Hurricane Irma hit Anguilla with a vengeance on
September 5, 2017 and we could use your help!
Bob and Melinda Blanchard are the creative founders of this dreamlike
setting but since its inception, their staff has played an important role in making it what it is today. This group works together like no ordinary restaurant team and takes tremendous pride in making guests feel at home.
Married for more than 40 years, Bob and Melinda have spent a lifetime following dreams and pursuing passions. Their love affair with Anguilla started back in 1985 and remains as strong as ever today. They’ve started 10 businesses together and although each one holds a special place in their hearts, the restaurants in Anguilla are clearly their favorites. Bob is a seventh-generation Vermonter and Melinda was born and raised in New York City. They love working together to ensure that Blanchards and the Beach Shack run smoothly.
Miguel has been at Blanchards for over 20 years and has worked his way up to being the general manager. Along with Bob & Melinda, he oversees both restaurants behind the scenes as well as managing the Blanchards’ dining room during dinner. As if that’s not enough, he’s also the best wine steward we’ve ever met. He’s traveled to France, California and New York tasting wines and developing a remarkable palate. Ask him which wine is fat and ripe or lean and crisp and he’ll know just what to suggest. Miguel manages the restaurants with grace, sincerity and an unsurpassed dedication to quality and for that we are extremely grateful.
Clinton began his career at Blanchards while helping to build the restaurant in 1994. He then washed dishes for a year, at which point he was promoted to prep cook and learned more of what the restaurant business was all about. His natural curiosity and love for learning new skills landed him the position of executive sous chef in 1997. Several trips to the United States with Bob & Melinda introduced Clinton to new food preparations while observing in some of the finest restaurants in the world. Today he runs the kitchen with a keen eye for detail and checks every single plate as it goes out the door. Clinton also happens to be one of the handiest people we know which is a tremendous help considering something needs fixing almost every day.
Hughes, as he likes to be called, holds two critical positions. He supervises the Beach Shack kitchen to ensure that everything is prepared exactly as it should be. He’s also the grill master at Blanchards and we still marvel at how many orders he can successfully juggle at one time. He is truly one of the most talented chefs imaginable and we’re honored to have him as part of our family. But the very best part of working with Hughes is his good nature. Even on those over-the-top crazy, busy days, Hughes is smiling and enjoying his job in a way that makes everyone around him feel like there’s no other place they’d rather be.
We first met Tarah about 14 years ago when she would hang out at Blanchards after school. It’s as if there was a magnet drawing her to us and us to her. She helped set tables and watched the staff prepare the dining room for dinner each night. We feel like proud parents when we think of how far she has come since those early days. Tarah spent many years greeting guests at Blanchards and working in the dining room to make sure everyone was well cared for. In January, 2015, it was clear that Tarah was ready for the next step and was promoted to manage the Beach Shack counter staff. Her talent for making both staff and guests as happy as possible has surpassed our expectations and we are overjoyed to see her succeed in her management position.
J started with us as a food runner in 2014 and fit into the family immediately. He quickly learned the entire menu and knew exactly what he was picking up from the kitchen. One of the things we obsess about when delivering food is to not "auction" off the plates by saying "Who gets the crayfish? or Who's having the chicken?" J always knew exactly what each guest has ordered and unobtrusively delivered their food with poise and confidence. In 2016, it was time for J to move up. He is now taking orders at Blanchards by night and is the assistant manager at the Beach Shack by day. Clearly, we are lucky to have him on board.
Alwyn has been at Blanchards since the first day we opened. He knows exactly what it takes to make the dining room run smoothly and always fills in the cracks wherever needed. His main priority however, is to make sure the food is picked up in the kitchen and delivered to the tables in a timely manner and he does that with expertise and finesse.
New to Blanchards in 2014, Davia has perfected the art of serving our homemade rolls at exactly the right time. That may sound like a simple task but it's not as easy as it appears. We bake our rolls to order so they're still piping hot when you break them open and the crust has a perfect texture. Bake them for too long and they turn into rocks. Remove them from the oven too soon and they're too soft. Davia does it just right and brings them to your table with one of the biggest smiles imaginable.
Square has been a part of the Blanchards family since 2005 and is the link that ties the entire Blanchards kitchen operation together. If you stand outside the kitchen window for just a minute, you're bound to hear Melinda, Clinton or Shak calling Square's name. "Square, I need some more rice! Square, are the avocados ripe enough to use today? Square, how many cases of balsamic vinegar do we have? Square, can you decorate a birthday plate with a cracked coconut for table 12? On top of that, Square works extremely hard to make sure all of our shipments arrive exactly as ordered. With deliveries arriving daily by boat, plane and truck, that's not an easy undertaking. He may work behind the scenes but without Square, we'd fall apart in no time.
