Pastry Chef Kester Robinson says he was born to be a chef. His culinary endeavours so far can be likened to works of art, even though he has not yet completed his studies. His ultimate aim is for regional and international recognition and he is working towards that.
Kester, who is currently studying at the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality Institute, while holding down a job as Pastry Chef at one of the island’s five-star restaurants, is currently back home for a spell and is doing some demonstrations at his old training ground, the Carnegie School of Home Economics. He figures that when he completes his degree in T&T and has launched himself as a regional chef, he can do some lectures at the school, primarily in the field of pastry arts and bringing respect and awareness to what a chef does.
Kester was born and grew up in Georgetown. Now 23 years old, he says his passion for what he does must have come from his father’s side of the family, who were noted for their scrumptious productions and fine culinary arts.
Reserved as a child, he spent most of his time indoors with his family.
He is the only male child to break, what he described as “the sisterhood trio”; he has one older sister and two younger ones. “I felt like the Prince or the King of the house,” he said. “Since we were raised by our single mom who worked very hard, I had to see that everyone was taken care of in her absence.”
He mentioned that growing up was challenging since he basically withdrew from socialising but later explained that he took the energy from the negative environment, and pushed himself to become the strong individual he is today.
It was his self-determination that landed him a spot in the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality Institute.
But before moving to Trinidad and Tobago in 2010 to further his education in culinary arts, Chef Kester attended the Carnegie School of Home Economics where he studied Catering and Hospitality and the University of Guyana where he learned Tourism and Hospitality.
It was some time before he started secondary school at Central High that he was certain he wanted to become a chef. Although at the time he was unsure of what type, he just knew that his career would be in the culinary arts.
He recalled the support he got from the teachers and students at Central High. “They saw something within me, that passion in baking during Food and Nutrition classes,” he said. He also shared that it was during his high school days that he did his first Cake Decorating course with the late Ms Debbie Mentore, a pioneer of cake decorating in Guyana. Ms Mentore had a passion for her art and shared it with many. “Before her passing the students became extremely closer, dare I say apprentice and it seems that her respect and passion for the art rubbed off on me,” Kester said. On completing the course, he became an independent cake decorator.
He shared his ideas and work while being interviewed for a job at the Hotel Tower in 2009. This intrigued the interviewers who subsequently hired him as a night auditor and motivated him to pursue his talents.
Kester, who also has learning experience from St Vincent, said his next venture will take him to Antigua and Barbuda to study at the Sandals Resort for a six months internship.
Well on his way to becoming a regional chef, Kester said he is inspired by Celebrity TV Chef Duff Goldman, whose business Charm City Cakes and culinary creations were featured on the Food Network reality show Ace of Cakes, and who has also competed on Iron Chef America and Food Network Challenge.
Kester said his own culinary masterpiece so far is the final piece he presented for his examinations under the theme speciality cakes: professional grooms’ cakes. His work was so magnificent it was one of the highest graded and was featured in two Trinidadian newspapers and on a number of media sites.
He has dedicated all his time and energy to his work and studies and a social life was the price to pay. But he doesn’t mind, it’s all worth it and all in the process of bettering his art and working towards being a celebrity chef not only in the Caribbean region, but across the globe. His ultimate goal is becoming internationally recognised for his skills and contributions towards the art form. On the way there he would like to use his talents to open a chain of fine dining restaurants which will feature his desserts.