Spice it up! Miami Chef Shares Tips On Healthy Cooking

Spice it up! Miami Featured Chef Shares some tips on Healthy Cooking for National Minority Health Month

MIAMI – Imagine an event where the flavors and sensations of the Caribbean and Latin America are on display where tourists and locals can sample and experience music, dance and food that highlight the cultural heritage of the islands and the Latin feel of Miami.

That’s Spice It Up! Miami – a monthly culinary experience that includes all the ingredients of island cuisine, spirits, music and dance.

The Caribbean Marketplace cultural destination, at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex (5925 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137), is the perfect backdrop for a fun and interactive atmosphere that is sure to indulge in the tastes, sights and sounds that are the true essence of the islands and Latin flavor of Miami.

Spice It Up! Miami kicks off on Saturday, April 29th at the Caribbean Marketplace.

Spice it up! Miami Chef Irie Shares Tips On Healthy Cooking
Chef Irie

This month’s culinary master, Chef Irie will offer a fun, informative cooking demonstration showing attendees how to season and prepare delicious recipes.

His demo will go beyond just teaching attendees how to prepare delicious bites, but will also give aspiring chefs the tools to create the dishes at home.

Chef Irie Shares Tips for the healthy cook and mind

Spice tips:

  1. My tip for the day for all home cooks, cooks all around. Invest in a spice grinder, a good one if you can. Invest in air tight re-sealable glass containers. Buy whole spices when you can, preferably in small amounts especially if you don’t cook a lot. Store spices in cool areas of your pantry away from direct light. Bought prepared spices? I think after 6 -9 months, definitely after a year you should replace them. Now get to work grinding and combining spices as you need them.
  2. Buying prepared spices especially complete seasonings. Salt is a big factor in unhealthy eating so any way you can reduce your sodium intake that’s always good. So always read the labels to see what % of salt is in the seasoning. If it’s in the first 3 ingredients listed then that seasoning has a lot salt. Try using seasonings with less salt or no salt.
  3. Try using more fresh herbs, brings a brightness to the taste of your prepared dish. Try using more olive or coconut oils. They are plant based making them more natural and healthier.
  4. Eat less flour and white rice and eat more orange vegetables that are loaded with beta carotene – sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin
  5. Try baking, roasting, steaming instead of frying an ingredient wherever possible. Lesson your caloric intake and unnecessary saturated fats.
  6. Eat smaller meals and more often during the day to help the metabolism.
  7. Get daily exercise, it really helps with your heart rate.
  8. Eat more leafy greens and more seafood.
  9. With everything have it in moderation but eat it with love.

Have a great #Foodonfiyah experience today.

Bonus Recipe

Sweet potato grits w/ Jack Daniels Walnut butter sauce


4 cps                Water

4 cps                Fresh sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1” pieces

1 tsp                Ground cinnamon

1 tsp                Ground nutmeg

1 ½ tsp           Salt

1 cp                 Jim Dandy, regular grits

¾ cp                Coconut milk

3 tsp                Sriracha sauce

1 ¼ cp             Shredded Gouda, reserve ½ cup in cooler

Salt & pepper to taste

Butter sauce:

1cp                  Jack Daniels

1/3 cp              Light brown sugar

4 Tb                 Butter, cold

1/3 cp              Walnuts, rough chopped


  1. Add sweet potato to water in medium sauce pot and bring to boil on medium heat. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the sweet potato in the pot.
  2. Return to heat and allow liquid to come to a boil again. Add cinnamon, Nutmeg and salt and stir to combine.
  3. While stirring with wooden spoon or whisk, slowly add the grits in a steady stream. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add the coconut milk and Sriracha sauce, stir well.
  5. Cook for another 5 minutes then add the Gouda cheese. Stir well and cook for two minutes. Check for seasoning. Serve hot.
  6. Add Jack Daniels to small sauce pot with sugar, give a quick stir then place on medium low heat. Let reduce by 1/3 then add the walnuts. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter to liquid and whisk until melted and sauce thickens up some.
  7. To serve, place 2 or 3 serving spoons of grits in a bowl then some of the walnut sauce, add a small amount of the shredded cheese on top.

Note: For a healthier sauce option, use some tapioca starch to thicken the Jack Daniels and use maple syrup instead of brown sugar and remove the butter option.

Spice It Up! Miami includes all the essential elements for a memorable night designed to showcase the local and international flavors of food, dance and music that is Miami.

Also, guests will be able to buy art work, cook books, spices and other items at the Spice It Up! Miami gift shop.

Other fun elements of the night include mixology techniques for the art of a perfect homemade tropical cocktail; learning the latest hip dance moves of meringue, salsa, compas and soca where attendees can work off the delicious meal they learned to prepare.

Sponsors of the event include: City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon, Chefs of the Caribbean, The Eye, Northeast Second Avenue Partnership and the Little Haiti Cultural Complex.

For more information visit Spice It Up! Miami, or contact 305-492-7868 and follow them on Social media, Twitter, Instagram @SpiceItUpMiami and on Facebook.


South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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