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Top Chefs in the Caribbean

Top Chefs in the Caribbean

by Hope Heldmar

You've been thinking for weeks about your vacation. You know you want to stay on a beautiful beach in the Caribbean, but that's where you're stuck. There are so many places to choose from. So why not let your stomach break the tie by choosing a spot that's home to one of the Caribbean's top chefs? Here's where you should go to please both your tan and your taste buds.

When you're talking about great chefs in the Caribbean, it's hard to ignore Michael Dannecker, the Executive Chef at Three Palms Restaurant inside the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Jamaica. Dannecker is known for battling his way through an island-wide competition that required him to take 13 mystery ingredients and create a culinary masterpiece in only two hours. Now, he holds the title "Chef of the Year" for Jamaica. So make sure to visit the Hilton Rose Hall to sample his culinary super-creations. We recommend the Ackee and Salt Fish on Bammie Chips for starters, and the Callaloo Stuffed Chicken Supreme for an entree.

Hungry yet? Well here's another great chef who's sure to work your appetite into a frenzy. Check out Chef Charlie Wagner, who mans the Ruth's Chris Steak House at the Aruba Marriott. He spent 21 years as a pastry chef, so his desserts are definitely tops. But that doesn't mean you need a sweet tooth to enjoy Chef Wagner's creations. At Ruth's Chris, he leads the kitchen in preparing Midwestern corn-fed beef to such perfection that this restaurant won "Best Restaurant in the Caribbean" according to Caribbean Travel & Life magazine. That's a steak that's guaranteed to be sweet.

If you're not into steak, don't worry. We know a top chef whose signature cooking style features intense flavors made by vegetable juices, fruit essences and herbal vinaigrettes. He's none other than world-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who has overseen numerous Star restaurants worldwide. He also published several cookbooks and appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and Top Chef amongst other shows. You can visit Chef Vongerichten restaurants in the French West Indies and Puerto Rico, as well as the Bahamas. Check out Dune restaurant in the Bahamas or Sand Bar in St. Barths for a taste of his distinctly delicious cooking.

There's also a new crop of chefs popping up in the Caribbean. One of the chefs to watch is Alain Ducasse at the stylish W Retreat & Spa on Vieques Island. His beachfront restaurant, Mix, is known for applying French techniques to Caribbean flavors. He was the first chef to own restaurants with three Michelin Stars in three different cities. At his latest place in Puerto Rico, you can sample local Puerto Rican specialties like mofongo, a tasty fried plantain dish.

If you really want to eat well while on your vacation, visit any of these top Caribbean chefs' restaurants. No matter which one you choose, you're guaranteed a great meal.

Featured resorts

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

5 Nights w/Air from $1,199 Meals not included