If salt fish rundown, brown stew chicken, and jerk pork have your taste buds tingling, you might just want to embark on this signature culinary experience.
As part of their pride in the island, Jamaicans love their food, taking ingredients from the natural surroundings, cooking with passion, and gathering friends and family for sociable and entertaining dinners. Many hotels organise culinary classes to immerse guests in Jamaican culture; today we're taking a closer look at a unique 'shop and cook' experience with Chef Maurice at the intimate Jamaica Inn.
The quirky town of Ocho Rios sits on the northern coast of Jamaica, and its streets are lined with chicken shacks, quaint souvenir stands, and huts selling coconut juice straight from the fruit. Your morning begins as you venture with Chef Maurice to his favourite spot in town, the farmer’s market, situated just a few minutes by bus transfer from the hotel.
Scouring the stalls for the freshest fruit, vegetables, organic herbs and spices, you’ll soon learn that Chef knows a thing or two about great quality ingredients and exquisite food. As he goes, he will discuss the different flavours of each type of ingredient, and allow you to sample some, including seasonal June plums, naseberry and scotch bonnet peppers for the brave – not even Chef Maurice knows how hot it will be! He will then guide you through how these are traditionally sourced and cooked in Jamaica, as well as how it has evolved in modern culture – did you know that Coca Cola has antidote properties thanks to the Jamaican Bissy nut?
Bringing the farm-to-table concept to life, after your shopping experience, your group will head back to the hotel and enjoy a drink before taking your seats in the Upper Dining Room. Chef sets up his stage kitchen, chopping up the ingredients purchased from the farmer’s market and getting set to cook up a culinary delight. Enjoy a taste of the fruit purchased as you eagerly await to see what Chef Maurice manages to whip up.
Today’s meal is the traditional Jamaican dish of Ackee and Saltfish, found on breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack menus all over the island. Buttery fried dumplings rolled using flour are a staple side dish, washed down with your favourite drink, be it a cool glass of Ting or a fruity rum punch. Using the avocado, scotch bonnet peppers, scallion, onion and seasonings all purchased from the market, Chef Maurice rustles up a taste bud sensation and portions it up for everyone to enjoy.
A discerning foodie or fussy first-timer, this gastronomical experience and flavourful tasting session will have you begging Chef for the recipe – don’t worry, there’s one for everyone to take home!