Globally inspired, locally sourced. Anchor & Den is a glorious amalgamation of a fresh and local “ship to shore” concept, with a focus on experimental international cuisine.
You can’t go too far without hearing Crystal Marshall’s name in the Cayman Islands restaurant industry. Previously at the Ritz Carlton, the Anchor & Den Chef De Cuisine now spends her time delivering talks and inspiring Cayman’s school children, and developing world class menu concepts from the Marriott restaurant.
We were lucky enough to steal some of her time and she gave Restaurant Month the opportunity to peak behind the curtain.
The Canadian born chef, with Ukrainian roots, has been in the Cayman Islands for nine years. Originally, she studied biology at university but found her love for cooking after taking a summer job in a kitchen – and luckily for us all, she followed her true calling!
Crystal I have been brought up in a culture where celebrations have centred around food and family. I attribute my success to my aunt. She taught me how to cook from the age of 12 and I can still recall all the intricate details. The music she put on when we came round for dinner, the smells of the fresh herbs in the kitchen and the flavours – they will always be with me. I associate most of my most significant family memories around the love and detail that’s gone into preparing a meal, and my main cooking philosophy is that I want people to share that feeling of connection.
Most people can throw together food – but it’s the experience behind the food I want people to be able to taste.
So that’s me. To bring you back to present day, we all know that things have changed in the Cayman Islands over the last couple of years. COVID-19 has hit the restaurant industry hard – in many different ways. I realised quickly that the lack of international travel is heavily impacting our small but adventurous community too. I recognised this was an area where we could offer some support.
Throughout the pandemic Anchor & Den has continued to bring that international journey to you, through different global food concepts! I’m really proud of the broad diversity in our kitchen – so many different corners of the world are represented and all of our chefs have been well represented in our menus and our themed events and brunches. But, despite our internationally influenced menus, sourcing local produce from Cayman’s farming community is the foundation of which Anchor and Den is built on. Continuing to support local has been one of the biggest ways we’ve been able to give back.
Restaurant Month for me, is a one-of-kind opportunity to be honest. It gives us a chance to showcase exciting things to come. We don’t just tweak our everyday menu for Restaurant Month, we share our new ideas and want tasting feedback! It’s a really unique opportunity as a chef and I’m excited to show off our talented team.
I am really proud of our brand that we’ve put out there – and it’s important to me that our product is built on community feedback. I also love that the fixed-price Restaurant Month concept gives everybody the chance to experience so many different restaurants in Cayman.
We wrapped up the interview with one final question: what has been the most popular dish on the Anchor and Den’s Restaurant Month menu so far? No surprises there, it’s the Truffle Burger and the Hanger Steak. The divine smell of the freshly baked, homemade sourdough left no further questions.