Spotlighting the amazing individuals who live and work in the Middle Keys

No matter how many individuals appear in the pages of each edition of Keys Weekly, there are always so many more of our community members who deserve to be recognized. In an effort to shine a spotlight on more of the incredible individuals who live and work in these islands, Keys Weekly is proud to spotlight our Neighbor of the Week feature, dedicated to celebrating a community member with each issue. Today, this week’s neighbor is one of the geniuses in the kitchen at Isla Bella Beach Resort on Knight’s Key, but his story here in Marathon stretches back 17 years to a supermarket bakery.

Chef de cuisine, Isla Bella Beach Resort

How did you first come to Marathon, and what do you do here? My dad brought me when I was 17 years old from Honduras, where I was born. I started in the Publix bakery, following in the footsteps of my dad. Cooking is my passion, and now I’m a chef de cuisine at Isla Bella Beach Resort.

What would you like to be remembered for? My passion for cooking and always being cheerful.

What song always gets you on the dance floor? Bachata. I am Latino and I love dance.

What is your dream vacation? Hawaii. I love being with my family, my daughter, my son and my wife and living every moment to the maximum.

What is the last book you read or TV show you binged? I don’t have much time to read, but my favorite books are cookbooks from different countries.

What would you do if you won the lottery? The first thing would be to make my whole family happy, and then I would make a restaurant different from everyone else.

What’s one thing that is always on a menu, but you will never try? I’m a different person. I like everything you can create in a kitchen. If it is done with love, it always goes well.

What’s one thing most people never knew about you? I’m a very active person. I love what I do, I’m creative and I like to joke.

Two truths and a lie. I love what I do, I love my family, and I don’t like cooking at home. (It’s a good thing we featured a chef this week. Last week’s Neighbor of the Week, Bridget, is a little less accomplished in the kitchen.)

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received or given? My father always told me that opportunities only happen one time in life. If you don’t grab them, they go away. I tell my friends the same.

If you had to cook one meal to impress your hero, what would you make? I make whole lobsters with risotto and béchamel sauce, always with a glass of wine.
What’s the weirdest dish you ever had to make? Frog legs, but they tasted delicious.