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Great Places to Wine and Dine in St Lucia

Parlez-vous “Good Food and Drink”?
Let me set the scene for you. Imagine the sun’s shining and the sea’s shimmering. Your tan is finally on point, your phone’s off and your vacation mode is well and truly on and if through this scene setting you happen to be heading to St Lucia, here are some of the best seaside escapes for good food and drink on the island.

Dining at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, Soufriere

Sugar Beach - A Viceroy Resort

Our top choice is for you to enjoy the delights of Chef Jacques Chrétien and his team at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort in Soufriere, St Lucia. This is one great experience you should not miss anytime you are in St Lucia. Life’s really a beach at Sugar Beach.

...it took no time at all for me to realize that he was not one to hide his light under a Bushel.

Executive Chef/Food & Beverage Director Jacques Chrétien (right) has been a Maître Cuisinier de France since 2005. A Master Chef of France to all those to whom the French language is still challenging. This is one of the most envied titles that all French Chefs aspire to have and one club every accomplished French chef aspires to join. Their motto is “to preserve and spread French culinary art, encourage training in cuisine, and assist professional development; Jacques Chretien ticks all the boxes of the motto.
It is not just about the dining at Sugar Beach. Everyone aspiring to become a Chef must meet Jacques Chrétien and I say this with conviction. As I sat in the Cane Bar waiting to meet him, I was not sure of what to expect until a confident smartly-dressed Jacques walked in; he needed no introduction; It took no time at all for me to realize that he was not one to hide his light under a Bushel. Been there, done that, with energy and a spark for life. A real trooper with 30 years of great experience under his belt. He exhibited the “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again school of thought and was very willing to share his experience and training with his team.

His very able restaurant managers Angélique Migné and Julien Jaumard were always on guard to deal with customer service issues as well as to ensure that the quality of food coming out of the kitchen is the best it can be.

Chef Jacques himself, has every reason to beam with pride. He arrived at Sugar Beach after being called-in by renowned restaurateur and owner of Sugar Beach, Roger Myers, to provide exquisite F&B service to American actor Matt Damon and his wife, Argentinian-born Luciana Barroso, when they renewed their vows in 2013. The couple who had a “no-frills” wedding in 2005 at New York’s City Hall chose the idyllic St. Lucian destination to have a big wedding. The wedding banquet for 330 guests was a great success and he stayed on to continue to offer the same exquisite great food service that charmed the wedding party in 2013.

Beautiful Places to host your wedding
Wedding banquet set up at the Bayside restaurant

Jacques’ first challenge was to motivate a local team to produce a mouthwatering unforgettable wedding banquet to woo all the high-profile guests attending the event and he rose above it; hence, a new way of dining was born at Sugar Beach. With his Maître Cuisinier hat on, he instilled trust in the local team and encouraged them to want to be trained for career progression. These remarkable results are all so evident when you look around the restaurants and see all the staff beaming with confidence and pride.

In fact, Jacques has so much confidence in his team that he can go away on a holiday knowing that everything will be fine and run as well as if he were there.

Jacques is a native of Loire Valley in France. He began his culinary career at age 15, and always knew that cooking was his calling. Born into a farming family he became accustomed to his grandmother feeding farm employees with three-square meals. Despite the large numbers, the food was always tasty. Such was the inspiration from his grandmother that he decided to pursue a career in the kitchen. 30 years on and he still uses recipes he learned as a child from his grandmother.

Jacques has so much confidence in his team that he can go away on a holiday knowing that everything will be fine and run as well as if he were there.

Jacques has worked his way up through the kitchen ranks with stints at several other top Michelin star restaurants throughout France and in Europe, including Chez Bruneau in Belgium and La Tour d Argent in Paris both awarded three Michelin stars until he opened and run his own restaurant in Saint Germain. He met his wife Sophie at La Tour d’Argent before taking his passion overseas to foresee the opening of Maxim´s de Paris in Mexico City as executive chef. He later worked at Hotel Esperanza, an Auberge Resort, and finally joined the French Riviera Bakery & Bistro in San Jose del Cabo.

