Ricardo Josue Jr. is from the Philippines. He is a qualified aircraft mechanic but, in Saint Lucia, he is renowned as a talented chef. So why the change of location and profession?
“I went to Dubai in 2004 due to lack of opportunity back home. Someone helped me to find a job in a kitchen. At first it was very tough for me because I had no idea what kitchen life was all about. On the first day I cried because I did not know how to control the temperature gauge of the boiler and I ended up spoiling the food. Imagine: I had to prepare oxtail soup and all the meat was broken up while the potatoes were still hard like a rock! But then I realized that it was just a challenge for me, and I like challenges. I said, ‘Bring it on!’ My feeling was, the more work you give me to do, the more I sharpen my skills; like when you polish the diamond, you make it more shiny.”
Ricardo’s Filipino mentor became a chef in Saint Lucia, at The Edge in Rodney Bay. When he was ready to take up a new post, he called Ricardo and invited him to apply for the newly vacant position. Ricardo reminisces, “When he said that it was in Saint Lucia, I said, ‘Where’s that?’ and he replied that I should Google it. I did, and I saw that it was small! But it also looked a lot like the island of Mindoro, where I am from. I felt it was my destiny to come here.”
Readers can experience Ricardo’s expertly prepared sushi, sashimi and signature rolls at Crew Lounge on Sushi Deck at Harbor Club next to Rodney Bay Marina. Open 6pm-10pm Monday to Saturday, with a ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ Friday night special event.
Ricardo arrived in Saint Lucia in 2008. After working at The Edge for a year, he progressed to The BodyHoliday where his experience in Asian cuisine was demonstrated at Tao restaurant. His skills resulted in an invitation to open another restaurant: Rituals Sushi in the IGY Rodney Bay Marina. Then on 1st January of this year, Ricardo transferred to Harbor Club where he is proud to be the Sushi Chef at Crew Lounge on Sushi Deck, with input at the resort’s other dining areas. He says, “Working at this new property is good for me as it gives me more room to grow. Expectations are high and I enjoy a challenge like that.”
Ricardo has three pre-teenage children. So what does he cook for them? “Anything they like! I’ve introduced them to different cuisines like Indian, Thai, Singaporean, Korean, Japanese and, of course, Filipino and some Caribbean food.”
TT wondered how Ricardo spends his spare time.
“I have a vehicle; I’m the kind of guy that loves to drive. For example, I could buy a smoothie here in Rodney Bay but I would drive to Marigot, just for the fun of it. I like adventure: ziplining and scuba. And, of course, I love going to the beach with my friends.”
And for the future? “I see myself in Saint Lucia because this is a wonderful place to live, especially for the children. Life is quiet here, not too fast and not too slow; it’s all ‘smooth sailing’. Don’t forget, I’m an island boy – I feel at home, even though I am far away from my original home. But I consider Saint Lucia my home now, and I love this place!”
Tropical Traveller would be delighted to hear from readers telling us how they ended up in beautiful Saint Lucia, whether to stay here long-term or passing through. Email the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org