When you think about a vacation at a Caribbean resort, you probably envision beautiful beaches, crystal blue water, and days of lounging. Although you’ll be sure to dine during your stay, food may not be the focus of your trip. However, food can play an important role in your memories from the trip. Having had the best dish ever or found a restaurant with great charm will enhance your memories.
Last week I spoke with Executive Chef Matthew Boland of The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba. At this resort, Chef Boland has been tasked with overseeing all of the restaurants, creating menus to please every palate. He seems quite skilled at this role and was eager to talk about his role as a chef.
TT: As Executive Chef at The Westin, how many of the restaurants fall under your supervision?
CB: There are eight restaurants here, all of which are my responsibility.
TT: With that many restaurants to oversee, how often do you update the menus?
CB: We make changes to the menus every three or four months. As there are many favorite dishes, we tend to make minor changes to the menus.
TT: One of your bigger restaurants here is Pago Pago. What type of cuisine does it serve?
CB: This restaurant serves modern Caribbean food. One of our more popular appetizers is the Blue Crab Cake. These are Maryland blue crab cakes served with green apple salad, a polenta stack, vanilla-passion fruit aioli red pepper coulis.
TT: What entrée item on Pago Pago’s menu is reflective of that same style of originality?
CB: Our Macadamia Crusted Grouper has been well-received. It is broiled grouper served with white wine sauce and tropical fruit relish. This dish tends to be one of our most ordered items.
TT: Another one of the bigger restaurants at the resort is Café Baci. What is unique about this restaurant?
CB: It is a Roman Trattoria-styled restaurant whose chef is Sicilian. He brings many classic recipes from Sicily to our diners. One of the dishes we are known best for is the Spaghetti al Formaggion that is prepared tableside.
TT: You had mentioned that The Westin is hosting the PACO conference. What is that?
CB: PACO is the Pan-American Conference on Obesity. This week-long conference has the goal of ending childhood obesity. I think it is a fabulous goal and am glad to be participating.