Debbi Truchan: Little Cayman Artist, Chef and Educator

While in Little Cayman, visit the charming National Trust cottage, which overlooks the booby pond, and meet a longtime resident of the island, Debbi Truchan. The 63-year-old Canadian and her husband first moved to Grand Cayman over 20 years ago to be of service to the Cayman community.

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During her first few years in the islands, Truchan worked with troubled boys at the Caribbean Marine Institute, where she taught culinary, office management and basic life skills, such as opening a bank account and keeping a budget. Her previous experiences – fostering over 40 children while in Alberta, Canada, and working with young children born with disabilities, drug addiction or anger issues – had prepared her for this role. She also worked closely with the primary school-aged children in the government-run after-school and summer programmes.

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In her art, Debbi often uses natural elements, such as sea glass, coconut husk and leaves

About four years later during a stop in Little Cayman while on the way to Cayman Brac, Truchan fell in love with the small island’s small-paced lifestyle. She moved there shortly after and began working at Paradise Villas, a position for a server at their Hungry Iguana restaurant became available; Truchan stepped up to fill the role. It wasn’t long before they realised she wasa great cook. She has since been named the grand champion at the Little Cayman Cook-Off, the island’s premier cooking event; co-authored Cooking with the Chefs; and hosted several cooking classes on Little Cayman and Grand Cayman, including the famed traditional Caymanian cooking class with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.

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Debbi in her element – the kitchen – at a traditional Caymanian cooking class [Credit: National Trust for the Cayman Islands]
As she often does during her cooking demonstrations, Truchan uses natural elements found in her immediate surroundings – banana and seagrape leaves, coconut mesh, pine needles, sea glass and coral – in her artwork. She enjoys showing others how to incorporate these elements during her art classes. “Anything I learn, I like to teach it right away; and then let them teach it [to someone else],” says Truchan. “I encourage my students to have the wonderment of life to really see and feel what’s around you.”

For more information about Truchan’s eco-art classes, contact debit@candw.ky of 948.1107.

Published: Visit Cayman Islands, 2016

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