EXPLAINED BY CHEF PUERTORRIQUEÑO JOSÉ SANTAELLA
The Caribbean is much more than sun and spectacular beaches. The regional cuisine is a box of surprises that will impact palates like the Puerto Rican ‘mofongo’, the ‘ackee’ with cod fish from Jamaica, and the ‘calaloo’ from Trinidad and Tobago. The word “Caribbean” evokes colors and exotic landscapes that translate into a generous offer of dishes in the kitchen. These concoctions very from country to country in the region, that for the most part, remains unknown for most of the people.
The fusion of cultures between the indigenous, European and African has resulted in a varied cuisine where beans and rice are always present, combined with meats ad fish from their warm waters. Corn and yucca are some of the must-have ingredients in this cuisine that has slowly gained a reputation, thanks to the work of regional chefs who have returned to these countries after gaining experience and exposure in Europe and the United States.
An important representative of the Caribbean cuisine with international profile is José Santaella, who from the restaurant that bears his name at the Puerto Rican capital, is making his mark at a business establishment that has seen a good handful of Hollywood stars or high-profile personalities such as Isabel Preysler and Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, among many others. Santaella pointed out that although there is a common ground on the Caribbean cuisine, the differences in the specialties of every island are remarkable.