Author of Creole Kitchen
What are your favourite summer ingredients?
Summer, for me, is all about cantaloupe melons, watermelons, some berries — but I also have a soft spot for peaches. And, of course, I can’t live without my Caribbean summertime staples: acerola cherries, maracujás (which aren’t quite passion fruits), Malay apples and one of my faves, the mammea apricot.
What summer dishes do you enjoy?
I’m all about dipping and preserving during summer. I love salads and salsas; I do a mean watermelon and feta salad, and a mango, bacon and turmeric syrup-glazed mixed-nut salad. I love a barbecue, so I also have a special guava glaze for anything that goes on a charcoal grill. Especially meat.
Where’s the best place to dine in the sun?
I’m obviously biased, but nothing beats a friends-and-family Caribbean sunset barbecue, with cane sugar-smoked meat (known as buccaneer) on the beach, at La Perle in Guadeloupe. Although, I went on holiday to Sri Lanka and the sunset there, with a few cocktails, came pretty close. One of my favourite places to eat is on Marie-Galante [a Guadeloupian island], where I ate freshly caught fish in a tiny restaurant with my feet in the sea. Fish doesn’t get fresher than that, and the island hasn’t yet been spoiled by tourism. I like simple food and beautiful scenery, so anywhere with a beautiful beach, breeze and fresh coconut water does it for me.
What’s dining like in the Caribbean?
In the Caribbean, we have two seasons: hot; and rainy. During the summer holidays, it’s loads of pool and beach parties and chilling at each other’s places. Trinidadians have a verb for it — it’s called ‘liming’. So lots of partying, always plenty of seafood, mainly grilled or in chowders, and street food when on the go between the beach, waterfalls or meeting friends and visiting family. Restaurant culture in the French Caribbean was inherited from French colonisation, so we do have a decent scene, but somehow it’s more attached to work and lunchtime than dinner. Summer is also for going on small boat rides and landing near beach festivals, with plenty of rum.
What’s your ideal drink on a summer night?
Summer nights for me are all about lychee-, lime- and rum-based cocktails. They’re refreshing, light — and you can have a few.
Published in Issue 9 (summer 2020) of National Geographic Traveller Food
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