Rochelle Keane, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's Blue Mountains are not only abundant in natural beauty, but also with exquisite savoury dishes served by the Gap Café. 'Home-made' and 'traditional' are the terms that resonate with those who have dined at this rustic paradise, but now there is more on the table.
In a land known for its 'out of many, one people', this is now being applied to how Jamaican food can be mixed with something new. The Gap Café is transforming how Jamaicans mix and mingle and infusing it by using their menus to display how foods can be cooked traditionally by other cultures and still offer great zest for those dining at the café.
Last Sunday's menu was 'Jamwaiian' - Jamaican dishes inspired by a Hawaiian feel. Customers were able to enjoy the different spices, flavours and seasonings that are more than capable of satisfying their palate.
fusion of Jamaican cuisine
Gloria Palomino, an owner of The Gap Café, tells Food that the last Sunday of each month, the menu will be a fusion of Jamaican cuisine with cuisine from another country. Sunday was the first, with the Hawaiian fusion. "I visit Hawaii often, and what I have realised is, a lot of the foods they have there are here as well. I thought it would be a good idea to use our foods and apply the Hawaiian spin to create a new experience, a change for people who enjoy food."
With dasheen being a ground provision that both cultures share, it was incorporated into the Jamwaiian menu. Healthy-lifestyle motivator, Peta-Gaye Linton, who is also the chef in charge of presenting the Jamwaiian dishes to customers at The Gap Café, explained the choice of Hawaiian food.
"The taste and flavour of how the dishes are made is what makes it Hawaiian. Hawaiians use a cultural way to prepare the foods by hand (by crushing ground provisions). The flavours you get are not tampered by the use of heat or other cooking methods, making the foods free from any additives or preservatives."
For this fusion, she used the expertise of Peta-Gaye Linton. "Peta is what I would call organic - she uses everything fresh. This is the healthy aspect of nothing but natural products being used to make the dishes. She goes as far as grating her own coconuts because she does not like using anything from a bar or tin. I find that very amazing."
The Jamwaiian experience's menu served customers, Rock 'em, Tropical Salad, and Uliuli Fish. All dishes contained ingredients such as pineapples, dasheen and cassava, which are not only native to Hawaii, but also Jamaica, land we love, hence the Jamwaiian theme.
Look out for Peta-Gaye Linton's Healthy Food My Medicine story in Sunday's Outlook.