About Davide

Chef Davide Pugliese, owner of culinary retreat Wali Nikiti, Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands.

Chef Davide Pugliese, owner of culinary retreat Wali Nikiti, Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands.

I was born in Torino and raised in Firenze, Italy. I was weaned on my mother’s distinctive Northern Italian cooking and loved the tastes, textures and delicious smell of the dishes that Mama would be cooking.

Artistic rather than activist like my brothers, you would find me more interested in the art of cooking polenta than in discussing politics. I always found it fascinating that you could take something ordinary and create a meal that would affect you in a positive way. Food is such a sensual and social experience and I am drawn to it as an expressive medium to bring pleasure. I studied art and photography in Firenze and went on to work as a fashion photographer in the Big Apple. The hours were long and at times exhausting so I unwound by cooking up the recipes learnt from my mother’s kitchen. Inevitably I discovered my true passion – food!

In 1985 I moved to the beautiful British Virgin Islands where I met my Australian wife, Cele. We opened Brandywine Bay Restaurant in 1988 and for the next twenty two years, I developed my recipes using fresh, local and regional ingredients, marrying the tastes of the Caribbean with Florentine base dishes. My crowning moment was hosting a sell-out dinner at the James Beard House, NYC in November 2010.

I try and get involved in different culinary events and have participated in the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Florida, the annual charitable Celebrity Chef’s Brunch in Wilmington DE, the International Chefs Congress, NYC, Taste of the Caribbean and many Winemakers’ dinners. I’m also proud to be an ambassador for Certified Angus Beef® and love the challenge of creating an original recipe to show case the cuts at home and abroad. Cele and I now live in Wali Nikiti, our dream home and culinary retreat in Scrub Island, BVI. I cook for guests from my kitchen overlooking aquamarine seas as a tropical breeze wafts in the scents of wild oregano and the sound of the waves.

My philosophy on cooking is to embrace the unexpected and to be inspired by the people and places I love: food, like life, should have just the right blend of familiarity, intrigue and zest bringing out the best in everything on your plate. Buon Appetito!

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