Scents of all spices, thyme, curry, coriander, habanero pepper, green onion, nutmeg and more evoke memories of Caribbean life by chefs Kendall Jones and Andrew Skippa. They have taken those memories and made them tangible and will serve them to customers in their new restaurant, a tasting when it opens.
Their collective memories are brought to life through their recipes for Caribbean delicacies. Jones and Skippa released their list earlier this month.
“Washington has a great food scene, but it’s definitely not represented here, so we want to bring it,” Jones said of bringing Caribbean dishes to Washington.
Roti chicken, chicken jerky flatbread with pineapple slaw and falafel are some of the items on the menu. Roti, a dish originally Indian, immigrated with Indian immigrants to Trinidad in the mid-1800’s. Nearly 180 years later, the dish has traveled across the Caribbean and has become a staple. Tucked in a traditional roti (flat thin bread) chicken curry, potatoes and chickpeas.
Jones explained that when customers look at the ingredients in their recipes, the menu items don’t look so strange. For example, the Narcissus chicken dish has chicken marinated on jasmine or coconut rice, beets, pineapple salad, and jerky and toastoon sauce. The tones are similar to fried bananas, which are a banana-like fruit. Tostones and tacos add a Latin twist to their menu. Jerk sauce is sweet, salty, spicy and full of flavour. Authentic Jamaican jerk sauce.
In the Caribbean, the spices are stronger, there are more types of fruit and the food is grown locally. “What’s different when you actually live in the Caribbean is that the food you eat is locally grown…You get access to food you’ve never had before and they all have incredible flavors and are used for different things,” Jones said.
Jones worked with a Jamaican woman honing his skill at cooking braised chicken over a fire. Skipa worked with a Trinidadian woman who owned a catering company in Saint Croix. She and Skiba made roti rolls.
“Learning from the locals, you see a passion for food,” Skiba said. He explained that the passion for food is due to the passion for feeding loved ones and society as a whole. Upon learning how to make roti rolls, Skippa and the Trinidadian woman provided food for the community. “You have a heart for inclusion,” Skiba said.
Skippa said St. Croix was a “melting pot” of much of the southern Caribbean culture. He got a taste of the cultures when people served food at home.
Jones and Skippa say they love the way food brings people together. Their goal with Savor is to create a space where people from all backgrounds and cultures can gather to share a meal together.
Tasting is a mobile food unit. It’s not quite a food truck, because it can’t be driven. Jones and Skippa collaborate with the Pitt Street Brewing Company on Pamlico Street (307 W Main Street). Their mobile dining unit is located there, but they also pair drinks from Pitt with their menu items so customers can see the best flavor combinations.