Deon is a critical member of the Beach Shack kitchen staff family. When he first started, his responsibilities were limited to making fries and salads but it was evident after only a few months that he had potential to go much further. Now, he spends his days chopping, slicing, and dicing everything we need, and at night, he's the head cook behind the line. We all love working with Deon. He's quiet, serious about the quality of his work and will help wherever he's needed.
Along with Gucci, Goofy works hard to make sure that guests at Blanchards and the Beach Shack have a "beautiful" experience. He spends his days raking, trimming, pruning, fertilizing and watering and takes great pride in making the entire property look well cared for. Not only does Goofy take care of our gardens but if you need a beach chair or umbrella, he'll be right there to make sure you have everything you need. If you see Goofy during your visit, make sure to say hello. You will definitely enjoy the experience!
If you’ve ever had our homemade corn tortillas at the Beach Shack, Tall Boy is the person to thank. He makes the dough every morning and presses each tortilla until it’s just the right thickness. On busy days, when all of us are bustling around the kitchen, Tall Boy is one of those rare, quiet people who seems to stay out of the fray and yet get a tremendous amount done. We are grateful for his dedication to quality and for his willingness to help wherever help is needed.
Greeting people when they arrive for dinner at Blanchards may seem like a pretty cushy job - but don’t be fooled. Just ask Jeanelle what it’s like when the bar is filled with people, shoulder to shoulder, demanding that they be seated immediately or apologizing for being an hour late. Jeanelle never ever loses her cool. She’s amazing! She has the ability to acknowledge everyone with a smile and a big welcome and somehow, figure out how to make them all happy.
Jermaine works behind the scenes helping to prepare food for the Beach Shack. He's quiet, enjoys learning new skills and is a pleasure to be with. Jermaine is one of those people who stays out of the limelight but is so very important to make things run efficiently. He can be found trimming mahi, making burgers, cutting potatoes for fries or taking care of any number of Beach Shack kitchen responsibilities.
When Keisha started as a server at Blanchards, she was a bit apprehensive and worried that she wasn’t efficient enough to do the job. She spent her first year asking countless questions and studying the menu until she knew more about what we serve than some people who had been with us for years. Keisha does a fantastic job and adds a sense of professionalism to the Blanchards dining room
There's a surprisingly long list of things to do at both restaurants that has nothing to do with preparing and serving food. Thank goodness for Blackie! He keeps everything sparkling clean, from floors, walls and furniture to napkins, towels and aprons. In the "old" days, we all used to chip in and get these jobs done ourselves but as time went on, we realized that we really needed some help. Blackie now works all day long to keep everything spotless.
We received a phone call from a friend asking if we had a job opening for someone they knew. We were hesitant to schedule an interview because we were worried about how we would tell our friend if this person wasn't a good match. Well, as soon as we met Kimisa, we were forever grateful for that phone call. Kimisa is smart, quick, willing to learn, hard-working and does a fantastic job taking orders in the Blanchards dining room. She genuinely cares about each and every guest and will go out of her way to make everyone happy.
Washing dishes during dinner at Blanchards is no easy task. On busy nights, we do close to 200 dinners so you can imagine how much has to be washed - plates, bowls, glasses, silverware, pots, pans, and hundreds of other odds and ends. Somehow, Kevin not only gets everything sparkling clean, he manages to sweep the kitchen several times each night and keep all of the tables and preparation areas as clean as can be. He is a delight to be with and we are proud to have him in the Blanchards family.
Kyron's dad, Alwyn, has been working at Blanchards since we first opened our doors in 1994. We even remember when Kyron was born. To have him join our kitchen staff in 2014 pulled us all even closer together than before. Somehow, working with two generations from one family made us realize how fortunate we are to work in such a close community. Kyron helps do a little of everything in the Blanchards kitchen and is learning more all the time. You might find him washing dishes, peeling onions or helping Square get whatever is needed behind the line.
Marla’s dad worked for us in the kitchen 28 years ago and eventually moved on to do construction work. We’re still friends today and can’t believe enough time has passed that his daughter is now part of the Beach Shack team. Marla is an absolute joy to be with and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet her at the Shack. She has one of those wonderful contagious smiles that you can’t help but love.
