Letter From the Editor

Welcome to Our ‘Rebirth’

It is an odd thing to center the first issue of Island and Spice Magazine around the concept of rebirth. However, the theme reflects the maturation of a larger food movement taking place — one that recognizes the people of Caribbean heritage who are actively redefining Caribbean food on their own terms.

When I decided to create I+S Magazine, my goal was simple: to elevate the presentation of Caribbean food. I wanted to do this in a way that stood apart from the commercialized versions of Caribbean life — the versions we often see peddled for tourism dollars. (These versions get us thinking that the Caribbean food experience consists of little more than piña coladas, plantains and jerk chicken pizzas.) Having been raised in a Jamaican home, I always knew that the region had a lot more to offer.


. . . Turns out, a good number of Caribbean chefs agreed.

For our cover story, we spoke with Jason Howard, a chef who has been tirelessly crafting a Caribbean food technique that can compete with the likes of high-end French cuisine — a painstaking process he felt was necessary and overdue.

With the opening of The Top Deck, his restaurant in Barbados, he is on the way to changing the landscape of Caribbean cuisine.

We also went to New Orleans and devoured bowls and bowls of flan. The ever-so-delicate dish was so good we had to write about it. I+S Magazine sits down with Ingrid Thomas, the chef and daughter who inherited the recipe from her father, to understand the roots of this dish. What we found, however, is a story about love, loss and letting go as the chef prepares to move to another state. The flan has to stay behind since its recipe depends on the guiding intuition of a magic blender.


Lastly, we catch up with Von Diaz, a Puerto Rican who was raised in Georgia. She shares with us her recipe for coconut-braised collards. Like many islanders who live stateside, Ms. Diaz grapples with her dual identities. She explains how her cookbook, “Coconuts and Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South” became her compass.

In the coming months, we will continue to introduce chefs who are working to change the Caribbean cuisine experience and share recipes that are worthy of testing out in your home kitchens.

I welcome you to enjoy the journey with us!

Rochelle Oliver