Meet the Chef
CHEF BOBBY WATKINS:
Chef Bobby Watkins grew up in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, and was always under his mothers feet in the kitchen. And while cooking was always a part of his life, it wasn't until he was in his 20s, that he took it seriously. He spent a year self teaching and then a year in culinary school in Asheville, North Carolina, and all of sudden the restaurant business made complete sense. When he's not putting his soul on a plate and crafting his innovative Panamanian-style food at Ceviche's he is most likely attending to his other passion, music.
What makes CEVICHE Restaurant unique?
Ceviches is a unique restaurant because we utilize a variety of local, sustainable ingredients and techniques to produce our very own Panamanian inspired cuisine. Through the use of different cooking styles, and a decor that is tropical yet welcoming, we look to provide each guest with an experience they won’t soon forget.
How would you describe the type of food you like to cook?
My favorite kind of food utilizes familiar, fresh ingredients to create a well balanced meal that is not only delicious but aesthetically pleasing as well. Using multiple different techniques and cultures on one plate creates a dish that has depth and complexity, without being overwhelming or confusing for the diner.
What motivates and inspires you as a chef?
The ability to share my love and knowledge of food with the world, to be able to put my soul on a plate and have someone enjoy it. There are very few things as gratifying to me as working all day as hard as I can to make a dish, and then watching someones face light up as they eat their way through the plate and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.
What might diners NOT know you about you?
Diners might be surprised to know that outside of the restaurant I am obsessed with music. From playing instruments, singing, writing, working on equipment, or even just listening, I absolutely love everything about it. There is always some sort of music playing in the kitchen, its a way to help us stay motivated and to have a good time while we work.
Current favorite dish on the CEVICHE menu.
Our Slow Roasted Pork Belly & Blackened Scallops. It features cilantro mash potatoes, chimichurri slaw, seared asparagus, slow roasted pork belly, blackened scallops, a guajillo pepper cream, and queso fresco. It was actually one of the dishes I added to the menu and has quickly become a best seller and a favorite of many.
Favorite local produce and how do you use it?
My favorite local products come from Seaview Crab Company and Shell’em Seafood. They are my purveyors for 90% of the fresh fish and shellfish I use, and are absolutely incredible companies to work with, not only for their outstanding product and service, but for their dedication to sustainability and local business.
Best foodie city?
That’s a tough call, as the food scene has really seen a giant increase in the last 10-15 years. Two of my favorite food cities are Boston and Charleston, and of course we have some absolutely fantastic restaurants right here in Wilmington that continue to help push the movement forward.
What’s your all-time best comfort food?
Something that will always be incredibly near and dear to my heart (sacred even) is really, really well executed fried chicken.
Describe the best meal you’ve ever eaten.
There are far too many to list them all here, but one of the best meals I have ever eaten was at the Husk in Charleston, South Carolina. Everything was executed perfectly, the service was impeccable, and the atmosphere was just right. I will definitely be back anytime I am near the city.
What's on your current playlist?
If there’s one important piece of advice you might have for cooks, what might that be?
Work hard and pay attention to EVERYTHING. If you are just starting out, pretty much everyone in the restaurant has something they can teach you. Listen more than you speak, and stay humble, always remembering that nothing in this industry is below you. If you want to make it in this industry, you can never stop improving and learning.
Ceviche Restaurant was inspired by owner, Hunter Tiblier’s upbringing in Panama, Central America. Bringing that tropical feeling to Wrightsville Beach, Ceviche serves fresh, locally sourced Panamanian-style cuisne.
7210 Wrightsville Avenue