Changing Perceptions Re Creole Food

(Photo courtesy of Creole Food Festival)

Haitian-born Fabrice Armand, co-founder of the Creole Food Festival slated for April 27 at the DL Rooftop Lounge in Lower Manhattan spoke with The Haitian Times‘ Bianca Silva about plans for the festival.

Armand said he wants to changes people’s perception that Creole food comes only from New Orleans or Haiti. He told Silva:

Creole cuisine is a style of cooking which blends French, Spanish, West & North African, Amerindian, Haitian and Portuguese influences. In a country where people seem increasingly divided, we wanted to bring people together from different regions in the spirit of unity around food and culture. Most importantly, my business partner Elkhair Balla and I wanted to create a platform for black and brown chefs to display their talent and creativity.

Fabrice Armand (Photo via The Haitian Times)

This year, the festival’s second, he’s lined up chefs representing the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cape Verde, South Carolina, Nigeria – and Haiti. Despite his desire to showcase other cuisines, his attachment to his home’s cuisine is clear:

I think it is important to showcase Haitian cuisine because it is first and foremost delicious. People might believe that I am biased but I have yet to meet a person that has tried Haitian food that has not loved it. In addition, I believe that Haitian food is distinct because it fuses the spices, techniques of the original inhabitants of Haiti (Taiano Arawaks) mixed with the knowledge from the Central, Upper, and Lower Guinea African slaves that came to the island against their will.  All of these cultures were furthermore influenced by the French and Spanish colonizers that occupied Haiti at separate times.

What were Armand’s favorite dishes growing up? And what other work is Armand doing in his capacity as board member of the Haiti Cultural Exchange? Go to The Haitian Times to find out.

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