Learn to Cook Like A Jamaican
Nothing can compare to mama’s cooking. Jamaicans across the world have treasured the unforgettable, scrumptious taste of their mother's 'hand' in the kitchen. Co-founders of ‘Cook Like A Jamaican’, Angela Lawrence and Fay DeLeon are no exceptions.
A fan of her Jamaican mother's cooking, the Toronto-raised Lawrence was set on acing the art like a true Jamaican. Along with her sisters, Lawrence would gather around DeLeon to learn her golden recipes.
“Even though my sisters and I were not born in Jamaica and have never lived there, we are still Jamaican — it’s our heritage. Growing up with a Jamaican mother, she taught us how to cook and Jamaican food was her domain. As adults we’d still go to our parent’s house to eat our favourite Jamaican dishes like oxtail. One day, we decided to have her teach us one Jamaican recipe per month so we could make it ourselves. The first recipe she taught us was escoveitched fish and I taped it because I was too lazy to write down the recipe. That video became the first one on our website a few years later,” Lawrence shared with Food.
With their Cook like a Jamaican website and YouTube channel launched in 2012, Lawrence and DeLeon believes it is a perfect way to document their family’s recipes. It is also a legacy project for the family, sharing all of their favourite Jamaican recipes.
The website aims to upload new recipes to the website a few times a month, ensuring that persons around the world can learn and make their favourite Jamaican foods.
Delon tells Food that as a young girl growing up in Jamaica, she loved cooking and being in the kitchen. She learnt how to cook by watching people in her home and at her grandmother’s house. After she got married she practised what she remembered until she got the recipes right. “There was a lot of trial and error, but I knew how the dishes were supposed to taste,” DeLeon expressed.
She continued, “All the recipes featured on the site are my recipes. Some are recipes I’ve been cooking for years, while others I’ve researched and tested, like hard-dough bread and plantain chips. People requested them and they’re not recipes I make often.”
Since leaving Jamaica, DeLeon has lived in several countries, and this allows her Jamaican dishes to have the 'taste' of different cuisines. She keeps her recipes simple and easy to make but her cooking style is still primarily Jamaican.
DeLeon is the brain behind the extraordinary recipes, but Lawrence is the artistic arm that saw the value of her mother’s culture and shared it with the world.
“It’s a lot of fun to teach the world and my daughter how to cook like a Jamaican. Our mission is to share the Jamaican culture through food, so we consider everyone in the world our family. I’m happy that Angela is here to record my recipes for future generations. I know my daughters and some of my nieces have tried several of my recipes by visiting the website, which makes me happy,” DeLeon shared.
Today Lawrence believes she is close to cooking like a Jamaican. Today ‘Cook Like a Jamaican’ recipes are requested by their audience which they enjoy testing and sharing. “The audience feedback has been amazing! Today, we have thousands of people on our mailing list who also follow us on social media. We love our CLJ Community! We’re here to help and we love being of service. People often send us the most heartwarming letters thanking us for changing their lives by helping them to reconnect to these traditional Jamaican recipes. Their letters mean a lot to us and often make my mother teary. It surprises her that doing something she loves can have such a positive influence,” shared Lawrence.
Cook Like A Jamaican
YouTube and Instagram: Cook Like A Jamaican