EAST TALKS - Meet Jeanette Marcelle

The EAST YARD Interview Series

Meet Jeanette Marcelle, she's a well-traveled culinary artist

and owner of product line, Handmade by Jeanette.

EY: Culinary arts refers to the art of preparing, cooking, presenting and serving food. As a chef do you consider yourself an artist?

Jeanette: Yes, I consider myself an artist because food is both an art and science. Firstly, one of the founding fathers of culinary arts was known for his "high art" of French cooking - a grandiose style of cookery. This is where the phase “the eyes eat first,“ came from. Food needs to look pretty and taste good. I am a "culinary artist".


EY: Why did you choose to pursue culinary arts??

Jeanette: Other than having my mother's cooking gene… LOL! Cooking was my escape. Growing up in a chaotic environment – cooking was what I used to calm myself and nourish myself at the same time, so when I was at a cross road on my career path a family member said, “you are such a great cook, why don't you study to be a chef?” ‎Voilà

21 years later here I am being interviewed by you.


EY: We know you've had the opportunity to work and study abroad. What countries have you visited, which was your favorite and why?

Jeanette: Honestly, each country is unique, so I don't have a favorite but I can see myself living is Bordeaux, France. Bordeaux is an old city with a young soul – there is so much to do, plus I love wine and it has all the wine I can drink because it is the famed-wine hub of France. It is sophisticated yet down to earth at the same time.

I have visited? Hmm! Just to name a few - Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, France, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, the Netherlands, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Spain, St Lucia, and the United States.


EY: What part of East Trinidad are you from and what for you is the best part of being from the East?

Jeanette: I am originally from Sangre Grande, but I live in Arima at the moment. One of the best things about being from the East is that you are in the middle of everything – 35-45 minutes to Port of Spain or Toco.


EY: Any tips for those wanting to pursue the culinary arts?

Jeanette: Young chefs were once limited by traditional paths into the industry. However, social media has changed this. Young chefs can now feed people and express their ideas outside the traditional training paths and the trappings of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. So, my advice would be: do your research and figure out your niche, do not try to do everything.

Ensure your food is eye catching, and you must be knowledgeable and honest. If your menu says that your cheeses are vegan then ensure that they are, People are more knowledgeable about food these days, so do not try to 'BS' them. You need to constantly be upgrading your food skills and knowledge.


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