Learn My Life at Malliouhana
News travels fast on a small island, and within days of Mr. Leon Roydon seeing Meads Bay, we all knew it was going to the location of a luxury hotel. Mr. Roydon had been shown Meads Bay by the tourist board, and he fell in love with the area that would become Malliouhana.
Even before the hotel was finished, we knew this was going to be good for Anguilla. It started when the building company hired many islanders. Most of my life, I have been cooking for others. During the building of Malliouhana, I cooked for the workers and many times for Mr. Roydon. Soon the first two villas were finished, and they began working on the main hotel building of Malliouhana. The villas had no kitchen access and wouldn’t until the main part of the hotel was finished in 1984, however, Mr. Roydon was creative in still providing meals to the guests of Malliouhana.
Mr. Roydon had also purchased another small hotel across the island. This hotel became my kitchen. Every day I would cook meals to order there and then drive about 5 miles to deliver the food. Keep in mind, the roads on Anguilla in the early 80s were not what they are now! Despite this, guests loved Malliouhana and returned year after year. Eventually, the restaurant was added. Mr. Roydon brought in Michelin star chef Jo Rostang to help get the restaurant going. He helped train me in French cooking. I was even sent to Paris for more training. While there we learned the French way of making sauces and the famous macaron! Mr. Rostang also made sure we saw some Paris sites including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. Before this, I had never left Anguilla and now Paris is one of my favorite places to visit.
Malliouhana made Anguilla a culinary destination. Not only did people come to eat the food prepared by Jo Rostang, but they came to try Caribbean food as well. At one point, we had the largest wine collection in the Caribbean. The success of Malliouhana was good for us locals as well. We had good jobs with a company that cared. More hotels open that employed more Anguillians. Malliouhana not only set the trend for hotels opening on Anguilla but for treating employees well on Anguilla.
Over the years, Malliouhana has become family to me. The staff has supported me when I have needed it. We celebrate holidays together and get excited for each other’s family when a baby is born. Many of our guests have become family through the years as they return. I exchange Christmas cards with many guests and get excited when I know they are coming back to Malliouhana. Even though I work in the restaurant, many guests ask me what my favorite activities are on Anguilla and one of my favorite things to do is to go sailing. It is a fun day exploring the culture and history of Anguilla.