Black History Month: Chef Anthony Cumberbatch shares his Caribbean food favourites

A report by Leah Mahon for The Voice.

CARIBBEAN CUISINE is on the rise in the UK food scene and is being highlighted during this year’s Black History Month in October.

Talented chef Anthony Cumberbatch is behind the three recipes that he calls “a true taste of the Caribbean.”

Cumberbatch, from Dulwich, south London, began his culinary career after training at the Savoy Hotel and with Antony-Worral Thompson in his London restaurant.

However, it was the chef’s time spent cooking with the traditional Caribbean flavours of his heritage that sparked his love and curiosity for the palette.

The 51-year-old said: “My mum sent my brother and I to live in Barbados with my grandparents when I was younger.

“My grandfather used to butcher meat and my grandmother was a great cook. With Caribbean food – those flavours, the taste and smells – it takes me mentally back home to Barbados and conjures up mealtimes.” 

WINDRUSH

These flavours of the Caribbean, which are embedded with African and Indian influence and beyond, became prominent in the UK in the years following the arrival of the Windrush generation at Tilbury docks in 1948.

It was in a post-war and 1960s Britain that some of the most loved and celebrated Caribbean dishes, such as curry goat and oxtail, could start to be found in local takeaways and food shops.

However, it was the start of celebrating Caribbean culture through Notting Hill Carnival in 1966 that continued to put the islands’ cuisine at the forefront of British culinary life right up until today.

Anthony, who has also worked with the likes of celebrity chef John Torode, wants to change the way diners consume and perceive the rich history of flavours present in Caribbean food.

He began “experimenting and changing up Caribbean food” and described his newly created recipes for Black History Month as an “explosion in your mouth” with traditional Caribbean spices. 

These are found abundantly in his soused mackerel with ackee salted cured fish moneybags, served with Elfort farm apple, chilli jam and baby pickles, which is packed full of tropical flavours.

FLAVOURS

His first main dish takes inspiration from some of the best of British food, and boasts a hearty Bourbon Estate chicken infused with the flavours of jerk spice, stuffed with candied plantain and spinach, and topped off with chicken butter, carrot, truffle parsnip purée, which pays homage to a mix of British-Caribbean fused ingredients.

His second main dish is a miso Scottish salmon which has a similar approach, with fiery pangs from the famous scotch bonnet pepper, finished off with sweet potato dauphinois, borlotti beans and sea vegetables. 

AWARDS 

The final dish is a mouth-watering mango baked cheesecake, drizzled with a fruit of the forest glaze, followed by vanilla bean ice-cream to melt through the blend of fruity flavours.

His passion for Caribbean food and its origins has led him to become a two-time winner of the Best Caribbean Chef in the UK, and twice again for the Best Caribbean Restaurateur from the Caribbean Food Emporium Awards.

Anthony hopes that his work in the culinary sector will inspire a new generation of aspiring head chefs and continue to elevate Caribbean cuisine in the UK and internationally. 

How to Make Chef Anthony’s Caribbean Inspired Miso scotch bonnet Scottish salmon, sweet potato dauphinois, borlotti beans with sea vegetables:

Miso scotch bonnet Scottish salmon

Ingredients:

30ml sake

30ml mirin

2 tablespoons white miso paste

2 tablespoon white sugar 2 scotch bonnet, pierced

500 grams salmon, filleted, pin boned and descaled

Method: 

1 day beforehand, make the miso marinade and marinate the fish. Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste, and whisk.

When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature. 

Pat the salmon fillet thoroughly dry with paper towels.

Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

To cook the fish: Preheat oven to 205°C. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stovetop.

Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the fillets, but don’t rinse it off.

Film the pan with a little oil, then place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes.

Flip and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until  fish is opaque and flakes easily.

Dauphinoise Potatoes

Ingredients:

250ml double cream 

250ml milk 

2 garlic cloves 

2 King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes

2 grey sweet potatoes 

6 sprigs thyme 

1 rosemary 

100g grated gruyère cheese

Method:

• Heat oven to 190C/170C fan. 

• 500ml double cream, 500ml milk and 2 garlic cloves into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.

• Peel the sweet potato and the Morris Piper potatoes very finely, about 3-4mm, add them to the cream and simmer for 3 mins until just cooked. 

• Gently stir to separate the potato and stop it sinking and catching on the bottom of the pan. 

• Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and place in a wide shallow ovenproof dish so that they are about 5cm in depth. 

• Pour over the garlic infused cream (discarding the garlic) – just enough to seep through the layers and leave a little moisture on the surface. 

• Scatter over 100g grated gruyère cheese, if using, then bake for 30 mins until the potatoes are soft and browned – increase the heat for 5 mins if not brown enough.

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