Last week the lovely people at Celebrity Cruises invited me to savor the joyful Creole cooking of Vanessa Bolosier. The reason for the event was twofold: to preview the new brand film shot in the Caribbean called ‘A Different View’ and to also launch the ‘At Home with Chef Nicole’ shore excursion – where guests get to taste authentic Caribbean cooking prepared and served in the comfort of a local Antiguan’s home.
The on-shore experience sounds incredible: experience authentic Caribbean cuisine, culture, and hospitality while enjoying a behind-the-scenes visit to the private home and garden of one of the Caribbean’s most well-known chefs Nicole Arthurton. Guests will get to journey to the home of Chef Nicole, known for her incredible Caribbean cuisine, and get a taste of Antiguan culture. After a tour of Chef Nicole’s garden (full of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs) guests will then enjoy a scrumptious three-course Caribbean meal on Chef Nicole’s deck, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Amazing.
Our host for the evening was Chef Vanessa Bolosier who grew up in Guadeloupe. She voyaged from fashion modeling in France to running a London supper club in 2012. She now runs an experiential kitchen in Bayswater inside The Beachcomber Bar – with a Creole cook book and an award-winning coconut confectionery brand to boot.
Vanessa was an exuberant guide for our palates – she steered us through a delicious course of six dishes which were drawn from the many islands that make up the Caribbean, from Granada to St Lucia. Her food was hearty and welcoming, delicious and unpretentious – and she was an absolute joy to photograph.
The evenings drinks were rum based cocktails. My favourite was the Ti Punch – a tangy short cocktail made with Agricole rum (made from cane juice) with more of a kick than a punch.
We snacked on spiced nuts, plantain crisps and beautiful Salt-fish fritters (a delicious quintessential Caribbean snack, served with Puerto Rican sofrito sauce) before moving onto more rum… and then the main event. The six course tasting menu was a spectrum of fresh and zesty flavours from the light starter of Pan Caribbean Coconut Slaw to the hearty Sweet Potato Oil Down (a curry based broth with salted beef).
I enjoyed the evening very much – it opened my eyes to a region of new flavours – I did not feel I simply dipped my toe in the water, but instead had a proper Creole cuisine soaking. At the end of the dinner we all rolled on out into the night with full bellies and the beginnings of a rum tan.
Time to book tickets.