KFC Nassau helps the hungry with over $13,000 New Year's Donation to The Bahamas National Feeding Network
January 21, 2015
Committed to giving back to communities in which its brand operates, KFC Nassau brought cheer to the start of the Bahamas National Feeding Network’s...
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January 02, 2015
Gregory Collie II knows that he's "sweet mouth" and to indulge his sweet tooth he started making cookies from scratch "just for the heck of it" to enjoy whenever he had a craving and especially to enjoy while watching football with family and friends. But five months after losing his job, and one month after the birth of his first child, he found that things were tight financially and he needed an income. Collie turned to the thing he enjoyed most -- baking cookies -- something he had only done for pleasure, but which people told him he needed to sell. Out of necessity, The Cookie Caterer was born in July 2012 as a way for Collie to generate income to pay his bills and find a way to live. Today, The Cookie Caterer is in high demand with Collie looking to hiring help to ensure that he can meet the demands placed on him.
Collie started The Cookie Caterer with just four flavors -- chocolate chunk, white chocolate, double chocolate and oatmeal raisin. Today his menu also boasts red velvet, and s'more cookies; and cookies can be customized, according to a customer's preference, meaning the combinations are almost endless. With the advent of the New Year, Collie said his customers could expect new flavors to the menu, as he will be experimenting with liqueurs to add to his cookies.
He hopes they're a big hit as were the red velvet cookies that were introduced for Valentine's Day and which became a year-round much-requested item.
On average, Collie's home-based cookie business churns out about 200 cookies daily. During December he averaged 400 daily; his orders more than doubled daily during the Christmas week. Christmas Eve and Valentine's Day are his busiest days during which he averages 1,000-plus cookies.
And he does all of this in a regular 30-inch oven with four cookie sheets.
In the two years that he's been selling his cookies, the growth he said has been staggering.
"I've become busier and busier, where it' to the point I'm going to have to start looking into expanding and start hiring some help," he said.
Currently Collie's day begins around 6 a.m. to bake off cookies to fill daily orders.
"To be honest, I don't set hours. I have to provide ... and that's the balance everyone struggles with -- the balance between the professional and the personal life. But I realize where I want to take the company, and how much time I'm going to have to put into it. " He likes orders to be in by 11 a.m. so that he can plan his day and work out his delivery route so that he can ensure he has time for his family in the evenings.
No matter how long he's in the kitchen for scooping, baking and switching out cookie sheets, Collie said he does not view it as a chore or work as he really enjoys baking.
"It's a labor of love and I enjoy doing it. I've been doing it so much to this point that it's almost second nature and I don't really feel it."
When you get a delivery from The Cookie Caterer, Collie says you can be assured that you're getting a product that has been made to order and won't be old or stale. And he assures that you will be getting the softest, moistest cookies possible, unless you decide to order your cookies with a crisp texture.
"The cookies are all homemade and handmade with love and care and tastes like the best homemade cookies you'll ever have," said Collie.
His cookies' shelf life he said will depend on how you store them after delivery. If you leave them in the original container, he says the shelf life may be two or three days. If you place them in an airtight container he says they could last up to a week. And if you refrigerate them he said they last even longer.
His top three sellers are chocolate chunk, red velvet and white chocolate. He says he finds people partial to his oatmeal raisin as well. Collie himself says the cookie he can't resist is his double chocolate cookie. For those persons who have not had one of his cookies as yet, he said it's hard to make a recommendation as people's tastes. He usually recommends they opt for a sample box of the basic flavors -- chocolate chunk, double chocolate, white chocolate and oatmeal raisin -- and depending on a person's budget he said they could throw in red velvet as well.
"It's tough to recommend because everybody's so different, but all the cookies are delicious," he said.
The Cookie Caterer's treats start at $10 for 15 cookies and $15 for 25 cookies, prices which he said is extremely affordable when they take in what they're getting and the quality of the product -- freshly baked and customized to each customer's needs.
Collie who says he feels "liberated and completely free" baking and selling his cookies because he's not tied to anybody, and doesn't have to ask anyone to take a break or vacation time, says he feels completely independent. He also wants to look into a brick and mortar storefront for his current online business, franchising opportunities and has a 10-year plan on taking his company global after he has received inquiries from people in other countries.
