Cindy HutsonOrtanique on the Mile
In 1994 award-winning chef Cindy Hutson met her life partner, Delius Shirley. With an inherit passion for cooking, but no formal training and three kids to care for, Hutson was hesitant to open her first restaurant venture. Hutson’s culinary style, which was heavily influenced by her love for food all things food, is inspired by “Cuisine of the Sun,” a self-coined approach that means to create without limits and cook everything under the sun.
Against the odds and with the extra support of Shirley, Hutson took the leap of faith and that same year opened Norma’s on the Beach. Rave reviews touted Hutson’s cuisine as “the best Caribbean restaurant in South Florida” and national support from USA Today, The New York Times, London Times and Chicago Tribune, Chef Magazine and also Eater who named Hutson “Chef of the Year” (2012) helped set the pace for what would develop into a thriving culinary future.
More than 20 years later the dynamic duo has built a culinary empire with the successful opening- and operation of- more than eight award-winning concepts. Huston’s culinary approach has been long rooted in the support of utilizing what is local and indigenous to the land, which can be seen in her many regionally-inspired Caribbean concepts.
“I thrive on teaching about our earth’s bounties, edible history and the indigenous ingredients that are regionally prepared,” says Hutson about her culinary inspiration. “Being a chef has been an experience beyond imagination; there are no boundaries, only new opportunities and trends unfolding daily at my door.”
Currently Hutson runs three restaurants, her now sixteen-year-old love-child, Ortanique on the Mile (Coral Gables, Florida), which opened with Esquire and Bon Appétit acknowledging it as one of the “Best New Restaurants” and Condé Nast Traveler awarding it as one of their “Hot Table” concepts; her six-year-old Ortanique on the Crescent at Camana Bay on Grand Cayman Island, which is consistently top rated in the Caribbean. In late 2015 she opened a Cindy Huston-concept restaurant in Negril, Jamaica called Zest on the Cliff in the Cliff Hotel and Spa.
In the start of 2015 Hutson published her first cookbook From the Tip of My Tongue, which is a “best of,” of all her famous recipes. Which won Best Woman Cook Book in the United States 2015 by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Early 2016 she will open Zest and Zest mrkt in Miami’s booming business district, Brickell. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant will have an adjacent market, both inspired by Asian, South American and Caribbean culinary influences.
When Hutson is not in the kitchen, she can be found lending her culinary expertise to the food community by hosting events, intimate cooking classes and also working with Certified Angus Beef and the National Pork Board, both of which she acts as their culinary ambassador. Hutson has also served on the board of the Miami-Dade County Culinary Council, Idaho Potato, and Egg Board as their “Egg-cellent” chef.