Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Sat May 30 2015

Opinion Home | The Main Course

  • Tom Bastek | May 30, 2015 10:00 AM ET

    Culinary Tourism On The Rise In The Bahamas

    Culinary Tourism On The Rise In The Bahamas

    Photos courtesy of Flying Fish.

    Culinary Tourism has been all the rage over the last couple of years, and it isn’t just in the U.S. and Europe. Cooking classes and culinary tours are popping up everywhere and opening new streams of revenue to resorts and destinations all around the world. That is not lost in the Caribbean, especially in the Bahamas. Chef Tim Tibbitts of AAA Four Diamond rated and Trip Advisor number-one rated, Flying Fish restaurant in Grand Bahama sat and talked to us a little bit about it.

    TravelPulse: With the rise of culinary tourism, how have you specifically embraced the idea at your restaurant?

    Tim Tibbitts: At Flying Fish, we take our role as a destination restaurant very seriously. We want to surprise visitors to the Caribbean with a world-class dining experience, so we provide great food and high-quality service while emphasizing the locality of the destination by using as much local produce as possible. Even in the bar program and the cigar choices, we keep The Bahamas in mind when deciding what to serve.

    TP: How important is culinary tourism to your restaurant and to the Bahamas in general?

    TT: Tourism is the top industry in the Bahamas, and without it, the country would wither. As the culinary trend grows in importance and traffic, we feel Flying Fish is well-placed as the top-rated restaurant in the country, not to mention a regional attraction that can lure travelers to the Bahamas simply for the food. Visitors can also discover great traditional Bahamian food here, and people who are looking for something different and unique can find it here.

    TP: Do you feel this evolution is allowing the opportunity to step outside the culinary box more now? Or maybe with more guest acceptance at least?

    TT: Without question, our guests are much more knowledgeable about the food they eat and the techniques we use to create it. In just the last three years, we’ve noticed a huge shift in the depth of knowledge about food culture among out patrons.

    We have always tried to be somewhat avant garde in our approach to food but without alienating anyone. Our tourist base is much more appreciative of our technique now, compared with three years ago, and our local population will catch up over time.

    TP: Where do you see the evolution of culinary tourism going to next?

    TT: I think the food festival craze that’s so popular in U.S. culture will find its way to the Caribbean. I am currently working on two separate festivals that will happen in the next 18-24 months here in the Bahamas. We hope to partner with the Bahamian tourism industry to give visitors a great reason to incorporate food into their vacation plans.

    TP: What are some of the trademarks of Bahamian Food?

    TT: The Bahamas has very regional culinary styles, and recipes and flavors change from island to island, just as Italian food changes from town to town. Conch salad can be four completely different experiences in four different places in the Bahamas.

    That diversity is more than you would expect for such a small country, but because the Bahamian islands encompass so much distance north to south, and because climates vary from island to island, the produce changes from one area to the next as well.

    TP: What advice would you give to the novice culinary traveler?

    TT: I always encourage our guests to keep an open mind when traveling. Remember that what you think something should be isn’t necessarily the way it will be everywhere you travel. An open mind can really change your perceptions of food — and the world at large.

    The Flying Fish features sea-to-table fare from locally sourced, abundantly available ingredients. They are continuously rated highly with numerous awards. Next time you happen around the Bahamas look them up and get a great meal.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

Tom Bastek The Main Course

Tom Bastek Tom is a writer in the Atlanta Area. He has traveled to all 48 continental states and almost every stop in the Caribbean. In addition to Traveling, Tom geeks out on bowling, craft beer, trains, pinball, comic books, sci-fi and playing the tuba. You can get him at and @TravelWriterTom.
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships