Follow this link to the Antiguan Fish Broth recipe featured during this demonstration.
The resort’s dedication to this philosophy is extended to guest activities, which include a popular weekly cooking demonstration. The poolside alfresco class invites guests to gather round and take part in learning how to prepare a fresh local dish. The majority of the ingredients are sourced from the resort’s organic garden, local farmers and often includes line-caught fish hooked by guests on sport fishing trips. Chef Marvin who has been at Hermitage Bay for 7 years, tells me, “last week a guest caught a lovely wahoo which we prepared 3 ways: steamed, stir-fried and blackened with coconut steamed vegetables.”
Chef Marvin George has recently completed a 10-week supervisor management course that has given him greater responsibility, and since taking over the cooking demonstrations that were begun by former Executive Chef Verman “Dezi” Banhan he has gained confidence and enjoys the interaction with the guests. “Teaching is the favourite part of my job”, he smiles. Once the cooking demonstration is over and the gusts have sampled the dish, they make their way along the beach to the organic garden. On route, Marvin tells me that he likes to point out the local trees to the guests. We pass coconut, tamarind and date trees. Marvin says, “I explain to the guests that local people make a delicious wine and juice from the wild sea grape which grow on the beach.”
When we arrive at the gardens we are greeted by Kempton McCalmont who strolls through the banana grove to meet us. Kempton, an agriculture school graduate has a double role at the resort as the Food & Beverage Supervisor and Head Organic Gardener. The full-time Head Gardener, Leslie Henry assists him with cultivation and maintenance. It is amazing to learn that the garden is only 3 years old and already sour sop, mango, passion fruit, banana, sugar apple, guava, papaya and ginep trees have fruited. Kempton smiles and tells me that their organic composting made from kitchen scraps and sheep manure keeps the gardens flourishing. “We use only natural products to fight off pests – our pests are mainly aphids which we tackle preventatively with garlic and pepper sprays. We also use natural insecticides made from neem tree oil and to add nutrients to the plants we use seaweed extract.” Kempton gives guests tours of the garden, encouraging them to touch, taste, smell and photograph all that they see. He says, “Many of the guests have only seen these fruits and vegetables in the supermarket, they don’t know if they were grown on a tree or a bush.
I encourage them to ask me lots of questions and give them as much information as I can.” Other produce cultivated in the garden include scotch bonnet, seasoning and habanero peppers, okras, a variety of herbs and a range of experimental western crops of carrots, black eggplants and asparagus.