Some of chef Victor “Tipper” Henry’s signature dishes include his 16-hour marinated spicy jerk chicken, the baked grouper fillet, the three-bean soup for vegetarians and his health rolls and steam vegetables.
The Jamaican-born Henry has become well-known in the West Indian community through his culinary skills and the Taste of the Caribbean African Food Expo which he co-founded 10 years ago.
Aimed at promoting healthy eating through conscious lifestyle management, the expo’s 10th annual anniversary event took place last Sunday at the Jamaica Canadian Centre.
The expo also provided a platform for other West Indian chefs to showcase their cuisine.
“There are many young people born in Canada to Jamaican and West Indian parents who have not been exposed to the roots of their heritage such as the cuisine and foods of our region,” said Jamaica’s Consul General in Toronto George Ramocan. “An exhibition like this provides an opportunity for those persons here to understand the nature of the diet and the cuisine that immigrants are accustomed to as people coming from the Caribbean.
“This exhibit also contributes significantly to helping the community of Caribbean nationals and those in the wider community understand that a real choice of tasty foods is present in our West Indian restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area and the rest of Canada.”
The expo brought together products, resources, speakers and experts on subjects ranging from healthy eating and physical activity to medication management. A trade show, featuring the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) and other exhibitors, complemented the on-stage programming.
Jamaican-born registered nurse Kathy Nelson founded the CDA Caribbean chapter 11 years ago after her parents succumbed to Type 2 diabetes. Her father died in a diabetic coma at age 80 in 1992 six years after his right leg was amputated while her mother developed Type 2 diabetes at age 86 and passed away nine years later. Nelson’s daughter, who is now 49 and residing in Jamaica, was diagnosed 19 years ago.
Since establishing the Caribbean chapter, Nelson has staged a number of education and testing sessions in malls and shopping centres across the GTA.
JCA Education chair Sylvanus Thompson said the association welcomes the opportunity to host the annual trade show.
“Our mandate is to provide educational information to our members and the wider Black and Caribbean community and promote health fairs and seminars,” said Thompson, who is also a Toronto Public Health manager.