In 2011, chef Wolfgang von Wieser left the non-stop scramble and buzz of Las Vegas and a job at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino for the slower pace of Turks and Caicos. The atmosphere is relaxed in this Caribbean paradise, but von Wieser’s role at Grace Bay Club (on the island of Providenciales) is rather intense. He oversees in-room dining as well as seven restaurants and bars at the luxury resort, most notably the acclaimed Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar, which is widely considered to be one of the most romantic dining spots on the island.
Is Turks and Caicos a foodie destination?
It’s becoming one. The hotels promote the island as a culinary destination.
How would you describe Turks and Caicos cuisine?
It’s very much defined by seafood. The bounty of the sea has always been a reliable resource for the island.
What is a big dish at Grace Bay Club?
The lobster piccata is very popular. We dip the lobster in rice flower, then eggs flavoured with capers and lemon zest. We pan-sear it and serve it with angel hair pasta, asparagus and passion fruit sauce. The lobster is sweet, and the passion fruit adds acidity, so it’s a great combination.
What other local ingredients and techniques do you incorporate?
Jerk is a big thing, locally, so we serve a typical jerk chicken. Conch is also an important local specialty. At Infiniti, we offer a conch-tasting appetizer—conch meatball, cracked conch, conch ceviche and conch chowder—four little things on the plate.
Do you have a favourite type of locally caught seafood?
Turks and Caicos spiny lobster.
Any other favourite local flavours?
There used to be a big salt industry in South Caicos. Unfortunately, the industry collapsed, but the salt ponds are still there. I started to harvest the salt and add flavouring. I make porcini-flavoured salt for meats, chocolate salt for syrup and ice cream. Now, I’m working on honey salt.
How do Vegas restaurants compare to those in Turks and Caicos?
In Las Vegas, every ingredient you might want is at your fingertips. Turks and Caicos is small and exclusive, so there’s a higher level of creativity. The view isn’t bad, either!
Wolfgang von Wieser’s Favourite Provo Picks
“Caicos Cafe, just across the street from Grace Bay Club. The butternut squash and goat cheese tart is [delicious].”
“Coco Bistro is also popular. The palm tree courtyard is lit up in the evening, which makes a nice setting, and the food is consistently good.”
“If you want a bit of variety, Garam Masala has all Indian chefs and a Tandoor oven, so it’s very authentic Indian cuisine.”