Adrian Forte’s new cookbook, Yawd, adds colour to an industry dominated by white palates and inspires a deeper appreciation for Afro-Caribbean cuisine and Black chefs.
Informed by the Top Chef Canada personality’s Jamaican upbringing, the book weaves together his myriad influences and celebrates the cultures and ingredients that have been left out of conversations, in part, because of their inconvenient connection with the slave trade. The photography accompanying each recipe was shot on location in the Caribbean. In one photo, Forte holds an ackee, a “truly Afro-Caribbean ingredient,” brought to the Caribbean by enslaved Guyanese. Salt fish, he explains, was imported from Britain by plantation owners as an inexpensive way to feed enslaved people — today it is an important ingredient, despite its complicated history. Ever wonder, what really is jerk? Forte explains how it evolved as a technique, invented by the Taíno to preserve meat. With a glossary of terms and detailed explanations for each dish, Forte’s book is a welcome addition to our collective culinary lexicon.
— OLIVIA SIU