Catching Up With One of the Caribbean’s Top Chefs

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By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

Digby Stridiron is kind of a big deal.

A member of the James Beard Foundation who perfected his culinary craft at Florida restaurants including Luma on Park and Norman’s, the Crucian chef got his start at the island’s famed Buccaneer Hotel.

“I’m inspired by nature, beauty, art and my overwhelming love for the energy of others,” Stridiron says of his culinary passion, which was ignited as a child when he cooked with his father and grandmother, and continues today as he cooks for celebs including Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry.

We caught up the chef for the scoop on the future of Caribbean cuisine; the most common cooking mistake; and the one meal he could eat for the rest of his life.

The Future of Caribbean Cuisine
Contemporary West Indian cuisine is on the verge of being the next celebrated cuisine of the world. Our climate allows us to grow an array of produce, such as breadfruit, sweet potatoes, mangoes, coconuts, and soursop. Our rich history and culture have influenced the way we prepare dishes, allowing for more versatile fare and flavors. I’m seeing trends from the West Indian Chefs Alliance, where the chefs are creating sustainable cuisine, embodying the art, ingredients and true culture of the Caribbean in their dishes.

Where (And What) To Eat On St Croix
You have to order Burt Peterson’s fish and fungi at Cast Iron Pot Restaurant in Christiansted. And I can never get enough of the lentil balls and chlorophyll at Ital in Paradise. Don’t leave without stopping by La Reine Chicken Shack for the chicken and johnny cakes.

In My Fridge Right Now

Leftovers from The Cast Iron and some homemade sparkling coconut water I concocted.

The Most Common Mistake Home Cooks Make

Sometimes they rush the process and don’t take the time to use the right ingredient or follow the directions. Or they make substitutions that don’t work as well so the meal doesn’t end up looking or tasting the same. They just need to slow down and enjoy the experience.

The One Ingredient I Must Have In My Kitchen

It would have to be coconut. I use the water, milk and the pulp. It’s versatile and complements my dishes well.

If I Could Only Eat One Meal For The Rest of My Life

It Would Be Barbacoa with rice and beans; coleslaw, potato stuffing, macaroni and cheese prepared “VI style,” and johnny cakes – a true “VI” plate!