Anyone who has eaten corn on the cob within six hours of its being picked knows the difference freshness can make in the taste and texture of food.
The phrase "farm-to-table" doesn't appear anywhere on the menu of Le Soleil d'Or's restaurant on Cayman Brac. However, the word "farm" does appear on the menu because when the restaurant reopened last month, it revealed "The Farm Cayman Brac" as its new name. The reason for the name is that Le Soleil d'Or's property boasts a 20-acre organic farm that supplies many of its restaurant's food ingredients.
Chef Mario Uxa says fresh menu ingredients are harvested each morning from the farm, while other ingredients are sourced directly from local purveyors such as fishermen, beekeepers, bakers and other culinary artisans.
"The Farm Cayman Brac and its kitchen create a closed loop of ingredients-driven cooking," he says. "Eating local in a place as remote as Cayman Brac is by definition a communal experience that is contributed to by many individuals in the community."
Uxa, who previously worked at Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, has a passion for Caribbean flavours and fresh produce.
"I really enjoy working with the farmers to create an ever-changing menu that highlights the farm’s freshest picks," he says. "Every day we make the most of the Brac's bounty to prepare meals that truly reflect a sense of place."
Backed by a team that includes baker Eduardo Salazar and mixologist Emmanuela Quesada — whose cocktails also make use of Le Soleil d'Or's many fresh produce and herbs — Uxa has taken dining in Cayman Brac to new heights.
The Farm's menu is not extensive in length, but instead focuses on dishes that highlight fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs from the on-site farm, sourdough bread baked in-house, as well ingredients supplied by local artisans.
Among the appetisers, mains and desserts are meat dishes as well as options for pescatarians and vegetarians.
"We have something for just about every taste and food requirement," Uxa says. "And if we don't have what a diner wants or needs on the menu, we'll do our best to prepare something that will satisfy that want or need."
The "Farmer's Cheeseburger" served at lunch might sound conventional, but when placed on a fresh homemade brioche bun and optionally topped with a farm egg, it earns its name.
The menu also reflects Uxa's experience with international cuisine. Originally from Vienna, Austria, and having worked in other countries in Western Europe and Singapore, Uxa is able to use his choices of local ingredients to impart flavours from around the globe, whether it's the Milanese style of the catch of the day fish served at lunch or the Thai style of the catch of the day served at dinner.
The Farm is open daily for lunch from noon until 3 p.m. and for dinner from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Breakfast, which is available only for the inn's guests, is served from 7 a.m. until 10 a.m.
Reservations are recommended for lunch or dinner and can be made by calling 345-948-0555, or later this month, on Open Table.
This article appears in the November 2021 print edition of the Camana Bay Times.