Mr Echasseriau, who comes to St Lucia from St Peter’s Bay Resort & Residences and Port Ferdinand Marina & Residences in Barbados, brings over 26 years of experience to his position having enjoyed a distinguished career in the kitchens as an Executive Chef, and in the last five years, as Director of Food and Beverage at some of the best restaurants and hotels around the world.
A native of Brittany, France, and the youngest of five siblings, Daniel began his culinary career at 17 years old, studying and working every weekend on the west coast of France for private villas. But even before that time, he knew cooking was his calling.
“As a child, my entire family worked on a farm in the small village of Severac. My mother took care of us all preparing meals using the produce straight from the farm. When the food was served at the table the taste was unbelievably flavourful, the smell of the fresh products and the old pot on the stove are flavours and image that will always stay on my mind” said Echasseriau.
“The passion and drive that my mother had for cooking and the way she prepared poultry, game, and vegetables to create incredible flavours from simple ingredients was a true inspiration to me. I think this experience honed my passion for vegetables and all of the fresh produce of the garden,” said Echasseriau, who continues to use and adapt many of the recipes he learned as a child in his mother’s kitchen
“To this day, my mother remains as my greatest inspiration. She was cooking all the time. No matter what she was cooking, it always smelled good, even from far away when we were arriving home from the farm.”
From his early start, the chef continued to work his way up through the kitchen ranks with stints at a number of top international restaurants including Midsummer House Restaurant in Cambridge, England; La Maison Restaurant in Holetown, Barbados; the Coconut Residence in Gambia, West Africa; La Samanna, Belmond Hotel in St Martin, French West Indies; Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa, French Polynesia;and the Rosewood Corniche, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Throughout his extensive career, the Caribbean has always held a special place in his heart. In fact, taking up his new role at Marigot Bay is somewhat of homecoming for Daniel who worked as Executive Chef at The Body Holiday, Le Sport in the north of the island 16 years ago.
“I love the Caribbean and Saint Lucia in particular. I am really excited to be back on the island and working with some of the loveliest, hardest working people in the world, in one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Echasseriau said.
“The island has evolved quite a lot in the time I have been away. There are still challenges, but it is easier to get ingredients and high-quality produce now and I plan to capitalize on this and establish relationships with local suppliers to create a true farm to table experience for our guests.”
Wellness will also be central to Echasseriau’s culinary ambitions and he plans exciting changes at all of the resort’s food and beverage outlets to give each one a unique identity. His to introduce concepts that will not only be attractive to resort and marina guests, but also to locals and expatriates living on the island.
“I’m excited about what’s ahead. I believe we have a great team and the ability to create something really special here,” Echasseriau said.
So, what’s on the menu at Marigot Bay Resort and Marina?
From elegant treehouse dining to casual tropical tastes, there’s something to suit every palate. Nestled in a bay described as “the most beautiful in the Caribbean” by the novelist James A Michener, guests can enjoy culinary delights that are more than equal to the stunning surroundings.
With beautiful views of Marigot Bay, The Grill at 14°61° features an open-plan show kitchen with hand-crafted wood-burning grill where chefs perform their own version of culinary theatre in full view of diners, adding a touch of drama to each meal.
Breakfast is also served here overlooking the infinity edge pool and the yachts moored and anchored in the tranquil inner bay with a wide selection of fresh fruit and pastries and hot meal items such as banana pancakes, traditional Saint Lucian saltfish and bakes, and tasty omelettes prepared a la minute.
Guests can also eat, drink and be pampered without leaving the pool. Tropical cocktails and other refreshing beverages are served at the Pool Bar while hourly complimentary treats are offered at your sun lounger. The Brut Bar features a selection of local ceviche, sushi plates, salads and seafood dishes along with burgers and sandwiches.
The Rum Cave offers special tasting and blending sessions for novices and connoisseurs alike to enhance their "rum experience'. In the evening, diners enjoy a quiet drink and dessert in the open-air lounge. There is also a private dining room available for small groups.
At the centre of the MarinaVillage, the Hurricane Hole is the beating heart of the bay featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner and a full bar and food described as relaxed and fun. The menu features a wide selection of appetizers, sandwiches and crafted cocktails by expert mixologist. The pastry chef prepares freshly baked treats complemented by exotic ice-creams.
But this is just the beginning of the story, as guests are encouraged to look beyond the walls of the formal restaurants and to enjoy all of the fabulous locations the resort has to offer. They can choose the time and the place and the resort’s talented chefs will devise a personalised menu to suit their occasion and tastes.
Whether it’s an intimate dinner a deux in the stunning treehouse, a celebration dinner surrounded by lush garden foliage at the Palm Pavillion or in the more formal Boudreau Room, a romantic Champagne soiree on the dock surrounded by the crystal waters of the Caribbean, or a simple meal under the stars on the balcony of your suite, Marigot Bay’s culinary team can turn the most challenging request into an opportunity to shine.
Images: Marigot Bay Resort and Marina