Natacha Gomez is one of Haiti’s most renowned chefs. Get to know her, and her relationship with food, the kitchen, and of course, Haiti.
Kreyolicious: Tell us about yourself.
First of all, I’m Haitian and I’m proud to be a Haitian woman because we are the core of Haiti. I’m a single mother of two wonderful children Keisha and Giovanni [two teenagers]. Being a mother is what I enjoy the most as a woman. I have one brother. I’m a fighter for all the causes I believe in. I come from a family of wonderful women…all great cooks who’ve even published cooking books. My parents Anthony and Marie-Claude Gomez opened their first restaurant in 1980 Caille Toto. I studied travel and tourism, but my love for the culinary arts sent me to the Wilton School for cake decorating and I also studied catering and gourmet cooking. I started to cook at the age of 8 with my grandmothers. When my father opened his first restaurant, I was in heaven. They could always find me in the kitchen, and I have some burns and scars to prove it…my war badges. I worked under the supervision of the chefs while creating my own dishes. I opened my catering business [more than] ten years ago…Mini Delices. [Several] years ago, I helped my parents open their second restaurant Kokiyaj Market Bar and Grill a seafront restaurant in Cap Haitien. I opened my own fast food restaurant Chef T in Cap Haitien in August 2012, which I hope will become a chain.
I also want to empower other Haitian woman with the association of AFADEM (Aksyon Fanm Pou Demen Miyò) Women for a Better Future. I’m also a special event specialist. I write, organize, and create cultural events. I have participated in many festivals and carnivals in Haiti and also did the first edition of Festival du Café in Terrier Rouge in the North East and working also on the second edition.
Kreyolicious: What part of Haiti were you born in?
Chef Natacha Gomez in the center of the photo and in the center of things as usual. Photo via Investa.
Kreyolicious: You are from Cap Haitien. There are definitely some dishes that are unique only to that area?
When you say Cap Haitien you think about cashews…all the dishes with guinea fowls, fish, our griot, the fresh seafood, our artisanal [arts and crafts], fresh cheese that we eat in the morning with cane syrup, our Mabi and so on.
[Photo Via: Haiti Open]
Kreyolicious: What do you remember about your childhood in Haiti?
Family life [was] the best. On both [of my parents] side, it was a large family. I think about all the love they shared all the time; all the parties we had shaped me to be the woman and the business woman I am today. When I was in 6th grade, I had my first kids club every Friday my friends would come for a few hours and I would bake cookies for them.
Kreyolicious: What dish should every visitor in Haiti try?
When visiting Haiti, tourists should try our seafood as and island we should promote what we have best and also our agriculture, which is 100% organic.
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