PBS viewers across the United States will be invited to savor the flavors of the Caribbean when, beginning in April 2015, they can “Taste the Islands with Chef Irie.” From preparing homemade spicy jerk seasoning to Latin inspired mussels chorizo in mango coconut sauce, Jamaican-born host Chef Irie will tantalize viewers with traditional and gourmet Caribbean recipes.
Programming nods from more than 130 PBS stations around the country will make “Taste the Islands with Chef Irie,” a seven-part series, the first Caribbean cooking show and the first Jamaican-produced series to be aired nationally on the PBS network.
In each episode of the series, Chef Irie will create mouthwatering fare inspired by his Jamaican upbringing, the wider Caribbean, and his travels around the world. For example, in one episode steamed Jamaican-style snapper is prepared en papillote, and in another, Latin guava cheese pasteles are deconstructed to create a mousse served in phyllo tart shells.
The show will also feature cameos by Caribbean celebrities including Inner Circle of “Bad Boys” fame; British reggae fusion singer, Maxi Priest, who topped US charts with hits like “I Just Wanna Be Close to You” and “Set the Night to Music” in the 1990s; Trinidadian Olympic sprinter turned NBC sports analyst Ato Boldon; and St Vincent’s “Turn Me On” hit-maker, Kevin Lyttle. During the course of each show, viewers can listen in as the chef and guests discuss food from their native countries, their travels, and impromptu cooking lessons he offers them.
Hugh “Chef Irie” Sinclair is a professional chef with a palpable love of creating delicious food. He holds degrees in both Architecture and Culinary Arts. His high profile clients include Macy’s, the Knight Foundation, and the Jamaican Jerk Festival franchise.
Fans of Caribbean cuisine can receive updates, view images, watch previews, and find recipes on the show's website, www.tastetheislandstv.com.
Jamaican Consul General Franz Hall applauded Blondie Ras Productions, the production company behind the series, for their milestone achievement.
“It is with pleasure that I extend heartiest congratulations to you on your most recent accomplishment in bringing “Taste the Islands with Chef Irie”... to mainstream media,” said Hall.
The series is presented by South Florida’s WPBT2 and distributed by American Public Television (APT), distributors of popular public television programs including Downton Abbey and America’s Test Kitchen. Christopher Funkhouser, vice president of Exchange Programming and Multicast Services at APT, says, “Cooking is one of the most popular genres on public television and we expect audiences will respond enthusiastically to the new series.”
The Jamaica Tourist Board whose new slogan is “Home of All Right,” provided major funding for the show.
Popular media personality, Calibe Thompson of Blondie Ras Productions is the executive producer and director of “Taste the Islands”, working in collaboration with Caribbean television industry stalwart, Lukkee Chong of Frame by Frame Productions to bring the project to fruition. Thompson comments, “We’ve received such tremendous support from our community, and we’re proud to be bringing the best of our culture to a national platform.”
Blondie Ras Productions is a Miami-based video production company that creates Caribbean-inspired lifestyle content for an international audience appreciative of cultural diversity. The company seeks to become the preeminent source for Caribbean-related television content. Blondie Ras Productions is the company behind the “Taste the Islands,” “The Caribbean Diaspora Weekly,” “Miami Fitness TV,” and “Island Origins” television shows.