickens and goats) were valuable life lessons.
CE: When did you first develop an interest in cooking?
CO: At school, I was into the Arts, although I was not a good artist. I observed mom taking an empty cupboard and making good food.
CE: What are your fondest memories as a child in the kitchen?
CO: People’s reaction to the end result of my cooking, the presentation and a clean plate.
CE: Was the interest nurtured by family or a mentor?
CO: My mom inspired me and also women in general, by their unselfish commitment to children. This has to be honored.
CE: Do you remember the first dish you prepared by yourself?
CO: Good old corned beef and rice. Any Caribbean person residing in the UK would be familiar with this dish. As a student of Caribbean descent, it was an affordable meal that I could transform into a creative dish by adding spices, fresh ingredients and also love.
Plantain Cup filled with Grille Yellow Fin Tuna and Fruit Salad
CE: Did you ever consider a different career path, or did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
CO: No, I didn’t. I always wanted to be a chef.
CE: What attracted you to St. Lucia?
CO: Saint Lucia was in my path. Things come along and you don‘t see. My first girlfriend was a Saint Lucian, Assistant Chef — Saint Lucian! I operated a restaurant in Singapore. Sir Arthur Lewis, a St. Lucian, received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1979 and Singapore took his life’s work on paper and adapted to their economy.
CE: What was the concept behind your vision for your restaurant?
CO: My goal was to make it a friendly restaurant, also home away from home with more style. Caribbean Embassies always deliver that island feeling and depict the Caribbean without losing the value of who they are. I see my restaurant as a West Indian embassy serving good food. Personal attention and the quality of who we are is key!
CE: What type of cuisine does the restaurant offer?
CO: We offer Caribbean cuisine — Ti Manje (small plates of the Caribbean, served in quality portions).
CE: Which types of Caribbean cuisines do you incorporate in your restaurant?
CO: All, but mostly Jamaican since I am of Jamaican descent.
CE: What are some of your favorite ingredients or spices to work with?
CO: Thyme, scotch bonnet, shadow bennet, and cilantro.
CE: What inspires you in the kitchen, when developing a menu or creating a new dish?
CO: Fresh ingredients like green banana and plantain presented in a unique dish,
CE: What could one expect dining at Orlando’s Restaurant & Bar?
Island Fish and Breadfruit Fries with Green Mango Salad
CO: Don’t expect food, expect an experience! Defining creativity and taking mom’s ideas and presenting them with a flavor that represents mom with the global presentation. It’s not about feeding, it is a reminder of the process of appreciating life in the moment.
CE: Your passion for food and of Caribbean food, in particular, has resulted in you and your establishment being highly decorated. In 2019, you were honored with a Gault Millau, France award and as one of the top restaurants to dine at in Saint Lucia numerous times by Trip Advisor. These are significant recognitions and now that you have brought global attention to Caribbean cuisine what is your next objective?
CO: I don’t think I have achieved the attention toward Caribbean food which I want to see, in spite of my efforts. One win does not change a lifetime of negativity. While I appreciate the accolades and recognition, I think it's time we come to the Caribbean to appreciate its cuisine. While we have many other forms of cuisine available, we should appreciate ours.
CE: What is your favorite type of cuisine and why?
CO: Caribbean, because it’s what I know. Asian and Italian inspire me because of the timing involved with the use of quality ingredients.
CE: What is your favorite dish and why?
CO: Pan-fried snapper served on coconut rice and peas is my favorite dish. In Jamaica, we have always had fish with pickled vegetables. This dish gives me the opportunity to present the meal boneless, in a more palatable way.
Rum Chocolate Fondue with Sugar Cane Fruit
CE: You are socially implicated in a few areas, how and why did you select these areas?
CO: I think it's important as humans to have an interest in life and society. Valuation of life is the cuisine! Socially allowing people to come together through food does not mean I stopped caring about injustices. I feel that my journey as a chef can contribute to people’s forward thinking. It is not just about food, but about decision making and giving people the opportunity to recognize that we are people first. Using food to bring people together is a way to do this.
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