Dane Saddler is a national award winning chef with over 15 years’ experience in fine dining cuisine under his belt throughout the Caribbean. He is the founder of Caribbean Villa Chefs, a company offering private chefs for villas, private homes and businesses in the Caribbean region. Dane has appeared and hosted several cooking shows in Barbados and has audition for The Food Network in the USA. His popularity continues to grow and he has been a featured chef in local food festivals in Barbados for the past 5 years.
Dane has taken personal interest in health and wellness, offering his clients not only the tastiest but the healthiest in cuisine. He has extended his culinary reach and partnered with local farmer both traditional and organic in accessing and offering fresh ingredients His company, Caribbean Villa Chefs now offers a healthy cuisine line focused on offering healthy convenient options to the health conscious market. He works with the Heart and stroke Foundation, the council for Non Communicable Diseases and the Ministry of Health in Barbados to promote and educate the public on making food choices beneficial to their health and in doing this has partnered with the OGCA (The organic growers and consumers association) to promote organic produce and the benefits of healthy eating.
Sharing some personal history: How did you become a (very young) chef and how you got interest in cuisine?
While at school, I discovered my love for cooking and the opportunities available to chefs, so I focused my studies and training on that career goal, plus this was the only thing I could see myself doing long term. I went off to Johnson and Wales in Miami and completed my degrees in Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. From there I returned to Barbados where I did several stints in hotels and started traveling regionally managing kitchens. My biggest accomplishments to date are forming and growing Caribbean Vila Chefs in a regionally recognized company, giving the featured Alumni address on "Agribusiness and the importance of Agriculture to the economy" at Queen's College in 2014 and working with IICA and the CTA in speaking on the importance of Agribusiness.
You have contributed to link farmers in organic to the hospitality sector. What are the successes so far and opportunities you see in sourcing more food locally?
Food is an essential part and necessity of any society. With local dishes being a key part of Barbadian history and western influences becoming more prevalent being able to showcase local ingredients in new and appealing ways to both young and old, tourist and locals alike and educating them in the process has been one of the key successes. Also locally sourced ingredients are more nutritious as fresh is always best. I use the local food festivals, cooking demos and TV shows as well as various social media platforms food festivals to reach the masses. This benefits both the consumers seeing these crops being used in exciting new ways and also create demand for the crop thus creating a larger market for the farmer to access.
You have a special interest on promoting healthy sustainable food and contribute very actively to consumer's education to help them to make healthy choices. Could you tell us more on such a critical issue and what should be done to strengthen it?
Non Communicable Diseases have become a great cause of concern now with the influx of fast foods and straying from the use of local produce and increase of processed foods. PAHO recently release statistics saying that 80% of deaths in Barbados are related to NCD's. And also childhood obesity is also on the rise. These put a strain on our population and also our healthcare system with more money having to be spent on treatment for these diseases rather than prevention which is more effective.
- More information needs to be made available on the benefits of eating local,
- teaching them how to prepare local, convenient and healthy meals because the sad truth is a lot of person don't know how to cook or use these items correctly
- Educating children in making wise food choices
- the importance of reading and understanding labels
- the social and economic effects of an unhealthy country.