A taste of sunshine

food-caribbeanWHAT do we need? Sunshine!

When do we need it? Now!

Most of us would give our eye-teeth for a few weeks of sunshine – frosty would be fine!

So who can blame travelling chef Philippa Davis from Shaftesbury if she grabbed with both hands and the first available plane an invitation to go and cook in the Caribbean …


DID I think twice about taking a last minute job in the Caribbean in mid February? No, I did not! I had started to pack while still on the phone completing the details and getting the job description.

The gig was to go and cook for 10 guys doing a boot camp on the incredibly stunning island of Canouan. The name comes from the Arawakan word meaning turtle and as the cute little creatures are everywhere, it is very aptly named. Their favourite spot seems to be hanging out in the middle of the road. When driving around you simply don’t wait for a turtle to get out the way so you are forever getting out of the vehicle, picking them up and moving them to the other side. I began to feel racked with guilt though as half of the time I never new which side of the road they had intended to finish up on.

With nutritional training being a major part of the trip I was fascinated to hear the advice being given out and what the soon to be “Adonises” could or shouldn’t eat. Lunch was packed with carbohydrates, fatty meats were required in the evening after a morning of exercise, whole milk was a must and butter was given the thumbs up! Mind you, if I was scrambling up volcanic rocks and doing that amount of exercise I would want to be well fed too, even in that heat.

Meal planning as always started with what is at its most delicious. The island produces some fantastic herbs and salads and in the local waters there are some tasty sweet tiger shrimps. Marry that with some essential Caribbean chili, a splash of coconut and juice from the glut of local limes and you have a lip smackingly good starter. King fish is another local must try, a firm white fish with skin that resembles unpolished silver..

I have to admit I barbecued a lot. Who could blame me? I was seduced by the warm air, being able to watch the bright blue waves crashing against the rocks and listen to the birds singing their exotic songs all whilst cooking lunch. The only thing that was missing was a glass of iced rum…

After making 5 litres of fresh juices, 4.5 kilo of homemade granary bread (that was my personal work-out) and more vegetables and salad than you would find at New Covent Garden Market on a Friday, the job was done.

food-caribbean2 food-caribbean3Sadly returning my sunhat to the suitcase and flip-flops to the drawer, I am off to Switzerland, swapping sand and sun for snow and skis in Verbier.

For Philippa’s King Fish Curry with Caribbean Green Seasoning and Spiced Sweet Potato Chips, visit her website www.philippadavis.com