The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
The Calm Kitchen
Frederic Morineau says he began his career as a “verbal punching bag.” He was working for a renowned head chef who did not take to his new young employee. “For six months, he would scream at me every day.”
“This is not what I want to do,” recalls Frederic, now the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. “I learned from that.”
What he learned and cultivated for the next several decades was a philosophy of leadership that propelled him to the top of his profession – and made him a mentor and friend to many along the way.
Born in France, Frederic comes from a long line of chefs. His mother turned her culinary talents to her own family, cooking regular multi-course meals. Her son first watched and then worked alongside her, absorbing the aromas and learning the techniques for cooking veal, layering quiche and assembling crepes.
Frederic’s talents were evident early on, and he quickly worked his way up through several hotel kitchens. But when he came to The Ritz-Carlton, first in Atlanta 18 years ago and then to Grand Cayman, it wasn’t just his culinary skills that stood out.
“I’ve worked for the company for 28 years and seen many chefs and their mood swings,” says Janette Goodman, Grand Cayman director of human resources. “Emotions and egos can run high in a busy kitchen. Frederic has decided that’s not an effective strategy.”
Instead, Frederic has worked to get to know his staff, co-workers and guests on a personal level. His fellow “ladies and gentlemen” recall when he took over the Grand Cayman kitchen at a time of low morale. He identified talented staff and motivated them to grow. He’s taken that approach so often that Frederic is credited with guiding more than 10 protégés to the executive chef level.
His career has also been marked by smaller moments of profound caring, such as when he helped an associate through a cancer scare or ensured that a young fan of his menu received her favorite meals while she was in the hospital in Minneapolis, almost 2,000 miles away.
Frederic’s approach to getting to know people, leaning in and understanding them has made a difference in the lives of others.