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December 20, 2014
Mix a star chef with everyday supermarket ingredients, 150 modern, delicious recipes with global flavors that home cooks can make with ease, and you have Chef Todd English's newest cookbook -- Cooking in Everyday English The ABCs of Great Flavor at Home" -- the world-renowned chef's fourth book.
On Thursday, English hosted an exclusive book signing for his latest cookbook at his Olives restaurant at the Atlantis.
"Cooking in Everyday English The ABCs of Great Flavor At Home" is divided into 10 mouthwatering chapters -- cocktails and appetizers; soups, salads and sandwiches; vegetables; starches; birds and eggs; meat; fish and shellfish and desserts. And most recipes have 10 or fewer ingredients, and most are prepared in 30 minutes or less.
The book includes a beginner's primer that focuses on spice rubs, vinaigrettes, compound butters, aiolis and master pasta and dough recipes that are easy to make yet go beyond the true basics.
There are also 50 simple essential techniques from peeling an avocado in seconds to extracting meat from lobster, offering simple skills that save time and effort in the kitchen with an eye on how you cook at home.
Throughout the book there are a number of how-tos, which makes it feel like the reader has a personal "cook whisperer" at their side with Chef English walking his readers through the basic techniques every cook should know.
The celebrity chef, restaurateur, author, television personality and entrepreneur, who is a four-times James Beard Award winner's with more than 20 restaurants said his latest cookbook is about his style of cooking -- cooking at home, cooking fresh and cooking farm to table.
"I always believe in cooking common ingredients in uncommon ways, so it really gives a twist on things that are simple. These are recipes that I've been doing on and off for years, and some new ones that came out of just working in the kitchen."
He also provides pictures for every recipe in the book, as he believes it's important for his readers to have visuals as to what the finished dish should look like. He also offers a suggestion as to what to drink with each dish.
While English says every recipe in the book is stellar, pressed as to what his readers should try to make first out of his new cookbook, he did admit to being partial to the Double-Carrot Risotto which he said is healthy and delicious.
English's new book took him about to year to write. It was released last year, but he held off the release in The Bahamas so that he could do the book signing.
Chef English, who is known for his interpretive rustic Mediterranean cuisine also did a live pasta cooking demonstration on Friday, at Olives, which included a tasting and personalized book. And his freshly made pastas with offerings like seafood fra diavolo (spicy tomato sauce, shrimp and Maine lobster), butternut squash tortelli (brown butter, sage and Parmesan), ricotta ravioli (roasted tomato basil sauce, sweet Italian sausage, and garlic breadcrumbs) and handcrafted rigatoni Bolognese (old-school Tuscan Bolognese and shaved Parmigiano) are some of the most requested items on the menu, as people can see their pasta being made for their dish.
The whole snapper from the fish market, which is seasoned simply with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled a la plancha, and served with a watermelon radish slaw and a choice of four sauces -- roasted tomato butter, pineapple ginger vinaigrette, salsa verde or lemon caper scampi butter, is a big seller from their fish market.
Rounding out the top three top three requested items on the Olives menu is the diver scallops with sweet pea risotto, pancetta and a 63-degree egg.
Chef English is also the author of "The Olives Table," "The Figs Table" and "The Olives Dessert Table".
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November 26, 2014
Improving food security in The Bahamas and the Caribbean region begins with increasing production and productivity among small farmers throughout CARICOM countries. The Ministry of Agriculture...
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November 14, 2014
Lukka Kairi, one of the newest restaurants on the food scene will soon open its doors to the public, and it wants to do so with the best Bahamian food possible. As such, the restaurant's principals recently hosted what was known as the Great Bahamian Cook-off to find the best recipes out there to help determine the final menu for the soon-to-be-open restaurant.
Hundreds of entrants submitted samples of their signature dishes in six categories -- peas 'n' rice, macaroni, conch fritters, Johnny cake, fried fish and guava duff. After an adventurous elimination round, each category was left with the top five entrants who all converged at Choices Restaurant at the Culinary Hospitality Management Institute (CHMI) to prepare their signature dishes from scratch for a panel of judges.
The surprise hit of the day were the amateur entrants from CHMI, who won three of the six categories. Darleen Johnson's macaroni was a hit with not only the judges but the other chefs as well; Ruby Marie Nottage made a mean conch fritter, and Aliea Rolle's Johnny cake had judges begging for a good stew to go with it.
"I'm ecstatic and just overwhelmed with joy to have the best macaroni in The Bahamas," said Johnson.
