As part of my wellness tour of Antigua and Barbuda, I visited Nicole’s Table, the popular, hands-on cooking class and lunch with the overriding theme of “people coming together over food.” Story and photos by Anne Dimon
A former personal chef, Nicole explains that she started the classes full time in 2017 and since then has enjoyed a very high return guest factor. No surprise because the class is not only educational and fun, but you get to meet up with people from various parts of the world who are also interested in learning about food and how to prepared local dishes.
Nicole says she is from the nearby island of Monserrat so the food she cooks is more Caribbean than Antigua-themes. She says, “it’s my mother’s version of Western Caribbean and my version of my mother’s version.” Her food philosophy is “simple, fresh, local and as close to natural as possible.”
There are five half-day classes per week, and the kitchen of her hill-top home in St. John’s Parish is “a buzz” with activity as her husband and two teen-aged daughters add to the engagement. Accommodating between six and 14 people at a time, classes are themed All About Jerk (the popular Caribbean seasoning), Coordinating Curry, From the Sea and Cooking with Rum.
Because of my rather busy schedule on this 10-day wellness tour of Antigua and Barbuda, I am scheduled for the Cooking with Rum class. As we peel and chop and dice and stir, our group of six participants discuss the topic of rum and the general consensus at the table, which includes two medical professionals, is that rum – when consuming about one ounce a day – can increase one’s HDL cholesterol (that’s the good cholesterol) levels. And, there are extra benefits when drinking the signature Caribbean liquor with coconut water. Good thing because this class also includes a rum tasting session led by Nicole’s husband Adam.
Today’s cooking class menu consisted of Coconut Crisps and Plantain Chips, Sweet Potato Soup, Wings with a Honey Rum Glaze, Rum and Brown Sugar Marinated Chicken Thighs with Onion Jam, Red Beans and Rice and Butter Rum Cake.
Overall, a fun and engaging experience and well worth the drive up into the hills.
For more info on Nicole’s Table