Plantains for Breakfast? in London? Caribbean Chef Introduces a Taste of the Tropics to Conservative British Palates

By Wendy Sloane, | The Christian Science Monitor, September 5, 1996 | Go to article overview

Plantains for Breakfast? in London? Caribbean Chef Introduces a Taste of the Tropics to Conservative British Palates


Wendy Sloane,, The Christian Science Monitor


After working for 15 years in a large London hotel, chef Brian Benjamin finally decided enough was enough.

Armed with a lifetime of culinary experience and the ability to convince banks to lend him money, he decided to open his own restaurant - one that would reflect a childhood of spicy, home-cooked fare in his Caribbean island home of Grenada.

Three years later, Mr. Benjamin is the proud owner of BB's Crabback Caribbean Restaurant, a small eatery tucked away on a tiny side street in a West London suburb. Business is good, and his income is improving month by month. Most important, for a country with a large Afro-Caribbean population and few Caribbean restaurants, his clientele is a mixture - albeit an uneven one - of black and white. "My Caribbean cooking came directly from my grandmother, who worked in a hospital kitchen in Grenada," Benjamin says in his orderly kitchen, where bowls of tropical fruit compete for space with plates of imported fish and curried goat. West Indian food relies heavily on spicy fish and meat dishes served with side platters of tropical produce. Vegetables abound, like plantain, green banana, pigeon peas, dasheen (a starchy vegetable similar to a potato), yam, and breadfruit. But despite the palatability of Caribbean cuisine, it is not nearly as popular in London as other ethnic foods, such as Indian, Thai, and Chinese. "That's the difference between Caribbean people and the English," jokes Benjamin. "If you ask an Englishman about the Caribbean, he'll talk about the sun and the sand and the beach. But a person from the Caribbean will talk about the food." Benjamin hopes to change all that. His food has captured the attention of several London-based publications, which have praised the authenticity of items ranging from seasoned parrot fish in lime sauce to "crabback," his specialty crab with cream and two cheeses. The key to his success, Benjamin says, is the quality of his ingredients - and the fact that he does all the cooking except on weekends when an extra chef helps out. "It's important to me the message I'm trying to get across," he says. "The reason I entered the restaurant business is because people are traveling more away from home, and they need a place to come to relive their experiences. So I try to keep the food as Caribbean-orientated as possible." His recipes, are "98 percent Caribbean" and come from a number of islands. "The food is very authentic," says patron Agnes Quashie, whose family runs a catering business that specializes in Caribbean food. She was enjoying a fillet of red mullet served on a bed of spinach-like callaloo, with a side order of plantains. "It is very, very good," she says. Initially Benjamin thought that getting fresh conch and exotic fruit would be a major stumbling block, but that hasn't been the case. He buys most of his produce from central London wholesalers who ship it in from tropical climes, although he occasionally relies on local suppliers if he runs out of a specific ingredient. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Plantains for Breakfast? in London? Caribbean Chef Introduces a Taste of the Tropics to Conservative British Palates
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.