Mr. Sam is a chef at Potter’s by the Sea in Anegada. The following are his words, condensed and edited by Claire Shefchik.
I’m Claudius Sam, the man with the plan. That’s right. My plan is to cook great lobsters and make people happy. I’ve worked here for six years. I enjoy life as a whole, trust me. If there’s any happy man in the world, it’s me. You talk about happy people, I’m one.
Of course I love singing. I’ve been singing in church, from a little boy. I don’t go to church anymore, but I grew up in church. Now, the church is all about money. So I just try to love. Live and love. That’s my motto: Love. I sing anywhere I feel like singing. I like soul music [and] I like Bryan Adams because he has good music: passionate music, music that makes you think. It can carry you to an- other world.
I live right in the back [of Potter’s]. I lived here almost 20 years but I’ve been around, working on cruise ships in Haiti, Barbados, quite a few places. I was born in St. Vincent. They wanted a lobster specialist here [at Potter’s] so they had to hire me. I’m a specialist because I have a passion for what I do; I love doing what I do. My fingers are short, but they’re very sweet. That’s right. My favourite way to cook lobster is on the grill with a secret garlic butter sauce. I’ve been cooking lobster that way for 20 years. When people taste it, they say it’s the best they’ve had in their life.
Learning to cook
The owner of the Anegada Reef [Hotel], Lowell Wheatley, taught me how to cook lobster. He’s the one. I started at Reef and way back then. But I’m better than him now. When he was alive, he was good, but I’m better than him. In life, you have to be confident in what you’re doing. You’ve got to love what you’re doing. You have to have passion for what you are doing, and that way you will do it good.
I left the week before Hurricane Irma. I was lucky to be on vacation. I was in St. Vincent. I was home. I came back here on the 15th of November of last year. Of course, we were trashed, but we put it back together. We just pledged to work, put it back together, everything. Everybody was doing their thing. Everybody had their own thing to do. We got lumbers and wood and things like that, a little help. It was hard getting your full salary. Everybody was down and out, trying to get things put back together.
That’s the biggest problem, because you’re the boss, trying to pay your workers, and everything’s damaged. That was it. So the employer, he’s a good man. My boss, he saw I was making no money; he said, “Let me give him a break and help him out.”
Mystery of life
I’m just a happy man. I enjoy dealing with the tourists, meet- ing the people, making them feel welcome, making them feel home away from home. I love it. When they come in here, they said, “I love you, Sam.” When I finish talking, they say, “Oh, I love you, Sam.” And they come looking for me every year.
If I had to live my life all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t trade nothing. My life is perfect. I will tell you one thing: Life is not a problem to be solved; it’s a mystery to be lived, so you’ve got to live it.