Chef André Sewell – The culinary virtuoso
Chef André Sewell, popularly known as ‘André Cooks’, has carved a distinct niche for himself.
Experimenting with fresh ideas in an effort to ditch the ordinary when preparing food; Sewell has never backed down from a challenge.
While some of his creations, like ripe breadfruit Parisian flan, fry ova dumplin chicken taco, bacon and oxtail patty, soursop honey mustard salmon, BBQ jerked ram goat, ackee wine, and coffee braised pork hoc, have raised brows, his innovative creations captivated taste buds and showcased his unwavering dedication to creating exceptional dishes that blend traditional Jamaican flavours with a modern twist.
Recently, Chef Sewell showcased his culinary prowess in the Pepsi Food Truck Pop-Up campaign, a unique collaboration with three other renowned chefs redefining the street food landscape with the magic of Pepsi, and leaving an indelible mark on the taste buds of all who have the pleasure of savouring their creations.
A SYMPHONY OF FLAVOURS
Chef Sewell’s menu featured a medley of mouthwatering dishes, each showcasing his culinary artistry. The oakwood-smoked Pepsi BBQ pork belly stole the show. The succulent meat was marinated and cured for nine days, lending it a bacon-like flavour. Smoked over oakwood and oven-braised in Pepsi BBQ sauce, the pork belly boasted a tender texture that effortlessly melted in the mouth.
Accompanying the dish was a roasted garlic potato salad, elevated with the addition of broccoli, cauliflower, and a homemade aioli.
Another standout creation was the fried chicken sandwich with plantain butter. The perfectly marinated chicken breasts, paired with French onion buttermilk coleslaw, delighted palates with its harmonious blend of flavours. The coleslaw dressing, made from buttermilk, egg white mayo, and caramelised onions, added a delightful twist to this classic street food favourite.
For those with a sweet tooth, Chef Sewell presented a luscious Pepsi chocolate pots de crème, adorned with coffee granola and topped with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream. This delectable dessert perfectly balanced the rich flavours of chocolate and coffee, providing a sweet ending to the street food extravaganza.
PASSION FOR ELEVATING JAMAICAN CULTURE
Beyond his culinary creations, Chef Sewell is on a mission to elevate Jamaican cuisine to new heights.
“I’m currently working on developing #ModernJamaicanCuisine. I believe in Jamaican food and there is a space for it in the world of fine dining. I’ve been taking the food, flavours and produce we’ve grown to love and I’ve been elevating them in their preparation, combination and presentation,” he explained.
“If you take a look at my social media, you’ll see the familiar presented in unfamiliar ways (to the local scene) – fruit-shaped desserts, modernist techniques, local flavours with European flair, et cetera,” he continued.
Sewell also plans to rebrand and relaunch his 9 & Fried line of seasoning, which was temporarily unavailable due to supply issues. This innovative seasoning, developed over several years, promises to make fried chicken juicier, more flavourful, and dramatically reduce cooking time.
“[The seasoning] imparts mild jerk flavour into proteins, helps to keep them insanely juicy, and it tenderises them so well that chicken can be fried in nine minutes or less, hence the name. It was made as a two-part package that comes with the seasoning and seasoned flour, but my customers started to love it so much that I also had to start selling it as a standalone seasoning that can be used on anything. When used as directed, it cuts the cooking time of any protein by a minimum of 30 per cent; with my best documented result being 55 per cent,” he explained.
With this venture, the culinary alchemist aims to empower home cooks and food enthusiasts to create delicious meals with ease.
Chef Sewell’s infectious personality also adds an extra flavour to his creations. Authentic and unpretentious, he believes in being true to himself, both in and out of the kitchen.
“There really is no difference between André Cooks and André Sewell. How I put myself out there, is exactly how I am in real life. I’m a very much slippers-and-shorts kinda guy. Laid-back and jovial, I love to laugh, love to make people laugh, and I really only take serious things seriously. At the same time, I’m fervent about the things that I love and I will pour my all into whatever I’m passionate about,” he told Food.
As Chef André Sewell continues to break culinary barriers and elevate Jamaican cuisine, his passion, talent, and dedication shine through in every dish he creates. With his creative fusion of flavours and unwavering commitment to excellence, Chef Sewell is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the world of gastronomy.