The Caribbean Tourism Organization selected Barbadian Chef Jason Howard to share Caribbean cuisine and culture on their behalf during their 2018 Caribbean Week in New York. Howard’s presentations did not disappoint.
Indeed, his Chili Salt-Fish and Corn Roasted Sweet Potato Mash–a dish presented at CTO’s Rum & Rhythm benefit which was a five hour Friday after work scholarship fundraiser, held in at the historic CAPITALE in the Bowery in New York, received many commendations from patrons at the event.
“I am impressed. This is very good,” said Markly Wilson, Director of International Marketing of New York State’s Division of Tourism, after tasting the dish.
Karen Murray from Vermont, who had sampled other dishes before tasting Howard’s dish, openly remarked, “Ooops, I made a mistake. I put my coin in the wrong box. This dish is a winner. It is light and I can taste the individual flavors.”
When another patron came back for seconds, a soft-spoken Howard told him, “I don’t have any more roasted sweet potato, but I can give you salt fish with some beans. Is that OK?”
The patron nodded and Howard obliged.
Truth be told, persons at the Rum & Rhythm event were also still openly complimenting the dishes Howard created for CTO’s Tourism and Media Awards dinner.
The soup reflected, in part, one of Howard’s cooking philosophies, the fusion of other cultures and the Caribbean. In this case, a combination of South America and Barbados.
“The Red Snapper ceviche was brought to the dinner table in a bowl. Then we added piping hot eddoe soup to the fish at the table. That’s how the fish was cooked; fresh and not overcooked,” explained Howard.
As Howard and his assistants served patrons, Justin Clarke, his manager was completing media interviews and responding to questions of patrons.
“Howard was a master chef in the United Kingdom. He was one of the top eight and is still striving to win the coveted Michelin Star award. He has a passion for food and he reproduces many of the things he learned from his grandmother. One of my favorites is a pork belly soup done on a slow cooker. To a large extent, Howard is self-taught. If you check, you will see that he has an extremely large social media following,” Clarke remarked.
In a published interview, Howard put it this way:
“I think the reason I have gained a lot of response and love from Instagram is that I share everything. Some chefs don’t and they keep everything to themselves but I don’t see the sense in discovering something and not sharing it. People will take my ideas, try them, and not give me credit but my followers will always say something so I don’t have to. Instagram is important because as chefs we need to share our discoveries and then people spread the word about you and more people come to try your food.”
One must now ask, what’s next? Howard began as a porter at a five-star Hotel in St James. He now shares food as art and is linked with Top Of The Deck, a restaurant in St Peter, Barbados. Clearly, if left to Howard, he appears destined to become the “Bob Marley” of Bajan cuisine.
(Walter Edey is a former educator and author who believes that Structural Thinking is the wave of the future.
E Mail: werus 2642 @ gmail.com.)