Jamaican chef Patrice Harris-Henry has been included among the Top 5 female chefs listed by Forbes Magazine. Chef Harris-Henry, who was dubbed a “Caribbean indigenous food savant” in the Forbes feature, holds a degree in Food Service Production and Management, and she focuses her attention on transforming indigenous foods of the Caribbean into creative dishes for modern diners. She believes that most people do not view local food produce as valuable, while in reality, these products offer extremely nutritious – and tasty – choices.
The chef describes herself as a “Jamaican woman from humble beginnings,” sharing that her first resourceful efforts in cooking were fueled by necessity as much as by innovation. Now, after becoming a trained chef, Harris-Henry understands the value of local foods in terms of health, economics, and the environment, along with the element of dining pleasure.
Chef Harris-Henry is the director of The Reggae Chefs® Jamaica, a culinary events firm. The firm is built upon the multi-billion-dollar brand of Jamaica to make traditional, local dishes for her clients, who enjoy what she calls “the unique flavor of Jamaican gastronomic edutainment.” Harris-Henry is also the executive chef and a trained educator at the firm’s charity organization, Mission Food Possible. The chef trains food-insecure communities in Jamaica about seeing the benefits of growing local produce, which offers ingredients that are versatile and delicious and at the same time as it can alleviate hunger and reduce malnutrition.
The Forbes article draws attention to the fact that women have always ruled the kitchen in the Caribbean, but despite this fact, the region’s restaurants do not reflect this reality. According to surveys cited by Forbes, only between seven percent and 20 percent of the global restaurant sector is represented by female chefs. However, a counter-culture of female chefs has begun to emerge, and in privately owned professional kitchens, women are displaying their culinary skills and innovative ideas about food. In addition to Chef Harris-Henry of Jamaica, the article features Manuela Scalini, Maria Jackson, Taymer Mason and Britta Bush. These chefs are revolutionizing the food culture in the Caribbean by working to mitigate a prevailing system dominated by imported and processed foods that foster high obesity rates in area populations.