Culinary Whiz – Bohemian Businessman
Caye Caulker’s celebrity chef Wish Willy, born Maurice Moore in Belize City’s Southside 50 years ago is a study in contrasts. His unique culinary concoctions are sophisticated, highly nuanced dishes that come as close to palate heaven as this itinerate critic has found in Belize. In contrast to Wish Willy’s classy cooking is his bohemian, beach-bum Rasta look and his ad hoc, outrageously funky outdoor eatery.
Wish Willy (his birth name Maurice just doesn’t capture the elegant-down to earth contradictory essence of the man) was born and for his first twelve years raised on West Street in Belize City. At twelve he relocated with his family to Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from school stateside Wish Willy had a natural talent for business and worked as a stock broker in the Chicago Stock Exchange for several years.
Then in his late twenties Wish Willy on a lark enrolled in one of those fancy culinary institutes that all big cities up north have in aces. Wish Willy and his instructors readily noticed that he had a special knack for putting a new, exciting twist on traditional dishes. A chef whiz was born.
After plying his creativity in the kitchen for a few years at five star restaurants in the Windy City in 1989 Wish Willy got tired of the cold winds blowing off Lake Michigan and headed back home to Belize. Chicago’s loss is our gain.
Wish Willy’s way with food has made him well known on Caye Caulker. His emphatically rustic restaurant counter-pointed by swank dishes has over the years become a kind of tourist attraction. Wish Willy’s usual attire is short pants, unbuttoned shirt and bare feet. While his sublimely seasoned nouveau dishes are on par with great chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Paul Prudhomme.
On any given night you’ll find packed tables of smiling tourists gobbling down Wish Willy’s unique seafood dishes. For those Belizeans that haven’t tasted Wish Willy’s food yet, give yourself a treat; your taste buds will be eternally grateful.
[This message has been edited by Auxillou Beach Suites (edited 03-09-2006).]