Get to know some of Aruba’s most sparkling hospitality stars that bring you the absolute best in fine fare and creative libations. Aruba’s food and beverage professionals are an eclectic collection of dedicated professionals striving to be the best at their craft and always seeking new ways to improve the overall hospitality experience. They come from near and far, but true masters all have one thing in common: a passion for excellence.
Bibiana Cano, Restaurant Manager Po-Ké Ono Aruba
Originally hailing from Colombia, the bubbly Bibiana Cano (everybody calls her ‘Bibi’) has been a rising star in the hospitality industry at many of Aruba’s top establishments for the past 15 years. Having mastered multiple spirits, wine etiquette, food knowledge, and management courses, in 2020, she was hired as a supervisor at Chef Urvin Croes’ first Po-Ké Ono outlet at the Azure Residences – a Japanese / Hawaiian inspired vision specializing in poke bowls, sushi, and bao. Aft er she won an AHATA Award of Excellence for her work there, Croes promoted her as General Manager of his second spot that opened at the Renaissance Marketplace late 2021. There, they put their creative heads together to come up with an exceptional menu of tiki cocktails unique to the island. The result is a collection of drinks that are as delightful to the eye as they are to the taste. Try a Tropical Fu Manchu or a Thai Colada to truly appreciate her considerable mixology talents. They are as exceptional as the fare there. Bibi says, “Always do your best, until your best is the only thing you can be!”
Chef Martijn Liebregts, Papillon Aruba
Originally from Amsterdam, Martijn Liebregts now brings a wealth of globetrotting culinary experience to Papillon Aruba as their new Sous Chef. His resume includes interning at Amber, Hong Kong’s celebrated Michelinstar French/Asian restaurant, time at Wilde Zwijnen, where his style was heralded as “The New Dutch Cuisine” by the New York Times, and working with famed Canadian Chef James Olberg at Whistler’s Nita Lake Lodge Boutique Retreat. He now brings his rich, international palette of flavors to their fabulous new Chef’s Garden experience where guests are treated to a classic French/Asian fusion 6-course tasting menu paired with fine wines every Wednesday. He is also available as a private chef through Papillon’s catering service. Since moving to Aruba, Liebregts’ new hashtag is @ OneHappyChef. Papillon Aruba has been known for their legendary classic French cuisine with a Caribbean flair for over two decades now, and they happily welcome the new flavors to their fold.
Chef Jordie Klomp, Quinta del Carmen
When Jordie Klomp was young, he felt that being color blind might limit his options career-wise. But his Indonesian mother was a fabulous cook, so he began experimenting in the kitchen with her and soon found he had a talent for cooking. He then dove in to finish his 4-year culinary school in only two years! He trained at many different restaurants, but he credits a backpacking trip throughout Thailand for enhancing his culinary style. Still feeling footloose, he answered the call from his sister to move to Aruba where she was working at Barefoot. The owners were restoring the house that would become Quinta del Carmen, so he gave them a hand in its construction until he could put his culinary talents to work in the new kitchen. He is now a chef there and brings his colorful flavor fusions to their specials including the small plate offerings in the new tapas and cocktail garden. Footloose no longer, he not only fell in love with Aruba, but he also met his wife on the island, and has since had a baby and bought a house to take root here.
Chef Urvin Croes, Director of Food and Beverage Dejavu Gourmet & Entertainment
Aruba-born Master Chef Urvin Croes is creating a foodie empire on this island. After honing his skills in many of Aruba’s top restaurants, he went to Europe to apprentice in Michelinstarspots. He returned with a new passion for experimentation and modern cuisines, so he opened White Modern Cuisine Restaurant and the Kitchen Table by White – a chef’s table experience that introduced Aruba to molecular gastronomy. Today, after many culinary degrees and prestigious awards, he continues to promote Aruba as a modern culinary destination, yet always endeavours to incorporate the taste and local flavors that are unique to the island culture. The latest ventures under the umbrella of newly incorporated Dejavu Gourmet and Entertainment include Infini Chef’s Table and Po-Ké Ono – a playful, casual franchise of Asian/Hawaiian fusion poke, sushi and baos. (Two locations and counting.) Watch the master and his top-notch team at work up-close at Infini, his intimate 18-person open kitchen setting at Blue Residences. As the name suggests, the culinary possibilities he presents there via creative 12-course surprise menus are limitless. And his masterpieces are always as appealing to the eye as they are to the palate.
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