I can count on my fingertips the number of restaurants in the Bahama out-islands that I would travel to just for the day so as to keep a lunch reservation. Before you consider such a notion a ridiculous one, do consider this: traveling to any out-islands from the capital, New Providence, requires little more than an hour flight time, if that, whether flying North or South, East or West. Sixty minutes, far less time than the average American spends in their car per day.
Most recently the restaurant to top such a list has been edited to include Flying Fish Modern Seafood on Grand Bahama island. Considered one of the most anticipated experiences of 2014, a few weekends ago, on a Saturday, we did just that, flew to Freeport, Grand Bahama to have lunch. Not just any lunch however, but one that began with calamari in brown butter powder aside kalamata “olives”, a plate on which chemistry and food intersect, and ended with learning how Chef Tim Tibbitt’s and his wife Rebecca put their philosophy in to motion each and every day. A philosophy that is as noteworthy as the food is complex, deeming him an Island Connoisseur in every way.
Flying Fish Modern Seafood is. . .
A complete reflection of myself as an artist in every facet (the chef, the designer & the musician) as well as a symbol for what can be done in an economically tough market with a completely Bahamian staff. No one believed we could do what we have done in the Bahamas, especially Grand Bahama, with a completely Bahamian staff. Personal accolades aside, that’s the thing I am most proud of.
You have recently been asked to cook for the James Beard Foundation, what does that mean to you as a chef?
As a Bahamian chef, I don’t really qualify to cook at Beard House. I was incredibly lucky to have a great celebrity chef offer for me to join him there. Anthony Lamas from Louisville Kentucky’s Seviche has been seen everywhere lately on TV. He is a good friend of a friend and she introduced us. This will be his fourth time there and he was incredibly gracious enough to allow me to join his team. We will be presenting a 5 course tasting menu on July 10th, Bahamian Independence Day.
Your favourite Bahamian dish?
It’s a toss up between really good chicken souse and really good cracked conch. It really depends on my mood.
Your favourite ingredient grown in the Bahamas?
Without question it would be the stone crab. It is one of the most beautiful flavoured ingredients anywhere and I feel so lucky to have such a great supply of it at my doorstep. I also adore fresh yellowfin tuna. Especially if I caught it!
Your favourite ingredient, in general?
Butter! (and high quality salt like Maldon or Fleur de sel)
What inspired you to perfect the 64-degree 75-minute egg?
We wanted to do something truly unique for our brunch experience at the restaurant. We tried cooking eggs sous vide at every temperature from 62 degrees to 65 degrees in .5 degree increments. Then at time intervals of 15 minutes. The 63 degree egg is excellent and we use it for things like pasta where we want the yolk to become the sauce, but the 64 degree egg yolk has a texture you can only get here, doing it in this method. The yolk is basically confited into a gel. You can spread it like butter but is not grainy at all. It’s a miracle of science really. We use science a lot here.
If I had the opportunity to experience Flying Fish Modern Seafood only once in my lifetime and never again what would you recommend I order on the menu? 3 courses please.
That’s really difficult because the menu changes constantly but for sure you must start with the grilled calamari. That dish is me on a plate. Simple but extremely complicated at the same time. Very rustic but still highly elevated. Then if there is any incarnation of my 72 hour shortribs-definitely get those! Dessert is always a toss up. We change the menu constantly and have had some amazing desserts but the only thing that remains constant is our cheese plate. We have a large selection of cheeses that we keep in house. I am a cheese fanatic. I eat it every day. We do some artisanal cheeses and then some funky other preparations to make it a truly unique plate.
My top three cooking essentials are. . .
Black carbon steel pans, my Shun Fuji series knives, an immersion circulator (and a vacuum seal machine to go with it).
In one word, Flying Fish Modern Seafood is. . .
My island personality is. . .
Grand Bahama. I was born in Nassau but this is the one place on earth that I have finally found a real home, sense of purpose and a want to improve the lot of every person who lives here.
Thank you Chef Tim for being a part of The Experience.
| PHOTO CREDITS | Chef Tim captured by Lyndah Wells Photography |
| Cuisine captured by Vanessa Pritchard |