Chef Balo Brings a Modern Version of Caribbean Food to You

Chef Balo

Chef Balo

by Howard Campbell

[SOUTH FLORIDA] – Celebrities have sung the praises of Caribbean cuisine for years — from Jamaican jerked chicken to Trinidad’s curried goat and roti. Sean “Chef Balo” Lindo wants to take the region’s food off the novelty menu.

That is the primary goal of The Experience, a food truck he plans to use and whet the palettes of a diverse clientele in South Florida. It was born after the Coronavirus forced him to shelve plans to open a restaurant.

Chef Balo will make weekly stops in his hometown of Palm Beach, Hollywood/441 and Miami. According to The Experience’s banner, he’s ‘Bringing The Caribbean Straight to You’.

Chef Balo The Experience

“What I’m doing is a modern version of Caribbean food. I remix traditional Caribbean dishes, Jamaican dishes specifically. I either make a vegan version or a more modernized version,” he explained. “I want to put us on the map like Italian and Chinese food.”

The Chef Balo remixes include a sweet and sour Snapper fish sauteed with a jerk sauce, rather than the customary peppers (or escoveiched) popular among Jamaicans; a jerked burger that contains ackee, plantains or shrimp; or a Trini-style curried chicken.

Chef Balo Jerk Burger with Ackee

Jerk Burger with Ackee

According to Chef Balo, when patrons visit The Experience, they should be struck by the element of surprise.

“I want to elevate it to a level where people say, ‘Wow! I didn’t know you could do that’!,” he said.

Caribbean food is a reflection of the Afro-Asian and European melting pot found in most West Indian countries. The spices, sauces and batters used for generations produce similar dishes with different names in the various territories.

Sweet n Sour snapper with Chef Balo

Sweet n Sour snapper

Self-taught, Chef Balo’s background is as cosmopolitan as his cooking. He was born in London but spent his formative years in the middle-class area of Constant Spring, Kingston, Jamaica’s capital.

He moved to the United States as a boy, attending high school in New York where he also did one year of college.

For the past 20 years, Chef Balo has called South Florida home. It’s where he made his culinary debut 15 years ago.

Since then, his creations have been savoured at parties, weddings and events like Miami Carnival.

 

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