For Nottage, it would not have been a success without family support.
"I'm in shock, but I'm glad that I won," she said. "I want to thank everyone here, especially my assistant, my Aunty Rhonda and my teachers."
Winning the event was more than a reward -- it was a boost of self-esteem for Rolle. "I feel pretty good about winning. I wasn't as confident in the beginning but now I'm very excited."
Tony Clarke took the fish category; while Michael Turner, a veteran baker, claimed the guava duff division. Jason Johnson took home the award for best peas 'n' rice.
Now under construction in Downtown Nassau, Lukka Kairi which is anticipated will be the hottest all-Bahamian restaurant overlooking Prince George Wharf will give patrons not only a great view of the harbor, but an authentically fantastic Bahamian experience.
The cook-off was a great experience for Lukka Kairi Executive Chef, Alpheus Ramsey, who credits his mother's cooking with getting him into the industry.
"I loved my mother's cooking -- that down-home, Family Island flavor. That's what I'm looking for and I'm finding a lot -- the dry conch... the salt beef. Some folks have their own twist, but the basic flavors are there, and that's what counts," he said.
Deriving its name from the native tongue of the Lucayan Indians, the country's first known inhabitants, the Lukka Kairi Restaurant promises to boast a 100 percent Bahamian look and feel from the entrance to the balcony and beyond. The restaurant's owners are ensuring that their patrons have an authentic, yet high-end, Bahamian experience. Completely designed and outfitted by Bahamian carvers and craftsmen, Lukka Kairi will transition from an upbeat atmosphere during the day to a more relaxed and contemporary facade in the evening.
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November 13, 2014
The First Crop of Papaya from the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) in North Andros was presented to the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie at the Office of the Prime Minister, November 12...
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November 03, 2014
Fresh off his showing at the Food Network Concert at Ravinia event, Chef Simeon Hall is on the move again -- this time he's headed for Florida to participate in the Publix Jerk Cook-off and Celebrity Quick Fire Competition.
At the heart of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival will be the exciting, super-charged cooking competitions. The 13th annual event takes place on Sunday, November 9 at Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida, during which time pro chefs and amateurs will bring the spices and the flavors.
Hall will compete in the celebrity cook-off during which he will have to prepare a meal that features the technique of jerk, using Grace spices. He will have 30 minutes to produce the meal and has no idea what ingredients he will have to use.
He is confident going into the cook-off, having learned the techniques of traditional jerk through his travels around the Caribbean - including Jamaica, where he worked.
"Having picked up the influences of the Caribbean, I consider myself a Caribbean chef, and not just a Bahamian chef," said Hall. "The influences are all intertwined."
The competition won't be a "walk in the park" for Hall who is known to "paint culinary masterpieces. He will be going up against Haitian chef Vicky Colas, the 2012 Caribbean Chef of the Year in the quick fire challenge. Colas' highly acclaimed cooking style has been described as "sweet, exotic and bursting with flavor. Her food is said to be a portrait of [her] love".
Cook-off organizer June Minto said it will be fun to watch who will emerge the winner when Hall and Colas do battle in spicy Jamaican jerk style.
Hall will also demonstrate a fried bread recipe that he said all Caribbean countries have in some shape or form. The Bahamian traditional fried bread, according to Chef Hall is Johnny "Journey" Cake, which, he said, was traditionally fried in a skillet before people starting placing them in baking pans.
At the Miami competition, he will transform Johnny Cake into a savory island donut filled with smoked jerk pork glazed with honey goat pepper. It's a recipe he worked on last week while in Grenada and which he said worked well.
"I think it's going to be fantastic," he said.
"The competitions will be fierce, intense and maybe even cut-throat [but] at the same time participants having loads of fun," said Minto, who is also one of the festival organizers. "This year's Celebrity Quick Fire Challengers will wow the crowd with their culinary competency. Just imagine Bahamian and Haitian cuisine fusion with the number [one] spice in the world -- jerk."
Hall, who was invited to participate in the cook-off, said that, for him, the invitation meant that The Bahamas was finally getting recognition in outside arenas.
Hall is encouraging Bahamians living in Florida, and those who will be visiting that weekend to attend the event en-masse to lend their support.
"It's a huge event, so I encourage people to come out. And even though it's Jamaican-centric, it's a Caribbean event," he said.
