Live the dream: How to move to St. John

Every week or so, the Inquiring Iguana receives an e-mail from someone, or couple, who have decided they can't stand it any longer.  They are in love with St. John and just HAVE to move to the island.

Of course, they then ask: 

  • Where can we live?
  • Where can we get a job?
  • Is it expensive to live there?

Of course, the Iguana smiles to himself and responds gently in an e-mail, with a few facts of island life. Housing is scarce; food is expensive, and be prepared for a thin job market unless you're willing to make beds, pour drinks, or wash dishes.

But, all of this is a needlessly-long introduction to a newcomer to St. John and St. Thomas: William Torrillo.

He's a professionally-trained and experienced chef, a Web marketing guru, and an accomplished photographer. 

"I decided I needed to make the islands my home," he said.  And so, while working as Staff Photographer at Seal Island resorts, he saved up his money.  He also spent several years as a trainer and cook with the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne. Now, he's working out of Red Hook, while full-timing it at the Ritz Carlton as a cook.  With a partner, he also caters for private dinners, parties, in the BVI and VI.

In his spare time (!) he's launched a photography business. Specializing in weddings, musicians and bands, and aerials. Two of his concentrations are architecture (can you say 'villas'?) and food and wine.

The Iguana heard of Torrillo when Gretchen Labrenz of Cruz Bay Realty said he was going to shoot new pictures of Blue Tang, our two-bedroom w pool villa at Great Cruz Bay.

In his spare time (?!), Torrillo has created several Websites.  One is Fottocini.com, focusing on chefs and food … "behind the scenes of the world's best kitchens."  You think that iPhone picture you took of dinner is good?  See what he's done here.

But, wait, there's more.  He's also working on a VI travel guide while blogging and posting gorgeous island shots at Oldmango.com.  "It's a journey through my lens, with travel tips, recipes, and lots of photos of course," he said.

Now, the reasons for such a long item about Torrillo are several.  First, of course, he did a gorgeous job with Blue Tang, and we hope those shots will interest people in considering the property for their rental property/second home.

Second, Torrillo has made his move to the islands the right way.  He came with skills, talent, a fierce ambition, and a realistic point of view.  The Inquiring Iguana is willing to bet he hasn't yet spent "a day at the beach".  Too busy working.

11 thoughts on “Live the dream: How to move to St. John”

  1. It was a pleasure working with William on the photo shoot. He’s a multi-talented go-getter & is making a name for himself in the Virgin Islands. I highly recommend him for weddings, villas or as your personal photographer for the day!

  2. I spent 8 months living on St Thomas and am coming back within the next few months. I had a job that allowed me to live anywhere internet and American based cell service was available. I will return, still doing that,but starting up a small catering biz. You can do it, and these guys are right…..be prepared to live frugally, work at whatever is available and have faith. It is a dream worth working toward!
    OH,and I did have a few times at the beach….mostly spent time diving.

  3. His work is absolutely beautiful, he has such a eye on taking the most breathtaking shot that I have ever seen on the various islands. I love to wake up and see what he post everyday, it truly makes my mornings

  4. Thanks so much everyone for the comments 🙂 Some more info on the private dinners…A friend of mine and fellow chef Roberto Leoci are offering private dinners anywhere in the Islands, we import cheeses, meats, spices, and olives from Sicily and can cook for up to 50 people at a villa, or even on a yacht. To see some of the food we do visit http://www.leocis.com thanks again! William

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