WPIX TV Channel 11 viewers in the New York tri-state region were in for a tantalizing culinary treat for the start of the Labor Day Carnival weekend as the station showcased a number of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes that were all created from products and ingredients available in the United States.
The host of the WPIX morning show, Suki, was joined by marketing expert and branding consultant Dave Rodney and Jamaican chef Alton Henry, president of Touch of Elegance Catering who shared bits of interesting information of the presentation.
Despite ominous hurricane warnings for the area on Friday morning, eyeballs were glued to the epicurean ecstasies that included jerked chicken pasta in a creamy garlic sauce, calaloo stuffed breast of chicken baked to palette-pleasing perfection, Linstead Market ackee sautéed with tender chunks of codfish, garden peppers and onions, Mama Lou’s escoveitched filet of salmon served on a bed of fresh tropical greens and enhanced with a drizzle of mango vinaigrette dressing. Dessert came from the island of Haiti- the seductively mystical Barbancourt rum cake loaded with fruits and soaked in what the prestigious Wall Street Journal describes as ‘an aristocratic rum with an elusive, transparent sweetness’. And the exhilarating freshness of Jamaican fruits like soursop and June plum was captured on the display table through Tru Juice, a rapidly growing brand. All the dishes were prepared by Alton Henry, a devotee of nouvelle Caribbean cuisine.
Rodney highlighted the fact that today’s Caribbean started with native Indians but later became a cultural melting pot with people coming from Africa, Spain, France, England, Holland, China and India, and that all these culturally diverse arrivals brought with them their foods that have impacted positively on the exciting culinary offerings of the Caribbean.
“This food is utterly sensational”, one back stage assistant exhaled. “What a wonderful way to begin the holiday weekend”, she added, between bites of the jerked chicken pasta.
The great news for New Yorkers and New Jerseyans who want to create their own spicy Caribbean fantasies in their own kitchens is that all the products utilized on the show are available in local retail stores. Linstead Market ackee and calaloo are imported from Jamaica, and the products are grown near the farming community of Seaforth in the parish of St. Thomas. Many brands of jerk seasonings are widely available in food stores across the United States. Mama Lou escoveitched seasoning was created by a group of brothers from St. Catherine, Jamaica who wanted to preserve the essence of their mom’s cooking. The seasoning is manufactured here using ingredients from a family farm in Jamaica. Tru Juice is bottled here but the ingredients, including the water, is imported from Jamaica. Barbancourt Rums is manufactured in Haiti and exported to the United States.