5 Minutes with the Chef: Timothy Hill, Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa
In this series, we speak to some of the country’s busiest chefs and ask them to share a favourite recipe. In this edition, we talk to Executive Chef Timothy Hill, who joined the Centara Hotels and Resorts chain in 2011. He was recently part of the inauguration of two new hotels in Mauritius and one in Fiji. He has worked at hotels and restaurants in all parts of the world, including Australia, Tasmania, Thailand, Mauritius and Fiji. He currently works as the executive chef at Centara Ras Fushi in the Maldives. Chef Tim also gained experience working as the executive sous-chef alongside the first-ever female executive chef at Marco Pierre White. 20 years a chef, Chef Tim explains that he is at his happiest when he sees the looks on people’s faces when they are served food he prepared. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing people being happy with food that I’ve made or created for them. That is one of the most enjoyable things in life.”
Could you tell me a little bit about your current job title and what responsibilities come with it?
My responsibilities are great here. I have 58 staff working under my supervision, and we have 4 restaurants on the island, and one restaurant for the staff who work here. I make sure that the staff get as much variety and fresh, nutritious food as the guests do, because they have to live here. I am also responsible for training the staff, and I know that a lot of the chefs we get here, in this region, do not really get a chance to go to a culinary school, so I really take it upon myself not only to work with them and guide them for the time I am here, but also to train them as much as I can to benefit them for the rest of their career as well.
Where did you train to be a chef?
I went to the Culinary Institute for Commercial Cookery and Le Cordon Bleu in Adelaide Australia. That’s where I did all my studying and training.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a chef?
Well, it’s like this. In any restaurant, resort, hotel, you get a lot of different people coming in from everywhere in the world – with the way that we travel, the world has gotten much smaller now – you get so many people from so many different nationalities, religions, and countries, and as a chef the hardest part of the job is to cater to everyone’s tastes, needs, allergies, dietary requirements and religion. And I take that very seriously because when they come here, they pay the same amount of money as anyone else, and they too are entitled to get the same quality of cuisine that anybody else gets. And I will go as far as I can to provide guests with what they request, because it’s very difficult to guess as a chef – to know what 300 people want for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, since most people don’t even know what they want themselves!
If you could eat at any restaurant in the world, where would it be?
Ah, that’s an easy one. LEE, in Toronto, Canada. The owner and chef there is a gentleman by the name of Susur Lee, and I think he is amazing. He has opened 5 restaurants to his name now, and I would love to go eat at the first ever LEE restaurant, that’s the one in Toronto. I admire him greatly for all his work.
What is your favorite dish and could you share the recipe with us?
It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite dish, because with 20 years of being a chef, the amount of food I’ve prepared and tasted is ‘gastronomical!’ Instead, I’ve chosen a dish called Roasted Mauritian Venison, and it’s one of the things I picked up when I lived in Mauritius for two years.
My Favourite Recipe: Roasted Mauritian Venison
- For the oil mixture: Cardamom 20g, Cinnamon 20g, Cloves 20g, Black Pepper 20g, Parsley 1 bunch, Thyme 1 bunch, Garlic 1 bulb.
- Venison leg/shoulder 1.5kg
- Baby Navets 1 bunch
- Baby Carrots 1 bunch
- Spinach 2 bunches
- Cauliflower 1 whole
- Brown Onion 100g
- Parmesan Cheese 100g
- Flour 100g
- Butter 500g
- Cream 500g
- Milk 1l
- Olive Oil 100ml
- Breadcrumbs 100g
Pat the venison dry with some kitchen paper, and rub the oil mixture all over it. Sear the meat in a hot pan on all sides – roughly 6 minutes for medium rare, 7-8 minutes for medium, Depending on the thickness of the meat and the heat of the pan, it may need a little less or more time to cook – so don’t look at the clock, look at the meat. This is the time when you want to try to be instinctive with your meat. Remove it from the pan when it’s cooked to your liking and allow it to rest on a plate for 4 minutes, covered with tinfoil.
Slice the venison and serve with cauliflower gratin and baby spinach puree or some other good greens. Add the meat’s resting juices to the sauce and spoon over the venison. Garnish with fried basil leaves.