Chef Ashley McKinnon is back on island and she’s headed to The Fred. “After a two-year hiatus in California, I’m so happy to return to St. Croix — my island home for nearly 20 years. This opportunity to ‘Eat With Fred’ is a dream come true for me. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Fred’s team and their vision for St. Croix,” said Ashley McKinnon.
McKinnon has a strong reputation as an accomplished chef on St. Croix. She was the previous chef/owner of Dashi, an extremely popular sushi restaurant located in the Caravelle Arcade in Christiansted and the current owner of Umami, a catering company. She has received at least 16 awards since 2006, including Taste of St. Croix and the Best of VI Readers’ Poll, and she has been featured on Caribbean Journal’s Top Ten List for Best Sushi Restaurants in the Caribbean.
An obscure post on The Fred’s Facebook page last week featured a picture of a grey chef’s coat embroidered with the hotel’s logo, teasing followers that the company would soon announce who they had chosen as the chef for The Fred’s highly anticipated new restaurant, Eat With Fred.
The timing for this announcement couldn’t be more perfect. In recent years, St. Croix has firmly established a reputation throughout the Caribbean as the “culinary island.” This week, St. Croix embarks on its annual Food & Wine Experience that celebrates the talent and culinary accomplishments of its diverse residents. Chef Ashley represented The Fred at the Wine In The Warehouse event last weekend, and she is prepared to compete in Taste Of St. Croix later this week.
The Fred received 124 applications for the coveted chef position and interviews were conducted over the past several months. The selection committee, comprised of owners and top managers along with various members of the community who had taken an oath to secrecy, sampled food prepared by over a dozen of the top applicants. In the end it was Chef Ashley’s tasty and playful food combinations paired with her no- nonsense approach and calm, balanced demeanor that won her the position.
No doubt, McKinnon’s familiarity with St. Croix and her experienced sourcing quality and fresh ingredients also played a role in the company’s decision. “As I spoke to Chef Ashley, I kept thinking to myself, ‘this is someone I could work for,’” said Christopher “Topher” Swanson, co-owner of The Fred.
Eat With Fred is currently undergoing menu development and is expected to open in late 2019. For employment opportunities, visit www.JobsWithFred.com or stop by the hotel to pick up an application.
ABOUT THE FRED: The Fred is a 22-room, eco-friendly, beachfront boutique resort and spa located at 605 Strand Street, Frederiksted Town, St. Croix, USVI. The Fred intends to add a full featured restaurant and bar to its facility by the end of 2019.
For more information, visit www.SleepWithFred.com or call 777- 3733.