Island of Dreams...
Sometimes ~ Dreams Do Come True!
Although I am a frequent visitor to St. Thomas, navigating the "inner circle" of the hospitality industry can be somewhat harrowing. Especially when people know I'm in town for business and not pleasure.
In 2003 while consulting for The Pointe Restaurant on St. Thomas, I heard about this "couple" Kirsty and Ryan. She was the magnetic personality and manager behind a pool side restaurant and he was a sous-chef for a new trendy restaurant known as Noche'.
My mission on this visit was to locate "new talent" for the Pointe Restaurant. Not such an easy task in the islands. Sifting through the culinary talent pool on such a small island is like navigating the reefs at the entrance to Anegoda. Who's hot ~ who's not, who's available ~ who leaving the island, who has talent ~ who ~ who ~ who ~ can you trust with your business?
In doing my research at places like Secret Harbor, the Martini Bar, Epernay, and other watering holes frequented by the "hospitality crowd", the names Kirsty and Ryan kept coming to the surface. They seemed to be the darlings of St. Thomas. I even had customers at the Pointe tell me ~ you have to meet this couple! So my mission was set ~
Like a great undercover operative I set the wheels in motion, putting out the 'word' ~ I was interested in meeting with them. I had learned early on they only came as a team. My search took several days but suddenly I was given a phone number ~ "call this number and tell them I told you to call." Those instructions were conveyed to me in the shadows of the Martini bar by a restaurant manager from Frenchtown. The messenger completed her directions by saying; don't tell anyone else about the meeting! I was excited ~ this was getting good ~ I can almost hear the theme of I SPY playing in the background.
After a few missed calls ~ I finally connected with Ryan and arranged for a quiet 'out of the way' lunch at Randy's Bistro.
This is how it works ~ when someone is looking to leave a restaurant position, the moves play out like a chess match, you never want to expose your next move. If the management finds an employee is looking to leave ~ they will be fired on the spot. So this clandestine approach has some merit but in the islands it can be taken to the extreme.
As you would assume ~ we met in a quiet corner booth at Randy's for a midday lunch. Immediately after introductions I understood what all the fuss was about. Kirsty had a New Zealand accent and bubbling personality and Ryan with an all American smile completed this unique team. The 'vibe' they send out is amazing. They have the ability to pull you in and appear as one ~ one in tone, one in passion while complimenting each others talent. Perhaps they can be best described as, "the darlings of the Caribbean". If American Idol had a culinary show ~ this couple would win hands down. They are a true couple ~ a team ~ drawing from each other to create something quite magical. Add to this chemistry Kirsty's people skill and restaurant talent and Ryan's creativity as a chef and you have a very powerful force.
Although they viewed my offer to work at the Pointe Restaurant with careful consideration and professionalism I realized they needed their own space. Both Kirsty and Ryan wanted to put 'their mark' on the island ~ and so everyone's search continued. But ~ I did get to make some great new friends.
Now it's time for the happy ending. As you may have read in this blog ~ The Pointe became Oceana. As Oceana was being created by the famous chef, Patricia LaCorte, both Kirsty and Ryan were busy creating their dream.
Fast forward to 2004 ~ Megan's Point Resort comes alive as INDIGO Restaurant sweeps the island like an October storm. Yes, Kirsty and Ryan's dream has come true. Located pool side with a view of the surrounding hills by day and a galaxy of stars by night Indigo becomes the hottest restaurant on St. Thomas. My two visits there in April confirmed that both Kirsty and Ryan deserve all the success that is coming their way. How hot is it? Pan the dining area (or should I say pool) ~ if you're in the know you'll see Chef Patricia LaCorte of Oceana enjoying dinner on her night off, Alain' Piroux , Food and Beverage Director of the Ritz Carlton, Jen manager of Secret Harbor Resort among a bevy of foodies from around the island. Although the ambiance is wonderful ~ the crowd is there for the food.
Indigo has a great bar with restaurant seating around the pool or in a covered pool side dining area. The menu is new ~ unfortunately it was not published before my departure however one evening Kirsty and Ryan gave me a sneak peek. It's all good ~ so order whatever moves you. Ryan's creativity is showcased not only on his menu but also the daily specials ~ they are truly special. One final thing, the service ~ it can be a bit slow ~ but who is in a hurry on vacation? The reason for the slow pace is somewhat justified, Ryan needs a bigger kitchen. A work in progress so I am told. With that said please know this service staff is fantastic and deserves your patience. They all have supported this fairly tale couple, leaving some impressive jobs to help their friends. So be patient and tip BIG ~ they deserve it!
Ok ~ enough rambling about my two friends at Indigo. Simply said ~ if you find yourself on St Thomas ~ make a reservation! Mention my name ~ Kirsty will smile ~ then make you wait at the bar ~ :)