A resident of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands since 1982 Frank Pugliese is known as one of the most generous chefs of the Caribbean. In addition to providing plentiful portions, he has donated numerous hours and ingredients to non-profit organizations and events.
Raised in Pennsylvania, Frank fell in love with the art of cooking while watching his grandmother and aunt create hand-rolled pastas, rich soups and mouth-watering dishes without the aid of recipes or measuring devices. With no formal training, Frank started working in restaurants at the age of 13. After graduating from high school, his family moved to St. Croix, US Virgin Islands where he continued to work in restaurants cooking and bartending. He later moved to Hawaii where he worked with inspiring chefs and restaurateurs including chef Rene Metler at Grand Hyatt Waialua, Chez Paul, and Carelli’s on the Beach.
In 1994, he returned to St. Croix, and became head chef at Tutto Bene, a top restaurant on the island, where he met his future wife, Katherine, who was head sommelier at the restaurant. In 1997 Frank and Katherine opened Restaurant Bacchus, which they successfully ran for ten years winning numerous local awards and Wine Spectator’s award every year. In 2007, the couple sold Restaurant Bacchus.
In 2009 he and his wife opened eat@canebay, which gave life back to a mainstay on St. Croix formerly known as Cane Bay Beach Bar. The fun and funky beachside restaurant features build your own burgers & salads, fresh fish & lobster. eat@canebay prides themselves on “something for everyone”, from burgers and Buds to lobster and Veuve. His style of food went from fine dining to fun dining, including something called “food shots”, just one perfect bite of food …no fork, no knife, no hangover. In 2015, Frank accepted an offer he couldn’t refuse. Too young to retire, in 2016 Chef Frank opened his fourth restaurant on St. Croix. This time the restaurant, called Un Amore, is located closer to the town of Christiansted and features traditional Italian fare.
Known for rich and decadent food, Frank is referred to as the “stock master”, Frank preaches “great taste starts with a great stock.” Working with products from “known” sources, Frank prefers using local products. He participates in programs with local organic farms, deals directly with local fishermen and is a familiar face at the abattoir.
Frank works with visiting chefs who participate in the St. Croix Food & Wine Festival and A Taste of St. Croix. This food and wine event spans over a week and attracts celebrity chefs and vintners including Rocco DiSpirito, GREAT CHEFS Kevin Rathbun, and Paula DaSilva, to name a few.
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