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KWFT Guide Spotlight: Shannon McRae

 

Meet Shannon McRae! She is Key West Food Tour’s social media coordinator, guide, and first official hire! A natural in the spotlight, Shannon has given the tour her own twist diving head first into the Key West community. We asked her a few questions about the tour, Key West, and what makes this South Florida native tick, here’s what she said…

What do you love most about Key West food?

Coming down as a tourist every summer to dive the reefs and wrecks with my family made me think Key West was the land of coconut shrimp, hogfish sandwichces, and rum runners. I’m not completely wrong, but the fact is, it’s SO much more! I had been living in Atlanta, GA for a few years before marrying and touring through Asia for a year. “How do you top that?” we thought. Moving to Key West was our decision. The food scene here took us both by surprise! It’s a culinary melting pot. The thing I definitely love the most about Key West food is how, no matter how internationally exotic the fare (french, mediterranean, thai, etc.), all menus give a nod to the island whether it’s through item names or the use of fresh local seafood and tropical fruits. The seafood is so good here, it’s hard to order anything else.

 

What’s your favorite thing about leading food tours?

Oh, you mean OTHER than not having to sit at an office desk? I can go on and on! First off, I’m rolling delicious, culturally-relevant food, a 1.5 mile historical walking tour, and my own comedy set into 3 hours of Key West Bliss! I get to meet interesting people from all over our beautiful country and globe everyday, show them around, and teach them about the place I love. Did I mention food was involved?! How many people get to go to work and spend the day basically “on vacation” with other tourists? So I guess my favorite thing is the people–the legendary people who are apart of the history I share, the talented people who cook & serve the wonderful food we eat, and the awesome people I get to befriend as guests on the tour everyday!  It’s definitely the thought of taking our amazing guests to my favorite Key West places that get me out of bed in the morning!

 

Where would we find you when you’re not on a food tour?

Probably sitting on my porch. This is the Key West dream everyone is searching for–a comfy chair on a porch with the breeze blowing and the birds chirping–and if you’re really lucky, some local pirate cursing loudly. I also take advantage of walking and biking whenever I can (usually on the way to food) so you may see me out and about. But truly, “Home is Where the Heart is.” My conch house here is my sanctuary. I paint commissioned art and I love to cook, so if you’re walking down Elizabeth Street and you smell something good, well, then I’m in my kitchen!

 

If tonight was your last supper in Key West, what might we catch you eating?

Ugh! What a tough question! I guess conch salad for my appetizer, a Cuban pork dish as my main course, and finish with the homemade guava flavored ice cream from Flamingo’s Crossing. It may actually end up being my LAST supper, because I could likely die from gorging on all the incredible food here.