The Secret Sauce in Caribbean Cuisine: 12 Cooking Lessons Travel Advisors Should Know

12 Cooking Lessons Travel Advisors Should Know with Chef Vladimir
Presentation by Chef Vladimir

[ATLANTA] – The 12 Days of Caribbean Cooking Festival is an online cooking series that features accomplished chefs showcasing traditional foods, rums and desserts from the region. Hosted by Travel Advisors Selling the Caribbean (TASC) during the period November 29 – December 11, some 31 culinary ambassadors represented 21 Caribbean destinations.

They utilized authentic ingredients and cooking techniques to unpack secret layers of Caribbean cooking. An e-cookbook profiling the chefs, their recipes and culinary stories will be created as part of TASC learning resources for travel advisors.

Daily episodes of the cooking festival feature food, rum and entertainment, which are key elements in the Caribbean experience. Hosted by a group of talented tastemakers, the program included guest appearances by two legendary Caribbean reggae artists, Denroy Morgan, who is also the father of Grammy Award winning reggae group, Morgan Heritage and songstress, Nadine Sutherland.

Tourism representatives were also among the list of influencers who shared some of their best food experiences, as viewers embarked on a virtual culinary expedition to discover the flavors of the Caribbean.

Chef Wilson 12 Cooking Lessons Travel Advisors Should Know
Chef Wilson creation

Key Lessons About Caribbean Cooking From the Cooking Series

  1. There is something for every palate. Whether sweet, spicy, savory, sour or bitter, there is something for the entire family. Most dishes can be modified, as demonstrated by vegan Chef Empress Eve from St. Lucia by substituting local herbs and produce for meat and dairy. Chef Lisette Davis and Chef Belinda Bishop from Grenada, created tasty desserts using locally grown chocolate and spices that the island is known for.
  2. Find inspiration in the freshest of ingredients. Blending handmade spices, locally grown produce, herbs and the catch of the day, there is freshness in every bite. Chef Sean Kulyen of Belize and Chef Rodrick Beazer of Antigua and Barbuda utilized similar cooking techniques. Despite the 1700 mile difference between their countries, coincidentally both chefs prepared fresh corn on an outdoor ‘coal pot.’
  3. A winning mix of different cultures. French speaking islands of Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe and islands that have French heritage, Dominica, and St. Lucia, are known for their Creole spices and flavors. Chef Gaby Martinon’s pork tenderloin with chocolate orange sauce, yams, pigeon peas embodies the multicultural appeal of the cuisine.
  4. Distinct flavors, aromas, colors and ingredients. To decode this vibrancy, look at the local produce: plantains, beans, cassava, scotch bonnet peppers, chickpeas, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. Chef Soca from Trinidad and Tobago, Chef Wilwore Jordan of Barbados, and Chef Tameka Young from Guyana utlized a range of local ingredients to create traditional dishes from their countries.
  5. Barbecue, roast or grill are the go-to cooking choices. Meat is dry-rubbed or wet-marinated with hot spices such as jerk. Chef Irie from Jamaica fired up the grill and created a spicy marinade, infused with ginger, sorrel and spices on his pork dish.
  6. 6. It is very hearty. There are many “one pot” meals, packed with ground provisions such as yam, sweet potatoes, carrots and meat. Servings are quite “healthy” and filling, even in small portions. USVI chefs, Julius Jackson and Michael Watson prepared pepperpot from leafy vegetables, ground provisions and meat — slow cooked for several hours.
  7. Seafood is a treasured delicacy. Spiny lobster, crayfish, conch, shrimp and snapper, are typically grilled with butter and garlic, steamed with veggies or boiled. Chef Simeon Hall from the Bahamas prepared the country’s famous cracked conch using a combination of fresh and salted conch. Salted codfish, a staple breakfast item in most Caribbean islands, was prepared by Chef Greg Wilson of Bermuda and Chef Michael Clarke of St. Kitts and Nevis.
  8. Beans and legumes with their great taste and protein content make wholesome meals, when incorporated in soups, rice dishes and stews. Turks and Caicos Chef Renarda Williams, prepared grits from locally grown guinea corn, beans, loaded with vegetables, conch, pigtails and salted beef.
  9. Marinating meat in advance helps to create rich flavors. Pork and turkey dishes are often marinated overnight, to keep the flavors intact. This technique was demonstrated by Chef Edna Butcher from St. Lucia and Chef Kelston Connor of Anguilla.
  10. Coconut milk is a magic ingredient. Swap heavy milk cream for fresh coconut milk, which adds body, taste and texture to sweet or savory dishes. Chef Orlando from Saint Lucia made a tasty Festive Rum Pudding by repurposing fruit cake mixed with eggs, coconut milk and spices and boiled to perfection.
  11. Sorrel is the quintessential holiday drink, brewed from the hibiscus flower that is harvested in December. This bright red drink brings together the flavors of the season – cinnamon, all spice, fresh ginger and is often spiked with local rum. Chef Samara Murphy of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Chef Ariq Flax Clarke from the BVI, integrated a sorrel reduction into their rum spiced pork dishes.
  12. Caribbean Rum is not limited to rum punch. Every chef was required to use rum as a major ingredient in their recipe but many chefs took rum shots as they cooked, which is a local pastime. Whereas Chef Stephanie Nairandas from Curaçao created a traditional black rum cake, Chef Claude Lewis and Chef Murphy representing Antigua and Barbuda, infused their country’s signature English Harbour Rum in a variety of traditional dishes.
Chef Edna
by Chef Edna

Click here to view all episodes of 12 Days of Caribbean Cooking Festival.


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

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