When you visit Café Robin, you will know who Robin is immediately. She has always been known for her infectious smile, bubbly personality, and insatiable drive.
Robin grew up in Ontario, Canada, in a hard-working, goal-oriented family. During her formative years, Robin had the unique experience of traveling to many places, including multiple visits to the Bahamas. She knew from an early age that no matter where life took her, eventually, she would find her way back to the Bahamas.
Robin has always felt a connection to island life, culture, and food. As soon as her circumstances allowed, she moved to Saint Martin to start a business and enjoy the good life. And who could blame her? There are few places on earth as beautiful and tranquil as Saint Martin.
Since Robin grew up in a family where work was not optional, her parents expected her to get a job at an early age. At 15 years old, she started working in a restaurant. Robin’s work consisted of washing pots and pans and doing prep work.
At first, Robin saw working in a restaurant as a way to earn money for her education and to save for her eventual move to the Bahamas. Over time, she started to work in bars, wait tables, and do other kitchen jobs. Little by little, Robin realized that she had a real talent for customer service and hospitality. People loved her, and she loved people.
Eventually, Robin went from food prep to cooking. She developed and honed her love of food. Not just a love of eating food, while that’s an important part of it, but a love for crafting food. More than anything, Robin got immense joy from the reaction of those who enjoyed eating what she had created.
Robin gradually started to learn both the science and the art of food preparation. The more she learned, the more her love of the creative nature of food and the positive feedback she got from preparing food grew.
Robin’s parents noticed her love and skill for all things culinary early on. They wholeheartedly supported her and encouraged her to continue mastering her skill. Robin’s father, an amateur chef himself, began sharing with Robin teaching her many of the family recipes he learned from his mother. At home, most of the food she prepared was the French-inspired food of Québec, Canada.
Of course, Robin was not content with preparing traditional Canadian food in traditional ways. She always included influences from other parts of the world. Sometimes they were a hit, and sometimes they were not. However, each experience, positive or negative, that Robin had experimenting with food at home or in the restaurant environment taught her lessons and helped build her confidence to the point where when the time was right, she was able to create a menu and establish a café in Saint Martin.
When Robin finally made the move to Saint Martin, she set about doing research. She knew that she wanted to open a restaurant, but she wanted the food served to be as authentic and as respectful of local tradition as possible.
Her goal wasn’t just to copy what was out there. However, when local people visited her restaurant, she wanted them to taste something new while being reminded of the foods that were passed down from the generations before them.
For a year, Robin set about the task of just learning, immersing herself in the culture, and talking to the people about the food they love and take pride in. Robin understood that every dish has a story, and understanding that story is essential to preparing food well.
In the Bahamas, food conveys warmth, pleasure, love, and nutrition, It is steeped in history. That’s why when you visit her café, you will see that the food reflects the values of Saint Martin and its way of life. From jerk chicken to Johnny cakes, every plate has a history. Robin is committed to honoring that history while using food to give guests an insight into her own French-Canadian history.
Robin describes herself as a stationary nomad and a pragmatic dreamer. Traveling, meeting new people, and learning new things continue to be what drives her. However, she appreciates the value of stability, hard work, and making things succeed. She wholeheartedly believes that people should aspire to happiness while simultaneously striving for other things that are not necessarily happiness.
Robin strives to channel vitality wherever she goes and to whoever she is with, be it friends, customers, or employees. She likes being surprised and welcomes the challenge of being uncomfortable. Robin often says that we need to surround ourselves with the right stimuli. Often, that stimuli is found in unique foods.
Living in St. Martin and operating her café has allowed Robin to meet many incredible people from all over the world. She considers the island her home. The weather is good, allowing her to spend downtime outdoors, on the beach, and in the ocean.
Robin readily admits that living on an island is different than visiting one. It’s not all about piña coladas, sunsets, and white beaches. However, the familiar feeling you experience and the great community on the island is like nothing you experience elsewhere.
If you are planning to take a vacation to St. Martin or make a move, you’ll love it. The Caribbean beaches, according to Robin, will leave you speechless. You’ll see sunsets that will take your breath away. If you take the time to visit Robin's café, you will have a culinary experience that you will not soon forget.