We are pleased to announce Chef Duane Shand has joined us as Executive Chef. Born in Trinidad and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, Florida, Chef Duane has worked at some of the world's leading restaurants including: Bad Saint in Washington DC, the Royal Mail Hotel in Australia, Asador Etxebarri in Spain, among others. Below is an interview we did with Chef Duane so you could learn more about his culinary background and his work.
1)Tell us about your background — places you have lived, where you grew up
I am from Trinidad, a small island in the Caribbean. I moved at a young age to South Florida and lived in various parts of Florida until graduating from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Orlando. After graduating, I moved to northern Virginia and worked at a small farm to table restaurant called Vermillion in Old Town,Alexandria. From there , I traveled to Australia to work for one of the best chefs in the country,Chef Dan Hunter at the Royal Mail Hotel. After returning I took a job back in Washington DC with chef Tony Conte at the oval room restaurant, working my way up to sous chef. I left after for a short stint in Spain at Asador Etxebarri. I traveled back to DC as a Chef de Cuisine of the Oval Room and later helped open an award winning Filipino restaurant called Bad Saint as the Sous Chef.
2) When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I kind of fell into the profession. I have always been cooking since I was young, helping my family in the kitchen. I originally went to school for business, after realizing it wasn’t for me, I attempted to take a year off of school. My father wouldn’t let me waste a way a year not doing anything, he suggested I try culinary school since I liked to cook. I enrolled shortly after and never looked back.
3) What inspires you?
I’m inspired from everything around me, I love traveling, learning about new cultures and eating new foods.
4) What is your culinary vision and favorite cuisine to make?
I would love to make West Indian food a more recognizable cuisine, I don’t get to cook it as often as I would like, but it’s definitely a part of my culinary influence. It is what I grew up on and the food I crave the most. Aside from that Asian food is my go to.
5) What appeals to you about The Perfect Provenance and being the executive chef?
The Perfect Provenance is very similar to what I would do if I opened my own place. Its like inviting people over for dinner. It’s small, intimate, and friendly. I prefer smaller restaurants, I think it allows me to have more of a connection with the people eating.