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Cultural fusion: Jamaican twist to New Orleans cuisine

A pasta fusion dish by one of the chefs incorporating Jamaica’s national fruit ackee.
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Let’s get ready to gumbo!

A group of Caribbean culinary enthusiasts will host its second annual cultural mashup, “Scattered Jamaica: New Orleans,” a flavorful mix of the island’s food and music and the spicy culture of the Big Easy, at a Mardi Gras celebration at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Prospect-Leffeerts Gardens on Feb. 25.

“It’s going to be New Orleans meets Jamaica and our menu will reflect a fusion of traditional and a twist to traditional New Orleans cuisine,” said Peter Ivey, founder of the Reggae Chefs. “Everything will be a version of our take on New Orleans cuisine.”

About a dozen foods and drinks will be served, and a film depicting how some reggae music has been influenced by New Orleans tunes popular in the 1950s, Ivey said. Former Brooklyn Councilwoman and state legislator Dr. Una Clarke will be honored at the event as well, he said.

Ivey explained that “Scattered Jamaica,” is an opportunity for Brooklyn residents who can’t travel to pre-Lenten festivities in New Orleans or the Caribbean to explore them here at home.

“It’s February and carnival is happening everywhere and we absolutely have a few folks who are not going to Mardi Gras this year or Trinidad carnival and this is perfect for that,” he said. “I want people to come out and see how we are working to preserving culture and heritage in a unique way,” he said. “People should come out for fun things happening that incorporate education and excitement.”

Ivey said young Caribbean residents in the borough are not being taught vital aspects of their culture. This event, he said, is an attempt to remedy that.

“Culture is a fabric made up of different things and any given moment that piece can be diluted and it’s a substantial piece of who we are,” he said. “We want them to be fully aware of this and what a food may have tasted like before we did this.”

“Scattered Jamaica: New Orleans” will be held at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, 331 Hawthorne St. between New York and Nostrand Aves. in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, (718) 774-5248. on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $45.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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