It’s all part of a lifelong plan. “It was my goal to become a chef before I even left secondary school,” explained Greenidge with a warm smile. “I used to watch my mom in the kitchen, my dad, grandmother and uncle as well. Also, on Sundays we used to watch a cooking program on T.V. called ‘The European Chef’. I just always liked how clean it was, the stainless steel equipment, everything about it. So I said to myself, this is the direction I want to go.” In school he did home economics. Greenidge said he sacrificed leisure time, choosing to spend time in the home economics room doing extra work while his friends were on the basketball court. “But then they would want to try my food, and they loved it,” he quipped. “So, I was a chef before I knew I was a chef.”
His journey as a chef fell in step, along with his philosophy. “The most important thing about being a chef is to have people enjoy your food and staying true to your culture,” Greenidge explained. With a desire to reach a higher level, he entered the Barbados Community College Hospitality Program and received a culinary arts degree. He was “baptized” as a professional chef at DC Caterers, where he worked for several years. It was in his role as sous chef at the South Beach Hotel in Christ Church that Greenidge entered his first competition in 2005. He won “Chef of the Year”. Opportunities started taking shape and Greenidge joined the national team, traveling and making a name for himself and his country through international competitions.
This year, Greenidge opened his own restaurant. CM Catering, a popular spot, is located in Christ Church, where Greenidge grew up. “I always wanted my first spot to be close to home,” he explained. “I always say, ‘it is harder to please those you are always around than strangers’. So, if you can please the majority of people around you, then you have accomplished a lot.”
Greenidge is always in demand. So, what makes him so special? “I always cook with love,” he said. “There are a lot of accomplished chefs in Barbados, but I do it out of love. I stick close to culture, the green peas and rice, chicken stew, breadfruit chips, our own coleslaw infused with rum-soaked raisins. Our food is as international as any other cuisine.” The majority of Greenidge’s foods are sourced locally. His menu changes everyday, depending on the availability of produce. Most of what is cooked daily is sold out by the evening, which keeps his food costs low and waste to a minimum.
So, does he eat his own food? What’s his favorite dish? Does he cook at home? The typical questions asked of chefs brought warm and easy answers. Greenidge loves rice and peas, baked chicken, coleslaw. Fishcakes are his favorite snacks. His go-to dessert reads like an exotic selection — pumpkin fritter done light like a donut, served with a rum cream sauce.
And yes, Greenidge enjoys cooking at home. He also enjoys eating his own culinary creations right from his restaurant. “I sit in that chair right there,” he said pointing to a corner of the restaurant, “and eat my lunch. And if there is any left over, I take it home for dinner. On my day off I cook at home for me and my family. I always enjoy cooking on a Sunday. It’s a tradition.”
Greenidge said he doesn’t emulate any cooking styles. He has his own. However, he is inspired by others, among them Gordon Ramsey, because of his passion,
and Bobby Flay, for “getting his hands into the food.” He also admires local chefs Michael Hinds, Michael Harrison, John Hazzard and his mentor Anthony Ford. “I don’t want to be like them,” said Greenidge, “but I like what they are doing wherever they are. I stay true to me.”