“Awesome! Totally awesome!” These are the only words to describe Chef Sean Kuylen’s sojourn into the deep south of Belize to find the authentic source of each of the ingredients of Belize’s traditional culinary arts for a unique commission.
Kuylen’s journey gives substance and meaning to former Prime Minister Said Musa’s words “You’re living in a good country!” Belize offers such a smorgasbord of spices and natural ingredients, some from the forest, some from the farm, all organically grown: anato, cinnamon, nutmeg, cacao, chickens, river snails (escargot), jungle palm, palm leaves, the staple – corn, and even white lime, roasted from limestone rock, calcium carbonate. The sea offers up the Nassau grouper, locally known as “hogfish”.
Sean is not ashamed to draw on Ms Saqui’s traditional know-how of the centuries of Q’eqchi Maya knowledge of the forest, and her brother Julio Saqui, master Maya chocolate maker. Viewers may have heard of tamales, of relleno, but Kuylen re-invents everything for a new and intriguing gourmet’s delight.
How Kuylen marries the traditional Q’eqchi Maya cuisine to that of the Mestizo Maya of northern Belize, to the indigenous Garifuna cuisine of Stann Creek to create a feast fit for a Queen, or Her Majesty’s representative in Belize – the newly installed Governor General Froyla Tzalam and her guests, is a story I would not cheat the viewer by detailing any further here.
Kuylen is the Barnum Bailey of the kitchen, and his showmanship creates a tale so mouth-wateringly scrumptious, it may have some viewers licking their television screens!
This film is available for streaming ONLY IN BELIZE during the 2021 BELIZEIFF from Nov. 5th – Nov. 14th.
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