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I love the fact that the fish is fresh

After eleven years cooking in the desert chef Karl Blunden is finding life on an island the perfect oasis.

The executive chef at the Reefs has held culinary management roles in Egypt, St Lucia, Hong Kong and most recently in the United Arab Emirates.

For the past four-and-a-half years, he was the complex executive chef at Four Points by Sheraton in Dubai, where he oversaw 11 dining venues and room service at two hotels.

Before that he was the executive chef at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.

“In Dubai we were very lucky,” he said. “We could get pretty much anything we wanted. I think island life is going to be a challenge. In Dubai, I could call my suppliers and get Coffin Bay oysters from Australia delivered the next day, or French truffles or whatever the next day. Here, I think you need to be more organised, and plan carefully because getting food onto the Island isn’t as easy as picking up the phone and saying ‘send me a kilo of this or that’. It is a bit more challenging.”

He is still getting to know the lay of the land, but already he can see some advantages to living on an island, such as the freshness of local food.

“What I do like is that the phone goes at 8pm and it is the local fisherman saying he has just caught a snapper or a tuna,” he said. “That is very cool. You wouldn’t get that in Dubai. Someone delivered some rockfish the other day and it was from the ocean and on the menu in the same night. There was no processing or air freight or anything. That is great, using that local fisherman and the local produce. I think I want to do more of that with the menus.”

The Reefs is now looking at changing its menus at its restaurants.

Coconuts’ dinner menu has had an extensive makeover.

“However, I have tried to keep Bermudians’ favourites on the menu,” said Mr Blunden. “I don’t want to go too radical as I don’t want to upset the clientele. A lot of people have been coming to Coconuts for a long time. Roystons will open on April 1 with a new menu and concept. That will be a surprise, but it will be something a bit different and something new.”

Mr Blunden had never visited Bermuda before relocating here.

“I have travelled all over the world and never experienced as warm of a welcome as I did when I arrived here,” he said. “It is exciting to be back on an island after living in the desert for the past few years. I’m also thrilled to be part of the team at The Reefs, which has such a strong reputation both on Bermuda and worldwide.”

Mr Blunden is originally from Kent, England. He wanted to be a chef from a very early age.

“When I left school I was 15 and I never really wanted to do anything else. It is strange because there are no other chefs in our family, but it was always something I wanted to do. When I left school I went to catering college in England for two years. Then I went up to London and did my apprenticeship for six years. Then I started to travel.”

He has three hobbies that are all well suited to Bermuda living he loves to play golf, enjoys scuba diving and also likes to fish.

Reefs Chef Karl Blunden ( Photo by Glenn Tucker )

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Published March 30, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated March 30, 2012 at 8:43 am)

I love the fact that the fish is fresh

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