Bringing Bahamian Flavor to the World

…...Chef Janielle Ford shares her recipe for authentic Bahamian Sweet Potato Bread while celebrating being featured in Toques of Black Cookbook

Chef JanielleChef Janielle Ford’s passion for cooking began at an early age when she started creating delicious treats for her family and friends. She remembers picking fresh fruits, as a little girl, and transforming them into delectable tarts, pastries and other desserts. She learnt early on that cooking brought her immense joy, and by age 19, she knew that she wanted to turn her passion for baking into a career.

As a young, budding pastry chef, Janielle trained with some of the best and brightest pastry artisans in the United States and The Bahamas, before honing her skills at some of the country’s most luxurious resorts, including Atlantis, Four Seasons, and  Albany.

Chef Janielle’s talents have allowed her to showcase her culinary prowess at major events like the James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago and Disney’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival in Orlando. She has also, most recently, earned the prestigious honor of being featured in the Toques in Black Cookbook, which celebrates 101 of the top black chefs, throughout the world.

In addition to continuing to hone her culinary skills and developing a line of chef aprons that will be available very soon, Chef Janielle shared a bit about her culinary inspirations and her very own recipe for Bahamian Sweet Potato Bread.

Check out her interview below:

Where can we currently try your culinary creations?

I am currently working with a group of chefs. We go by the name Chef Core. We are establishing ourselves for catering, meal prep and special events, and will be offering our sushi menu once a month. You can follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

What has been your most memorable Bahamian dining experience?

Being a chef, I prefer simple dining. I love to go to Bahama Bar B King. He offers many flavors of barbecue that I love. You can check out our blog post highlighting a number of mobile eateries, including the Bahama Bar B King here:   

https://www.bahamas.com/article/nassaus-food-scene-goes-mobile

If you could choose only five staple ingredients, what would they be and why?

The five ingredients I choose would be flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and chocolate. These ingredients are very versatile, so, depending on how I feel, they can be used as sweet or savory.

If you could recommend one ”must try” dish, while in the Bahamas, what would it be?

Every time I am away from home for an extended period of time, a must have for me is conch salad and conch fritters. I love to dip the fritters in the conch salad juice. This combination will always be my recommendation. Check out our blog post showcasing the diversity of conch salad, here: https://www.bahamas.com/article/get-mixed-conch-salad

Can you name one of your favorite Bahamian chefs or culinary inspirations?

My biggest inspiration growing up in the culinary industry was my grandmother. She worked for private homes in Lyford Cay. She baked bread at the community bakery and, most importantly, she cooked for her family. I admired how she could make a cake from scratch, with no recipe, and it was always great. In my opinion, her bread was untouchable. There was nothing she couldn’t cook. At the tender age of 96 she continues to go in the kitchen and prepare excellent meals, and we still relish them.

Check out Chef Janielle’s recipe for Sweet Potato Bread, below.

Potato Bread Recipe

3 lbs Sweet potato                        

½ TBSP Salt                                          

1 TBSP Black pepper                         

1 Coconut                                 

1 cup Water                                   

1 cup Evaporated milk            

2 ½ cups Sugar                  

1 ½ cups Oil                       

3 ¼ cups Flour                                      

Preparation Instructions

Finely grate the sweet potato and coconut.

Next, add sugar, salt and pepper.

Add liquids and stir.

Lastly, add flour and stir. 

The consistency should be loose and not thick. Be sure to grease the baking pan thoroughly before adding the mixture.

Bake at 350°F for about 30 to 45 minutes.

When done, the sides should pull away from the pan and the top should be firm.

Let cool, then enjoy.