Island staples get their props, too

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Jerk chicken with roast corn and other sides at Crackpot Kitchen.
Jerk chicken with roast corn and other sides at Crackpot Kitchen. Photo Credit: TW photo by Eric Moya

So, yes, as demonstrated by the Caribbean Food & Wine Festival, Caribbean food is more than jerk chicken and conch. But sometimes, jerk chicken and conch can really hit the spot. Between festival events, I got my fix of both.

The festival draws culinary talent from all over the world, but Turks and Caicos has its own celebrity chef in Nikita Skippings, aka Chef Nik, the destination's culinary ambassador and the proprietor of Crackpot Kitchen, just off Leeward Highway in Providenciales' Grace Bay area.

About a week ahead of the Crackpot's seasonal opening, Chef Nik opened the restaurant's doors just for our group of travel journalists and treated us to a fantastic lunch that included entrees such as stewed oxtail, Creole red snapper and jerk chicken, served family-style. He did make us work for our meal, though, employing us as taste testers for a new appetizer: a quartet of spring rolls with fillings such as East Caicos lemon shark and Grand Turk curry beef. Our group approved. (And Chef Nik, if you're reading this: Happy to taste-test for you anytime.)

Another afternoon, we took a Grace Bay sunset cruise with Sweet Seas TCI and ended the day with dinner at the beachfront Flamingo Cafe, near the Club Med Turkoise.

We ordered conch fritters and cracked conch for the table. I had a few of the former but passed on the latter; after all, I was getting a cracked conch platter for my entree. For a moment I wondered: Was this conch overkill?

But only for a moment.

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