Michael is the Beach Shack's "Energizer Bunny." He keeps going and going and going. Always determined to make sure we never run out of anything on the menu, Michael cooks all day long to prepare everything we need. If we have an unexpected number of orders for kale salad (which seems to happen quite often), he'll stop what he's doing and whip up another batch immediately. Not only is Michael a great cook but he's also responsible for keeping our equipment in working order. Coolers, freezers, ice cream machines, pumps, hot water heaters…the list is endless. If something is not working, he's on the phone within seconds to find someone to fix it. Michael is the king of multi-tasking and we all truly appreciate everything he does.
We have countless people who want to cook at the Beach Shack and most don’t fit the bill. Paola doesn’t even know how many people we turned away before asking her to join the team. She had no experience when she arrived but had a willingness to learn that told us she was right for the job. Paola has loved to cook since she was a little girl and is as thrilled to be here as we are to have her with us.
Yama is the type of person you just know you can count on for anything at all. He’s made tortillas and burgers for the Beach Shack, counted hundreds of ingredients for our weekly inventory, helped organize the storeroom, and all the while paying close attention to what happens behind the Blanchards line. His flexibility and willingness to learn is so remarkable that in October, 2016, he filled a position that had never before existed. Clinton, Hughes, Shak and Mel have cooked behind the line at Blanchards since the beginning of time. We are all still right here where we’ve always been but made a decision that it’s time to have a little more help. For years, it was inconceivable to any of us to turn our foursome into a quintet but inviting Yama to join us just felt right. Welcome Yama! We’re happy to have you by our side.
Doing dishes is a bear of a job. Roger faithfully arrives each morning, dons his yellow rubber apron and washes the huge piles of bowls, pots, pans and utensils created by everyone prepping for both restaurants all day long. Roger, however, is undaunted and has such a gentle, kind disposition that he just keeps working to get the job done – and always with a smile on his face. We've had a lot of dishwashers over the past 20 years but Roger is one of a kind. He's never complained or had a single problem that's affected his job and we appreciate that more than he probably knows. We hope he never ever leaves us.
When you come to Blanchards, try to find time to strike up a conversation with Samaro. He may appear quiet, but once you get him going, he's one of the most charming young men you're likely to meet. Samaro has learned a tremendous amount about wine from Miguel and is now an assistant wine steward at Blanchards. He's also is a server and takes orders, carries food to the tables, and generally helps to ensure that the dining room runs smoothly. It never ceases to amaze us how he can handle the pressure of a busy night with a smile that truly warms our hearts.
Shak towers over all of us. It took Melinda a long time to get used to looking up so high every time he talked. But if there was ever a teddy bear of a guy, it's Shakeem Bradley. Kind, sweet and thoughtful are three words that come to mind when describing Shak's personality. His main responsibility is to make all of the salads and starters at Blanchards but he helps Square with desserts as well. Shak carefully washes every leaf of lettuce making sure that his salads are absolutely perfect. He slices, dices and chops each vegetable precisely and is unbelievably diligent when it comes to putting just the right amount of sauce or dressing on each plate he prepares.
Kecia is our lovable gofer. She spends her days driving all over the island getting whatever is needed and doing the dozens of errands required to keep both restaurants going. She pays duties at Customs, picks things up from the port, shops for ripe avocados, delivers bills to be paid…you get the idea. One of the wonderful things we love about Kecia is that when there are no errands to run, she jumps in to dry dishes, iron napkins, clean the office or any number of things that have to be done every day – without even being asked to do so. If Kecia sees someone who needs help, she's always willing to lend a hand.
Gucci works side by side with Goofy to maintain the landscaping and keep everything outside in working order. He comes early each morning to make sure the Beach Shack dining area is raked and ready to welcome guests when they start arriving for lunch. He carefully fertilizes our plants, pulls weeds, puts a fresh coat of paint on fences and walls when needed, helps to set up the beach chairs and umbrellas and does whatever it takes to make sure the outside area looks as perfect as possible. Goofy & Gucci are a team like no other and our grounds would never look as beautiful without them.
Warressia is Tarah's younger sister and every bit as smart and determined as Tarah. Warressia loves to cook and truly loves the restaurant business. It's as if she was born to cook at the Beach Shack. She learned the menu in an amazingly short amount of time and loves to move quickly – which is a very important trait on busy days. Warressia is a dream to work with and we are thrilled to have her play an important role working behind the Beach Shack line. This is her first job out of school and we hope she stays forever.
Yolanda greets guests at Blanchards with a big warm welcome and a huge smile. She's a tiny bundle of energy bringing life and vitality to the dining room as she seats people throughout the night. We all love Yolanda and hope she feels the same way about us. Yolanda has a dream of being an air traffic controller one day but her natural talent for making customers happy is so evident that we're hoping she'll change her mind.