Enjoy a fun and delicious journey through the Caribbean in the vibrant collection of gourmet and home-style recipes titled “Taste the Islands: Culinary Adventures in a Caribbean Kitchen.” Hardcover copies of the new book will be available on Amazon and wherever books are sold beginning April 14. In it, Hugh Sinclair and Cynthia Verna, known as “Chef Irie” and “Chef Thia” on their television show Taste the Islands, introduce ingredients and flavors that open windows into the region’s many cultures.
Sinclair and Verna share their own recipes as well as traditional island favorites. Starting with “stop gap” snacks like fritters made from malanga root and continuing through desserts and cocktails, they include refreshing salads like pineapple pepper slaw, soups with “a healthy dose of soul” made with bases such as calabaza pumpkin or black beans, and main dishes such as curried goat or mussels chorizo in mango coconut sauce.
Co-author and show producer Calibe Thompson, lends narrative elements to the book, sharing behind the scenes stories about the team’s adventures in making the television show, interacting with each other and their celebrity guests, and learning more about cuisine from the various islands they explore.
From the authors’ home nations of Jamaica and Haiti to the Latin islands, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago, the communities represented in these dishes have deep histories. The recipes feature both native and colonial food traditions that have been passed down for generations and showcase African, European, Middle Eastern, and Asian influences. Sinclair and Verna also incorporate tastes and techniques from their international travels, capturing the eclectic variety of Caribbean cuisine today.
Filled with colorful photographs, many by acclaimed photo artist David I. Muir, and infused with the joy of two expert chefs celebrating the foods that are closest to their hearts, Taste the Islands brings the places, histories, and rhythms of the Caribbean into your home kitchen.
Said Verna, “I was able to bring a little bit of Africa, the Caribbean and the French to the project, so you could say you get to taste some of my personal Haitian history with the food that we made and the spices we used.” Sinclair reflected, “I hope people see that Caribbean food is very multidimensional. It can be complex, it can be simple, but it’s always full of flavor. I hope that as they read and try the recipes, they’ll see how much love goes into cooking Caribbean food.”