Sun | Oct 13, 2019

Simone Walker-Barrett - Professor of flavour

Published:Thursday | August 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie/Gleaner Writer
Chef Simone Walker-Barrett
Chef Simone Walker-Barrett
Rum and Cola Glazed Chicken Skewers
Scotch Bonnet Corn Bread

Her students call her the queen of flavour - and no ,it's not just because of her colourful personality. It's because of her ability to create tasty dishes with ingredients nobody else thinks of.

Simone Walker-Barrett started cooking at age nine with her father, and though both parents were great cooks, it was more so the creative mind of her father and the livestock he raised that inspired her.

Her training started in home economics class in high school and continued with HEART Trust/NTA at the Boulevard Baptist Skills Training Centre, which is where she began entering the JCDC Culinary Arts Competitions.

After leaving the Boulevard Baptist Skills Training Centre, she was called back to work in the canteen. She completed three more levels of training and was offered a position as an instructor.

She later left to study at the Culinary Institute of America before returning to take up the position she currently holds at the University of Technology.

"I am now a culinary lecturer in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Technology ... . The JCDC Culinary Arts Competition has really helped me, first as a student, then a facilitator, and now a professional chef."

Barret shares a few of her favourite recipes.


Plantain Fritters


Yield: 20 1oz fritters

Dry Ingredients:

8 oz all-purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

2 tsp instant yeast (mix into flour)

1tbsp baking powder

1tsp cinnamon powder

1tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp Salt

3Tbsp refined cornmeal

Liquid Ingredients:

1cup whole milk

3 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter

1tbsp vanilla

2 very ripe plantains, crushed

1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated

1 pint vegetable oil for frying




Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk to incorporate air and to remove any lumps.

In a separate bowl, peel and mash ripe plantains.

Add remaining liquid ingredients, stir to combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, gently cut and fold together until a stiff batter has been formed.

Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Pour vegetable oil in medium pot, heat to 350F. Use a 1oz scoop to drop the fritter batter into heated oil. Fry until golden brown.

Remove fritters from oil, drain on absorbent paper.

Drizzle with a toffee sauce or roll in cinnamon sugar.




Ripe plantains that are black in colour have a higher sugar content and will add more flavour to the fritter.

Instant yeast is added straight into the flour versus instant dry yeast that has to be activated by water.

Fritters may be rolled in cinnamon sugar mixture or drizzled with a caramel dipping sauce.


Cinnamon Festivals


Yield: 15-20 2oz festivals

Cooking method: frying


1 lb all-purpose flour

6oz cornmeal

2 tbsp baking powder

3 tbsp sugar

1tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 cup coconut milk powder

1oz butter

1tbsp Yeast

1tbsp Salt

1tbsp vanilla

10oz water (room temperature)

3 cups vegetable oil for frying




Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Use a whisk to aerate and remove lumps.

Add the butter using the tips of the fingers to rub into the flour mixture.

Add water and vanilla mix in a circular motion until dough if formed. Knead the dough by hand for five minutes.

Cover with a damp cloth or paper towel and allow resting for 15-20 mins.

Pre-heat oil to 350/375F. Weigh out dough into 2oz balls and roll evenly into 8" cylinders. Place on a floured tray to rest.

Fry festivals in batches of five, making sure not to crowd the pot.

Fry until golden brown.




Roll the dough in a back and forth motion. Also roll from the middle out to the ends to achieve consistency in size.

Festivals should have round and not pointy ends.

To test if the oil is ready for frying, use a thermometer or drop a small piece of the dough, which should form bubbles in the oil.