Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:His culinary ingenuity is peaking at the right moment - when it counts. Twenty-four-year-old restaurateur, Stephen Hamilton, is showing no signs of slowing down in his bid to be a renowned culinary service provider.
Despite his age, this University of Technology graduate is the proud owner of Eskay Caterers based in Kingston, and has amassed several awards for his work in the kitchen.
"I have been in cooking since I was seven years old. While I studied tourism and hospitality I really had a passion to express who I am and my creativity through cooking."
His business effort, Eskay Caterers, has been gaining traction in culinary circles, a positive sign that it can be done.
While at university, he volunteered at various catering companies and did a stint as a trainee food and beverage manager at Altamont West Hotel. There, he learnt what is was like to start from the bottom and worked his way up to the top, a lesson he revealed has helped him in his business operations.
Reeling from his recent culinary achievement at Chef's Day Off in Negril, where he copped the top prize for the best lionfish dish, Hamilton has no intention of becoming complacent in his rise to the top.
His lionfish croquet coated with beet root floating on Appleton melon pumpkin cubes, served with lionfish sushi and curry tartar dip, was the meal that guaranteed his victory at the event which had more than 200 participants.
"The culinary world is very competitive. I don't have the luxury of time to go out and maintain a social life like the average 24 year-old, because I am busy with events, preparing menus for work that I have been hired to do. I am focused on growing my business so I have to balance my time efficiently," the very focused chef told Food.
The next step for Hamilton is to acquire executive chef status, an achievement, he admits, will up his repertoire.
"Being so young and operating my own catering business is something that other young persons must seek to emulate. The challenges of the economy is such that we have to be our own employers, so once you understand the business of sustaining your passion, get up and go for it," he charged
Hamilton is now getting ready for Kingston Kitchen on December 22.