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Keeping Bajan cooking alive

Barbadian cuisine may be facing a culinary crisis in the Diaspora, but one local chef is leading the fight to keep it alive.

Chef Peter Edey argued that Barbadian cuisine is not being consumed by many Barbadians living overseas.

He reasoned that local dishes traditionally took hours to prepare, and persons living abroad may have become accustomed to a fast-paced lifestyle, therefore, opting for simpler meals.

However, the culinary expert said that with new technologies and techniques, traditional Bajan dishes could now be prepared in 40 minutes or less.

Stating he was doing his part to ensure the culinary culture of this island remained vibrant and alive, Edey revealed he would be hosting an interactive workshop titled Bajan Cultural Immersion – Cooking the Bajan Way.

It is scheduled to take place on August 9 during the Barbados Network Consultation 2012 – 2nd Diaspora Conference, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.

Furthermore, Edey stressed it was important that Barbadians, especially second and third generation Bajans, preserved this island’s culinary culture. Observing that Barbados operated in a global context and needed to engage with the world, he emphasised it was important that the country connected with the Diaspora and vice versa.

He added: “Food is one of the true things we have left as far as culture is concerned. We have a really rich [food] history and it started back in the slave days.

“The only way to reach the world effectively with anything is through your culture; culture that persons could get only if they come to your country, or if it is prepared by your people. Food, for me, is that true culture, and if we want to reach the world, we have to reach it with food and music. So, our tuk band and our culinary delights are two of the strongest things we can use to [help] Barbadians to reach the world…,” Edey maintained.

Asked whether he thought it was necessary for persons to learn how to cook the Bajan way, he explained: “Food has evolved, and if you are a Barbadian living overseas it is even more important for you to see the evolution of Barbadian cuisine…

“With more knowledge, chemistry and science in the cooking industry, we have learnt how to get the same results, that rich Barbadian flavour of herbs, spices and seasonings, in a much shorter space of time. That is what we plan to show persons at the Barbados Network Consultation,” Edey reiterated. He encouraged Barbadians to come out and support the workshop, adding that some lucky patrons would get the opportunity to cook with him during the workshop.

“Barbadians here and abroad should come out to the diaspora conference to see the linkage with food, our culture and history, as well as the evolution of Barbadian food, what it was and what it is these days,” Edey added.

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