A Chef’s Life: Carrie Bogar of Veya Restaurant
by Stephanie Koathes Dec 3, 2018
Carrie Bogar’s life in Anguilla began with a simple online search. Carrie and her husband Jerry packed up their lives in the US and moved to Anguilla and have not looked back. Their restaurant, Veya, in Sandy Ground has built up quite the incredible reputation. The restaurant has been featured everywhere from the guidebook Frommer’s to the NY Times, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and the London Times.
Carrie is obviously exceptionally talented and she’s giving us a little peek into her life as a chef.
Caroline Marie Bogar but everyone calls me Carrie.
Who cooks in your house?
I cook on weekend mornings but mostly my husband cooks after work. When we’re closed for the season we both cook together. Our children cook a bit too.
You and your family left Pennsylvania to move to Anguilla. Why Anguilla?
We found the restaurant for sale on a Google search, came down to see it and fell in love with the island, the people, the beaches … just everything. We sold our restaurant, home, and all our personal belongings and moved down.
How long have you been living here?
We’ve lived on Anguilla for 12 years.
What’s your favourite food/spice to work with?
I love to work with fish and seafood and well, everything. I just love food.
Have you always known you wanted to be a chef? Are you classically trained?
I started cooking at 15 and was hooked. I attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Layered, exotic, balanced.
If you had to pick a dish to eat every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tell me about what you do on a day-to-day basis.
My husband gets the kids off to school and I sleep in a bit. We go to a personal trainer at 8.30am. We then head to the restaurant and set up for lunch. I prep with two of my cooks between lunch orders. I take a break around 3 or 4pm and have something to eat, answer emails, confirm reservations and keep an eye on simmering stocks, etc. My dinner cooks start arriving around 4 or 5pm and we all prep for dinner. Right before we open for dinner service, I write up the specials. I usually turn out specials, tasting menus and help expedite. After dinner starts quieting down, I get a beer and talk to the tables. I do my inventory and ordering and check the prep list for the following morning. I’ll usually head home around 11pm, watch something on Netflix while eating something unhealthy, and fall asleep around midnight.
What’s your favourite thing on the menu at Veya?
Right now, it’s probably the Sri Lankan spiced duck breast with a carrot puree and roasted Brussel sprouts, tossed in a fish sauce vinaigrette with mint, basil and cilantro.
What was the first thing you remember cooking?
Risotto, waffles, or crepes with my father.
Tell me the best thing about your job.
Talking to guests after dinner service, listening to the local bands and singers that play in our bar area, playing tricks on my co-workers.
What’s the worst thing about your job?
Nothing. I love it all. Alright, if I’m honest, I’m not too keen on equipment breaking down.
What’s your favourite/most impressive thing you’ve ever made?
Three beautiful children.
What’s the worst thing you’ve made?
Asparagus ice cream (not my idea).
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Move to the Caribbean right now!
What advice would you give aspiring chefs?
Keep a journal with recipes, ideas, etc. Travel as much as possible and taste everything.
What dessert would you want on your birthday?
Two dozen raw Kumamoto oysters.
Can you share the proudest moment in your career in Anguilla so far?
Winning “Restaurant of the Year” a few years after we opened.
What makes the people of Anguilla so special?
A genuine warmth and sincere happiness with their lives.
For more information on Veya, where you’ll find mouth-watering concoctions such as chocolate cake with chili, caramelised bananas and roasted banana ice cream, visit their website.