CINDY HUTSON


Cindy Hutson is a self-taught chef who developed a passion for cooking at the age of nine. Inspired and amused by the “Original” television culinary genius of the “Galloping Gourmet” and “Chef Tell”, she would emulate their creations on Saturday afternoons. In her teen years she was exposed to Italian and Portuguese cuisine through her best friends father, a successful restaurateur from New Jersey. After leaving New Jersey to head for the sunny skies of Miami, she honed her skills as a sport fishing captain and mate on a 36 foot Bertram Yacht. It was over those years of fishing, she procured a touch for handling and preparing many ocean delicacies.

Taking time out from fishing in 1985, Hutson married Jamaican born, Charles Hutson. Together they opened Blue Mt. Imports, a coffee imports company. During her travels back and forth from the Blue Mts. and beautiful Jamaican coastline, Hutson began cooking Island cuisine. She relished in the highly aromatic herbs and spices that grew in the mountains, bringing them down to prepare fresh caught Parrotfish from the North Coast reefs. Her Island hopping included the Bahamas, Barbados, Martinique, The Virgin Islands, Mexico and more. With every island stop she learned something about that islands history and cuisine.

In late 1993 Hutson met new partner, Delius Shirley. It was Shirley who convinced her to go into the restaurant business with him. In November 1994 they opened “Norma’s on the Beach”. “Norma’s on the Beach” was touted as “the best Caribbean restaurant in South Florida” by publications such as USA Today, New York Times, London Times, Chicago Tribune, and Ocean Drive magazines. In 1996 they were awarded the coveted “5 Star Diamond Award” for the fabulous dining at Norma’s on the Beach.

In 1996 Mr. Robert Johnson owner of Black Entertainment Television dined at “Norma’s on the Beach”. Johnson too, was impressed with the restaurant, the menu, and the execution of tasty island cuisine. Shortly after, he hired Hutson & Shirley, to consult on two new restaurant concepts “BET on Jazz” in Washington D.C. and “Soundstage” in Disney World. It was Johnson who financially backed Hutson’s new “Cuisine of the Sun” at “Ortanique” Coral Gables. The upscale Coral Gables location was her new home, opening in July 1999. Hutson flourished in her larger surroundings (120 seats) delving into South American, Asian, Caribbean, and American Fusion cuisine. Famed critic John Mariani, awarded “Best New Restaurant 1999” Esquire Magazine, “Exceptional” Miami Herald, “Top 20 Restaurants” from Florida Trend, “Best New Restaurant” Bon Apetit, “Americas Top Tables” Gourmet Magazine, Mobil “4 Star Award 2001 – 2002”, “Top Ten Best List” Zagat Survey 2002 – 2003, Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” 2002, 2003 and the list goes on. In 2005-2006 Ortanique received Five Star Diamond Awards consecutively, Zagats Extraordinary rating, “Top Female Chef of Las Vegas” by American Chefs Association, and continued to receive Wine Spectators Award of Excellence.

Hutson did not stop there, She and partner Delius Shirley opened two other concepts, “Copra” Baltimore,MD and “Bogwalk” Destin FL. At the present they have held onto Ortanique Miami and Copra freeing her to do Guest Chef appearances, teaching, and consulting.

When asked “are you spreading yourself too thin?” Hutson reply’s “This culinary travel is what I thrive on teaching other chef hopefuls about our earth’s bounties and edible history. Their indigenous ingredients regionally prepared. What more could an artist ask for?

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