Consul General Franz Hall and newly elected representative of the Diaspora Board, Wayne Golding will duke it out in the Celebrity Quick Fire Challenge. There will be no room for diplomacy in this fierce cook-off.
Publix Cook-off defending champion Jimmie Jackson will go up against newcomers, chefs Rocco Nankervis and Andre Walker, along with two other competitors.
Other cooking demos will come from Sandi Morales, fitness lifestyle coach and author of "Recipe For Life", a vegetarian/vegan cookbook. Other judges include Chef Chad Cherry from Bring Organics Back, who has cooked for President Barack Obama, and Hilton Hotel Executive Chef Nicole Rhone.
In keeping with the family-friendly nature of the festival, organizers have included a cooking competition with children nine to 12 from the City of Tamarac's "Cooking for Kids".
"We have added this new element to the cook-off area as a way to get the kids even more involved in the festival. And, it's also a means by which they can show that they can create wonderful dishes too," said Minto.
The festival has also partnered with Joshua's Heart, a charity founded by a Joshua Williams with the mission to stomp out hunger. For eight years, Joshua, who is now 13, has been working to ensure the less fortunate in Miami have food. To help in his quest, organizers are encouraging patrons and their children to bring a non-perishable food item to the festival. Joshua, along with volunteers from the Partners for Youth foundation, will be on-hand to accept the gifts. For a list of items to bring and to learn more about this charity, visit joshuasheart.org.
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November 03, 2014
For entrepreneur Gina Mortimer-Storr and her daughter, Raeh Williams, mixing business and sweet treats is in their DNA. The producers of Sugar Rush 2: The Original Sweet Feast are descendants of Ulric Mortimer, Sr. of Mortimer Candies fame. And while their last name is synonymous with confectionery treats, the pair has taken their family's business model to a new level.
"We launched the first Sugar Rush in 2012 as a way for small, mostly home-based confectioners to showcase their products to a broad consumer base and capitalize on a target audience before the busy holiday season," said Williams, co-owner of Sugar Bay Events, the company behind Sugar Rush 2.
On November 2, Harbourfront Lounge, next to Green Parrot, will transform into a dessert paradise at the second incarnation of the sweet food fest. On tap to showcase their treats at Sugar Rush 2 are Mortimer Candies, Gramma's Treats, Da Bahamian Vegan, the Tart Man, Bake Bahamas, Lexi's Sinful Treats and Pop-Stop (frozen treats). Jack Daniel's Honey will provide a sweet buzz with samples. Patrons can also look forward to giveaways and prizes from Dairy Queen and Outback throughout the event. There will also be the Sweet Spot kids corner, where young bakers can decorate cupcakes or make their own candy-flavored lip-gloss.
"Through Sugar Rush 2, entrepreneurs from bakers to candy makers can reach a captive audience without extensive capital output," said Mortimer-Storr. "With each event, the demand is evident. Vendor spots were practically filled out in less than a month," she said.
The entrance fee of $4 includes free cotton candy for kids. Sugar Rush 2 runs between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
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October 17, 2014
The metro Atlanta area got a chance to see how to cook a Bahamian meal when Maurice Randal appeared as guest on a top rated NBC affiliate show...
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September 20, 2014
The annoying thing about Dorie Greenspan is that no matter how much you don't like to bake, aren't good at baking, don't even want to bake... If you listen to her long enough, you'll find yourself hankering to get your hands into some flour, certain even you can whip up some laborious, glorious baked treat. Her can-do attitude is that infectious.
It's okay to hate her just a little bit for it.
Luckily, Greenspan's latest cookbook, "Baking Chez Moi" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), has little tolerance for time -- or skill-intensive baking. The idea for it came from the realization that even in France -- the country from which much of her culinary inspiration is drawn -- home cooks lack the time, tolerance and skill for anything but simple home baking.
"Real French people don't bake! At least they don't bake anything complicated, finicky, tricky or unreliable,"she writes in the book. "Pastry, the fancy stuff, is what pastry shops are for, and France has plenty of them."
We spoke with Greenspan recently and asked her what desserts Americans are too intimidated to make at home, but really should. The lesson, of course, is that the more you bake, the better you bake. She suggests picking a handful of easy items to master.
"It's really great to have these basic building blocks that you feel really good about and confident about.
And then you can play with what you're making. Then the pleasure of baking is doubled," she said.
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