Protect culture of Caribbean cuisine

Caribbean culinary culture is being bastardised and a local chef is adamant that efforts have to be made to ensure that this culture retains its authenticity.
Chef Peter Edey, producer of the Caribbean Culinary Conference being held here in Barbados from August 21-25, 2017, made the comments as he spoke at a press conference yesterday morning at the Dining Club to apprise the media of the conference and the Caribbean Culinary Alliance which will also be launched at that time. “We have a serious culinary culture in the Caribbean and as small as the Caribbean is, it is a very diverse culture. If you look at it, as close as St. Vincent is to us they cook differently; as close as Trinidad is, they cook differently; but it is ours and it is different and unique and you can’t get it anywhere else in the world. And why I am happy that this conference is happening because I have seen too much now, when I look at international TV, bastardisation of our culinary culture,” he said.
Edey noting that Caribbean cooking is now “a hot thing” and “getting really hot around the world”, lamented that it is not being represented correctly. To that end, he maintained that the success of the conference and the activities being held as part of it is important as it allows chefs from each of the islands to come together and bring authentic, regional cooking to the table.
“What we intend to offer as the Caribbean Culinary Alliance is the training…We would have an organisation that can provide all of those techniques and training that you can apply now to each of your islands, to make authentic, your cuisine. Because, if you can’t describe it and write down, define it somehow, you’re in trouble,” he said.
Chef Edey explained that the Alliance is intended to help make Caribbean culinary culture that is already existent, more formal and tangible. He said this would involve producing books featuring Caribbean cuisine.
“So that when we go into our classroom now instead of using European books, and American books and French books, we can have all the same techniques, the correct techniques, but applied to our local fruits and vegetables… So when you are talking about julienne potatoes, it is no longer Irish potatoes and what we call English potatoes, it would be sweet potatoes, or even breadfruit or yam. So the books would have recipes where all the ingredients used would be local and Caribbean… it would really firm up what Caribbean cooking really is,” he said.
The chef maintained that if a structure which portrays Caribbean culture can be properly established, it will no longer be easy for persons from abroad to take advantage of it and exploit it for their own gain.
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