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In 1994 award-winning chef Cindy Hutson met her now life partner, Delius Shirley. With an inherit passion for cooking, but no formal training and three kids to care for, Hutson was hesitant to enter her first restaurant venture. Against the odds and with the extra support of Shirley, Hutson took the leap of faith and that same year opened Norma’s on the Beach. Rave reviews touted Hutson’s cuisine as “the best Caribbean restaurant in South Florida” and international support from USA Today, The New York Times, London Times, Chicago Tribune, Chef Magazine and Eater, who named Hutson “Chef of the Year” (2012), helped set the pace for what would develop into a thriving culinary future.
Hutson’s culturally diverse and seasonally driven culinary style is heavily influenced by her extensive travel and food history. Her signature “Cuisine of the Sun” is a self-coined approach that means to create without limits and cook everything under the sun, infusing nuances of her famous island flavors throughout. “I thrive on teaching about our earth’s bounties, edible history and utilizing indigenous ingredients that are regionally prepared,” says Hutson about her culinary inspiration.
Together Hutson and Shirley have built a culinary empire opening Ortanique on the Mile in July of 1999, named top 10 new restaurants by Esquire Magazine. Soon to follow were more than eight award-winning concepts. Stretching from Miami to Las Vegas, Washington DC, Baltimore, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Jamaica and back again. The dynamic duo is recognized with accolades from Esquire and Bon Appétit acknowledging it as one of the “Best New Restaurants” and Condé Nast Traveler awarding it as one of their “Hot Table” concepts; and praised by Caribbean Journal as one of the “Top 50 Best Restaurants” in the Caribbean.
Hutson published her first cookbook, From the Tip of My Tongue (Story Farm), which received the prestigious 2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for “Best Woman Chef Cookbook in the United States.” Additionally, Hutson and Shirley took to the Caribbean, opening Ortanique Camana Bay, Grand Cayman 2010, Consulting/directors of The Dunmore Beach Club Resort Harbour Island, Bahamas and a Zest restaurant at The Cliff Hotel in Negril, Jamaica in December 2015, where her world cuisine is now enjoyed overlooking breathtaking views of the pristine Caribbean Sea. The restaurant has been revered as top 25 restaurants in the Caribbean. She is the celebrity chef/culinary ambassador for the Miami Cancer Institute (Baptist Hospital) that opened January of 2017. And now the consulting Executive Chef for Cerveceria La Tropical Brewery/Taproom in collaboration with Heineken in Wynwood, Miami that launched February 2021.