Antiguan chef to showcase local cuisine in cooking festival

Plantain and corn waffles with drunken chicken, featuring English Harbour Rum. (Photos by Travel Advisors Selling the Caribbean (TASC)
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Ducana, saltfish, beef patties and fungee are just a few of the dishes that an Antiguan chef will be showcasing during a virtual cooking series called “the 12 days of Caribbean cooking festival”.

Claude Lewis, an award-winning Antiguan chef and winner of US-based Food Network’s “Chopped” programme, said he will be demonstrating simple ways to create mouth-watering dishes from the twin-island, using inspiration from his family’s history.

The series, created by Travel Advisors Selling the Caribbean (TASC), will take place between November 30 and December 11 in an effort to “promote the culinary diversity of the region by highlighting the talents of some of the hardworking chefs, bakers, chocolatiers and other culinary artisans who help to make the Caribbean product so special”, a release said.

Lewis, who owns a restaurant in New Jersey called Freetown Road — named after the two villages in Antigua and Barbuda where his parents were born, Freetown and Old Road — told Observer that he has other great things in store.

“We are about to launch our fall menu on October 1st, as well. There are a few other events but they are still being worked out,” he said referring to his Caribbean restaurant.

“We have received so much love and support from the local community during the pandemic and we recognise that there is a huge demand for Caribbean food. So we looked at some of the culinary traditions and flavour combinations from Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean islands and have developed a menu that fully embraces our Caribbean culture.

“I plan to feature English Harbour Rum in some of the dishes on my holiday menu as we celebrate the warmth of Christmas. As temperatures begin to cool down, patrons can expect things to heat up at Freetown Road restaurant.”

Meanwhile, TASC senior administrator and Lewis’ publicist, Derede Whitlock, explained that, “The 12 Days of Caribbean Cooking Festival is designed to spotlight the culinary product of the Caribbean at a time when many destinations are trying to rebuild their tourism business. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to educate our travel advisors and to share some Caribbean cheer.

“We hope that this event will help motivate more visitors to visit the Caribbean as the region returns to full capacity,” Whitlock, who is also an Antiguan, remarked.

Just recently, Lewis, during an appearance on the WPIX 11 Morning News show on US television, prepared saltfish fritters, antroba (eggplant) and ducana as the traditional breakfast from Antigua and Barbuda.

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