English chef, entertainer, and television presenter Ainsley Harriott is introducing Jamaican cuisine to Australians via his Caribbean cooking show series “Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen.” The shows premiered earlier in 2019 in the United Kingdom and are available on the ITV television network. Harriott is familiar to British audiences from his cooking shows “Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook” and “Ready Steady Cook” on the BBC.
In the new series, Chef Harriott journeys across the Caribbean to visit locations that have inspired his cooking. Included on his itinerary are Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, and Antigua. Traveling along with Harriott, viewers will see the tropical environments, exotic foods, and an array of charming characters, that make each island destination unique.
The series first episode takes place in Jamaica where this father grew up, a place long linked to excellent food, music, and culture. The chef begins his visit with a stop at Coronation Market where Jamaican farmers sell their produce on weekends. This is the best place to explore authentic local ingredients, Harriott says. He then travels to Stush in the Bush, a Rastafarian farm-to-table venue located in the hills above Ocho Rios. Here he learns about its signature dish, ackee-stiffed ravioli. He then moves on to meet with English Chef Tim Kensett, head chef at Golden Eye, the previous home of James Bond creator Ian Fleming now owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. Harriott makes a tour of the home and creates a martini cocktail inspired by the 007 character. Harriott then moves into the Blue Mountains where he samples the world-famous Jamaican coffee. He also attempts to learn the secret spice used in the jerk chicken recipe at the renowned Scotchies restaurant. Harriott also makes a cool fruit shake at a hotel that was visited in the past by the likes of Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe.
Chef Ainsley Harriott was born in London in 1957, the son of Peppy Strudwick Harriott and the pianist and singer Chester Leroy Harriott who was raised in Jamaica. The chef trained at Westminster Kingsway College and obtained an apprenticeship at Verrey’s restaurant in London’s West End, later working as a commis chef. He has extensive experience as a chef and author and is well known through his television cooking shows.