Chef de Cuisine Kenneth Biggs
Kenneth Biggs’ interests in the culinary arts were piqued early in his work-life when he was employed as a dishwasher at a local country club in rural Portland, Maine. Kenneth was entranced by the buzz of executive kitchen life, and it didn’t take long for his self-starter initiative to earn him an opportunity to train throughout the multiple stations of the kitchen; thus beginning his love affair with food and adept interest in the culinary arts.
After attending the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, Chef Biggs interned at the Classical French restaurant “Regatta” on Cape Cod, where his appreciation for quality ingredients and masterful preparation began to form. After stops at “Hemingway’s” in Vermont and “Amelia's” on Nantucket, Chef Biggs’ reputation for precision and passion earned him a position as Chef de Cuisine at "Starr Boggs" in West Hampton Beach, New York. This is where his true calling for working with local farmers to feature locally-sourced produce began to take shape, and the connections that would eventually land him on St. Croix were made.
Chef Biggs seamlessly transitioned into his position as Chef de Cuisine at Galangal - there is a natural relationship between Southeast Asian and French cuisine (Owner, Gregory Thomas says, “it's like Catherine Deneuve and Bruce Lee”). Simply stated by Chef Biggs, “Thai cuisine is the quintessential balancing of sweet, spice, sour, salt and savory into one spoonful. French cuisine can be said to have the same goal, but the five “S’s” are arranged on the plate for the diner to make their own perfect bite.”
Through the past several years, Chef Biggs has been focused on the blending of Classical French technique with bold Southeast Asian favors. Most recently, Chef Biggs had the opportunity to expand his culinary education by traveling to Thailand and Vietnam. His journey took him through the restaurants and markets of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Hanoi, where he experienced first-hand the spices and flavors of these areas. The inspiration resulting from his journeys is evident each evening to the guests at Galangal, and his inspired cuisine has won him multiple professional accolades, including the #1 restaurant on St. Croix for five consecutive years.
Chef Minerva “Minnie” Hernandez
Minerva "Minnie" Hernandez has been an integral part of Galangal’s culinary team since its inception in 2009. A native of the Dominican Republic, Minnie’s natural culinary instincts were apparent at an early age, and her cultural curiosity and palate were heavily influenced by the broad multiculturalism reflected in Dominican cuisine, from the tangy collection of native herbs and spices contained in sofrito to the rich and varied textures of plantains in mangu and mofongo.
Upon joining (and eventually leading) Galangal’s kitchen staff shortly after her relocation to St. Croix, Minnie was presented with the opportunity to learn the intricacies of Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines under the personal tutelage of Chef Yui (insert last name) of "A lot of Thai" cooking school, located in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chef Yui has traveled the world in pursuit of his mission to train talented culinary artists like Minnie in the proper preparation of Traditional Thai cuisine. Minnie's time with Chef Yui during Galangal’s early years was invaluable, and in 2014, Minnie was invited to fine-tune her Southeast Asian cooking skills at Chef Yui’s school in Thailand, where she experienced first-hand the sights, smells and flavors of the region with which she’d fallen in love at first taste. Chef Yui inspired Minnie to adopt her own personal culinary mission: “Every dish should balance the savory, salty, sweet, and spicy elements, come together for a perfect result.”
Beloved by her Galangal family and patrons alike, Minnie’s passion for the food can be tasted in each and every plate.
Yui Sriyabhaya is a consultant for new Thai restaurants around the world, including Burma (Myanmar), Hong Kong, and Thailand. She was the local connection for Chef Ramsay’s tour to Northern Thailand.