I put down my roots in Guadeloupe, where nature is generous and instills
a taste for work and play. In the West Indies, the art of cooking comes to us as
an inheritance. There is no particular hour for eating. There is always something
to taste within arm’s reach—a piece of fruit, a fritter, cane juice, coconut sherbet,
confectionery such as the delicious kilibibi…West Indians are gourmands by nature
I am both Guadeloupean and a head chef. My grandmother initiated me into the subtleties of
Creole cooking and it was through a sin that I discovered its authentic tastes - yes, I admit it,
as soon as she turned her back, I dipped my finger into her sauces, out of pure greed.
Today I cook just as my grandmother taught me. I use fish and shellfish from the Caribbean Sea -
mahi mahi, swordfish, snapper, shark, octopus, conch. A great diversity of herbs goes into
developing my sauces - scallions, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, bois d'Ince* and spices also play
an important part in any Creole feast, from the celebrated West Indian Colombo powder
(curry powder) to graines a roussir, a blend of cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds.
Indeed, the whole secret of Creole cooking is to be found in its spices, and in the way
the ingredients are marinaded before cooking, lending our food its incomparable bouquet of aromas.
Led by the winds of history and adventure, Creole cuisine is the happy result of cross-fertilization.
It reflects the same diversity of civilizations that characterize the West Indian people themselves,
who have come to our islands from Asia, Africa, Europe and the East Indies. Our cuisine is solid and
well constructed, however, it remains refined and light and its palette extends well beyond the
traditional sweet and sour. Its flavors are not aggressive, partly because the chile we eat is
often served separately and added to a dish according to each person's taste. Finally, it is
healthy and nutritionally well balanced.
When enjoying Creole cuisine, your sense of smell functions at full speed and your tastebuds
are constantly stimulated. Its tastes can surprise but they can never disappoint. It awakens
the senses and never leaves you indifferent. Its aromas are seductive, as is its hint of
pungency. You succumb to its charms at once and will never forget them.
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What is Creole cooking? Creole combines the tastes and traditions of Asia, Africa, India, France and Spain to create a refined and colorful cuisine. Most Americans know Creole cooking through Food Network chef Emeril Lagasse, but it had its start many years ago. The original French settlers in America combined traditional French cooking techniques and applied them to the ingredients used by Native Americans, Spanish and Africans who lived in the city of New Orleans. These "creole" dishes contain more tomato sauce, garlic and a greater variety of herbs than Cajun dishes. Although both are strongly French, the Creoles and the Cajuns came to Louisiana by different paths.