Interview by Elton Callwood
In the midst of Road Town, the choices for food continues to evolve. From coffee shops and traditional breakfast spots, to sushi, tapas, Italian, French and takeout, not to mention the many mobile food vendors offering BBQ and local cuisine. Added to the mix not so long ago, at the western end of the Mill Mall on Wickham’s Cay I, is a neat little spot called Tandoor. The food is fresh. It’s displayed with care and prepared with love by talented and experienced chefs. In short, the food is goooood.
The Virgin Life&Style Magazine sat down with owner and longtime chef Troy Blenman and asked him a few questions so our readers can get more acquainted with Tandoor.
Started when I was fourteen in a bakery shop and worked there until I was old enough to go to attend Carnegie Culinary Institute in Guyana. I graduated in one year and started working in hotels such as the Pegasus, Ocean View International, Sidewalk Café to name a few.
I then branched out into the cruise industry in 2001 working with Wind Jammer Cruises, including the Flying Cloud, until 2005. That was when I came to the BVI and started with the Moorings, The Pub, Nexus and later Charlies, in a span of 14 years.
Who or what inspired you to becoming a chef?
I grew up with my grandmother and she always had us in the kitchen cooking our own meals from a very young age. It was a tradition. On Saturdays she would do her baking and we were the makers because she wasn’t going to be the one to light the outdoor wood oven. I supposed it’s due to that experience taught to me by grannie I was able to get my first job as a teenager.
How long have you been in the culinary arts?
My career as a chef started 24 years ago and I love it.
What does the named Tandoor stands for?
Tandoor is an Indian name. It is a type of oven used in the Mediterranean and Indian regions for both cooking and baking.
Tandoor is a partnership. What inspired this?
My friend and partner Terique Abudella had a concept and needed a chef, so he decided to contact me. His timing was perfect because I was making preparations to go back home to Guyana to start my own. After being a chef for so long, I was ready to be an entrepreneur and I thought home would be best. Together, he knew what he wanted in the design and I know what was needed with the cuisine, costing, staffing, etc. Plus this location in the center of Road Town, you can’t beat it.
What would classify your cuisine as?
Our cuisine, we didn’t just want to cater to one specific crowd, so we cater to three different crowds; local, Indian and Mediterranean.
The industry is fast changing. How do you keep up with new trends?
Good question. We try to keep up with the industry first and foremost by offering our clientele quality items, by making changes based on demand or what sells, while not trying to stick to the same ol’ same ol’ stuff.
Is food cost an issue? If it wasn’t, what items would you add to your menu?
Food cost in the restaurant is always an issue, but it’s how you manage it. Whatever item I want on the menu as long as it is stock, I get it, and simply charge where I can profit.
Walk me through your experience from opening to present.
We opened the last week in December 2018 and it was a smooth process. Like I said before, my partner knew what he wanted and he handled that, while I focused on operations and it’s been going great.
Tell our readers why they should come into Tandoor.
Come into Tandoor because we offer a wide variety of scrumptious food items that are prepared in a clean environment (right in front of your eyes) by professional chefs with combined 40 plus years of culinary experience.
Our opening hours are from 7am (breakfast), 11:30 am (lunch), until 6pm during slow season. From November we will be opening until 9pm.