The Sugar Beach Dining Experience
Sugar Beach has three dining areas, The Great Room Restaurant for a fine dining experience, the Terrace Restaurant where breakfast happens and the Bayside restaurant for a relaxed beach-side dining. There is also the Bayside Bar, the Cane Bar with its extensive menu of delicious Asian-inspired dishes. This is the place to enjoy a freshly-caught sashimi or sushi platter, stuffed tempura shrimp, tasty chicken teriyaki salad, gyozas and rice bowls. Finish it off with deep fried coconut ice cream with strawberry coulis and creamy tapioca. The Palm Court Lounge is available for afternoon tea, savories and exquisite cocktails. The whole dining experience at Sugar Beach is designed for those who really like to enjoy a good meal produced by well-trained staff and managed by an efficient team. No doubt Restaurant Managers Angélique Migné and Julien Jaumard have an excellent rapport with their staff. It was all smiles and great camaraderie all round. The whole F&B team at Sugar Beach work tirelessly to make sure that the whole experience at Sugar Beach ticks like clock-work.

Bayside dining in St Lucia
With Restaurant Managers, Angelique Migne and Julien Jaumard as they mingle with happy diners in the Bayside restaurant.

The resort operates a dine anywhere, anytime policy; Staff know what to do when a guest walks into the restaurant and there is no confusion about what the service is going to be. Such is their confidence that they even courage you to look beyond the walls of formal dining. They have beach concierges to cater for the needs of guests while they soak up the sun by the poolside or lie at the beach. Guests can also choose a time and place for their meal and a Chef will devise a personalized menu to suit the occasion, tastes and location.

lovely deserts at Sugar Beach

Coconut Bounty Souffle
Rum Ice Cream, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Dark Chocolate Ganache

 

Cocktails at the Bayside restaurant

 

Angus Tenderloin delicately prepared at Sugar Beach

Roasted Angus Tenderloin Rossini, fois gras scalope Perigueux sauce with black Truffle

Below: Mouthwatering starters from the Bayside restaurant.

Delicious starters from the Bayside restaurant - St Lucia

The Executive Traveller Experience

Executive Traveller put this to the test and we were not disappointed. Our experience started with a cocktail at the Cane Bar followed by a glass of Cuvée Theophile Gonet Champagne accompanied by a delicately prepared sushi platter in the lounge prior to sitting down a tasting dinner menu in the Great Room.

We were introduced to the Great Room and the dress code is smart casual. As we sat down for dinner, we began to appreciate the carefully selected taster menu that Chef Claudette Athanase and her team had prepared for us. Every meal was carefully paired with the appropriate wine from the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar with attention to detail throughout the service.

The Wine Cellar at Sugar Beach

The following wines were paired with our tasting menu below:
Respide Medeville Grave 2014 Blanc .
Chateau Eyrins Margaux bordeaux 2009 rouge
Mas Amiel vin Doux naturel Maury

Tasting Menu:
Fresh Alaskan King Crab
Granny Smith Apple Remoulade, Oscietra Caviar, Yuzu Sauce
Fried Crispy Frog Legs
Leek Tempura, Parsley, Spinach Coulis
Scampi Ravioli
Green Cabbage Confit, Foie Gras Emulsion, Truffle Julienne
Pan-Seared Red Mullet
Stuffed Zucchini Flower, Zucchini Caviar, Garlic Chips, Bouillabaisse Reduction

Deserts
Vanilla & Caramel Parfait
Banana Tartare, Almond Dacquoise, Hot Caramel Sauce
Coconut Bounty Souffle (in photo above)
Rum Ice Cream, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Dark Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate & Pear Mascarpone
Poached Pear, Coffee Crumble, Pear Sorbet, Hot Chocolate & Rum Sauce
Guanaja Dark Chocolate Napoleon Cream
Soft Cacao Sponge, Whipped Ganache, Macaé Sorbet

Our Verdict
Be it in the Great Room restaurant, the Cane Bar or Bayside restaurant, dining at Sugar Beach should be one of the “must do” things on everyone’s list when visiting St Lucia. It comes highly recommended.

Executive Traveller Magazine Editor-in-Chief Lyssiemay Annoh with Maitre Cuisinier Jacques Chretien and Chef Claudette Athanase of Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort
Chef Jacques Chretien with Executive Traveller Magazine Editor-in-Chief Lyssiemay Annoh and Pastry Chef Aurelien Duarte

Chef Jacques is always proud of his team. Here with Chef Claudette Athanase and Executive Traveller Editor-in-Chief, Lyssiemay Annoh post dinner in the Great Room (left photohgraph) and with Pastry Chef Aurelien Duarte, (standing left in right photoraph), the firm hand behind some of the canapes, deserts and wedding delicacies.

Can't make it to Sugar Beach? Click here for a complimentary recipe from Jacques Chretien for you to try at home:

 

Executive Traveller 2003