New Executive Chef Brings A New Taste & Name to Restaurants at Grand Caribe Resort
Just before Christmas, I received an invite to eat at Rain Restaurant at Grand Caribe Resort. We were in the midst of the pre-holiday flurry…and getting me out of the house at night is like pulling a crab from his shell…
…but when I heard the news, I made a date to head over the very next night.
NEWS: Chris Aycock is the new Executive Chef at Rain Restaurant and the dinner-only restaurant formerly known as EVOO.
Rain and EVOO – The 3rd and 4th floor restaurants (with the gorgeous outside eating space and bar) at the ever growing Grand Caribe Resort – about 1.5 miles north of the bridge. One of the largest resorts on the island.
My view a few days ago from Rain Restaurant.
Chris’ official photo.
The new chef is no Johnny-come-lately. I’ve known Chris for quite a while and you probably all know him too. If not his name then most certainly by his food. Chef Aycock was a co-founder of Blue Water Grill in 2001. And executive chef there until just last year. He also first came to San Pedro in 1979…but more on that later.
So Jeff and I stopped in to eat dinner at the newly re-branded Aqua Restaurant. They were in the midst of a bit of re-decoration – a lightning and brightening.
And a beautiful sushi bar with seating was about to be set up. We tried a bunch of the night’s specials. All with Chris’ Pacific-Asian flair. And got a sneak preview of the new menu.
The new Aqua Restaurant, a Pacific steakhouse.
One that includes Hawaiian style poke, USDA Black Angus rib eye steak and filet mignon and imported rack of lamb! (Pomegranate rosemary marinated with a feta cheese souffle…yum.)
We had homemade shumai dumplings that arrived looking like art work. And these crackly sweet salty tender delicious short ribs…
It was also a very good chance for me to find out Chris’ history in food and in Belize.
Here a photo of Chris with his new puppy Lola at the 2015 Estel’s BBQ Cook-Off
Chris is from Texas and from a family of travellers. His dad explored much of the Yucatan in the 1970s…moving from Cancun as it became more and more built up to Playa del Carmen and to Tulum and finally to San Pedro.
In 1979, Chris’ dad bought the property and built what was Rendezvous Restaurant at about 4 miles north. Back then, this must have been THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE!
Ambergris Caye didn’t have a bridge until 2006 – before that, there was a pull ferry to go to the north side of the island.
The Aycocks vacationed and spent summers in Belize in the 80s. Chris went to college in Texas and got two degrees in English and Psychology. He then we to the Corden Bleu School in Portland Oregon.
Graduating top of his class, Chris worked at Atwaters Restaurant in Portland and then met famed Chef Roy Yamaguchi at a festival and started to work with him.
He worked in Vail, chef and flyfishing guide and then a few years later, he got a call from his father.
He and his friend found what could be a good opportunity…a restaurant in San Pedro was for sale. A spot on the beach called Crusoe’s…
And Kelly McDermott and Chris Aycock partnered to open Blue Water Grill in 2001.
And now Chris is running the restaurants at Grand Caribe and bringing his special flare for flavors and for SUSHI to Rain and his new Aqua Restaurant.
Stop in and check it out. There are two different menus at the different spots. Rain is open for all meals and is a killer location to watch the sunset. Aqua and her new menu (restaurants are shes…right?) open at 5pm. PLEASE Let me know what you think!
I will be in very soon for the lamb with feta souffle…just typing that makes me very very hungry and I’ll give you the scoop.