Kermit Mackey was always intrigued by food as his family came from a long background of local culinarians. At the age of 20, he took on his first Executive Chef position at “The Palm Bay Beach Resort”, Great Exuma Bahamas. Some of Kermit’s work is also featured in many local Bahamian food magazines and local travel guides, where to eat. He also worked at the Bimini Bay Resort and Casino as Executive Chef, a position that would earn him various write-ups and accolades in magazines and even a five-minute exclusive cooking demo featured on NBC (Channel 6, Miami) in November of 2006. Kermit has had the opportunity to work with many big named celebrities, catering to them and their families and showcasing his Caribbean Fusion style of cooking. Still wanting to do more to showcase his heritage and flavors of the Bahamas, came the birth of Chef Ray’s Taste
of the Islands Inc., his very own catering company, which allows him to reach a wider array of people sharing his unique cooking style and flavors.
Tell Readers about Chef Ray’s Taste of the Islands Inc and what inspired you to start it?
The inspiration to start Chef Ray’s Taste of The Islands Inc. came while wanting to do more to showcase my heritage and flavors of the Bahamas and Caribbean. With the help of Chef Star, who is also from the Bahamas, we decided that it was time to create a company that was able to reach a wider audience. A catering company which allows me and my team to reach a wider array of people sharing our unique cooking style and flavors. We also aim to spread our belief in which the company motto and mission go hand in hand, “Providing Each and Every Client with a One of a Kind Experience” and “Promoting Caribbean Tourism through Food and Flavor”.
What’s Unique about your Restaurant?
Authentic flavors that you can only find by visiting us or trying our food, we make everything in house from scratch. The way we treat you from the minute you walk in the door to the minute you walk out, we strive to give our customers that “One of a kind experience” that they won’t find anywhere else.
What are three tips for running a successful restaurant?
Tips for running a successful restaurant, be patient in your plans, your location and knowing the demographic of your client. Create a team of like minded individuals who will take your dream and make it their own, by taking ownership, you are only as great as the team you build. Stay true to your customers always deliver on expectations, remember for all the glory in business it takes only one bad review to take it all away.
What are some of your goals for the future of Chef Ray’s Taste of The Islands?
Chef Ray’s is only the beginning, it is intended to be the parent company to four unique culinary concepts that’s intended to all become reality over the next few years. Chef Ray’s Signature Products is our Line of Special Sauces, Infused Salts, Chutneys, Salad Dressings and Hot Sauces. The Bun Shop, which is our Caribbean-Asian inspired quick bite outlet that we plan to franchise. Da Island Hut, which is our Caribbean inspired take-out and delivery, intended on franchising. Island Flares Restaurant and Lounge, which will be our flagship fine dining island inspired eatery that will also house Chef Ray’s Taste of the Islands Catering Co.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
It starts with the dream of owning your own business, but don’t rush the process take into account all the factors. Do your research, study your target market and make sure that everything is perfect or as close to perfect before you get started.
What’s the best advice that someone has ever given you?
My mother always drilled into me growing up to put God first in all things, when it comes to my work, my talent, my ideas of business I simple say a prayer and allow the Lord to lead. Mind you there is still work to be done this is just a covering on that work that it may be done right.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I have been in the Culinary industry for nearly 20 years giving my age. Also the amount of celebrities that I have cooked for in my career that I have never shared with my followers. To list just a few, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Lionel Richie, Mark Wahlberg, Steve Harvey, George Lucas, The Jonas Brothers and the list goes on.
What’s your favorite meal?
Hands down my favorite isn’t a meal per say but an ingredient, which is a shellfish commonly found in the Caribbean and South America called the Conch. This beautiful oversized sea snail is found in a beautiful pink shell found in the shallows on grassy beds. It’s my favorite because of its versatility in being creative, I personally have over 100 recipes with different flavor profiles and cooking techniques for this shellfish. The Bahamian myth behind this shellfish is that it’s the baby maker it is said to raise the mans libido. It can be dried for soups, eaten raw as a ceviche, cooked in rice, fried and the list goes on.
Who would be the worst Celebrity to have dinner with?
In terms of having dinner with a celebrity, I honestly can’t say who would be the worst, because over the years of breaking bread with the few that I have had the pleasure of dining with it was just that a pleasure.
Name three things on your bucket list?
I would like to travel the world some day just to experience the food and cultural scene, to successfully bring all my business dreams to reality and to one day learn to fly a plane.
How can everyone keep in contact with me on social media?
Simply by following us @chefraystasteoftheislands on Facebook and Instagram. Email: Chefraytasteoftheislands@gmail.com or check out our website coming soon for updates on what we are doing, http://www.chefraystasteoftheislands.com.