“Charmaine is a talented actress, cook, and cooking host.
Find out more about her delicious and intriguing recipes here on Dish Up.”
Growing up in rural Jamaica, most of the food our family ate was grown on our land. Caribbean cuisine, borne from African slave “country” food, and then influenced by the many settlers who came to the islands – Dutch, French, Spanish, English, Indian, Lebanese and Chinese to name a few – is the heart of the island experience. This is what I missed when I left my island home at age 18 to attend school in Canada, always yearning for the bounty of friends, food and culture that I left behind. I traveled great distances to find the perfect ripe plantain, or a succulent mango, and, in time, and out of necessity, I began cooking. It would become the start of what would be a lifelong passion.
I soon left Canada for New York attending a well-known school for the performing arts, and, in time, married my husband, who encouraged me with a new set of pots and a good stove. I began cooking compulsively, and our once empty mahogany dining table was now constantly full of grateful and lively guests.
As my family would spend summers in the country, it soon became natural to me again that there, among nature’s beauty, I would truly hone my relaxed and inviting brand of entertainment. By combining some of the incredible ingredients I had access to, with some of the island recipes from my childhood, I found great results. I was a Jamaican girl with an urban craving for always wanting the best.
It wasn’t long when a good friend suggested that I share my love of cooking and my interest in Caribbean flavors, and this is what I call, Dish Up.