RB: When was the genesis? How and when did Isle of Bites begin?
KR: The overall mission of Isle of Bites is to feed our people physically, economically and spiritually. We all know what’s good for us but we need to be empowered to make the right choice. Isle of Bites provides access to the necessary information and resources to make those informed choices.
KR: Once you’ve have experienced the food/cuisine of other islands and countries, you’ll detect distinctions, some subtle and some undeniable. One of the main reasons is that food is flavored from the soil up. Combine that with the variations of cultural cooking techniques among each Caribbean island and you get a ‘taste-bud utopia’ with every bite, much like the beautiful cadences of our accents. Where else in the world can you find this fascinating blend of European, Asian and African cuisine?
KR: For a couple decades we were marketed as the Isle of Spice; home of nutmegs, cinnamon, clove and the like. Cocoa was around but more of a bench warmer than a main player. But then in 1999, Mott Green established our first chocolate factory. By 2004, we experienced a category 5 hurricane and suddenly cocoa had a fighting chance. A Grenadian will definitely choose a cup of local cocoa tea over a cup of coffee on any given day but now we get to boast of award -winning cacao products and forward the cause of ethically made, tree-to-bar chocolate. Every year, we host a Chocolate Festival, which I attended this year for the first time. You learn how to use chocolate outside of its sweet tooth application, meet the farmers and processors and of course, eat lots of great tasting organic chocolate. When you encounter Grenadian chocolate, it will become an integral part of your life. It’s that good.
RB: We take photos of our food now. We seem to appreciate food more now than ever. Why do you think this is?
KR: I still remember when I decided to purchase a DSLR. My intention? To enhance the aesthetics of my blog. But besides transferring the ‘taste, smell and cravings’ of that moment to you, I also get to share my ‘foodology’. With so many dietary options, food photography gives more weight to the facts, so that you know how feasible these diets actually are. Also what we put in our body and spirit determines what comes out, so with the present movement of self-care, it only makes sense to appreciate food as much as we do.
RB: What is the future of food in the Caribbean?
KR: The question that I can answer is where I want to see us in the future. Although many persons have begun to see the importance of healthy, native food choices, there must be a clear understanding of the blessings that are literally at our doorstep as Caribbean consumers. In other words, we need to be the trendsetters. Many restaurants have begun using our local fruits, herbs and vegetables in very creative ways. When this shift takes place in every home, we will be encouraged to invest in our own resources.
RB: Where will Isle of Bites be in the next 5 years?
KR: Isle of Bites will continue to be a media platform, but in addition, internationally recognized for its content and contribution to community. By this time, it will be a rich resource of Grenadian food culture that will inform the eating choices of both adults and children. Most importantly, it will also be a vehicle of financial freedom for entrepreneurs and the less fortunate of our nation.
RB: What advice do you have for our aspiring foodpreneurs?
KR: When I first shared my ideas, some of the responses included “Take your time” and “Leave that to someone else”. Learn how to filter out negativity and keep motivated. Your ideas are valid and society needs your perspective. You have the power to feed communities which will in turn feed nations. Start with whatever you have at your disposal and be willing to grow along with your vision.
Although competition is healthy, seeing yourself as an innovator within the creative space is better motivation than trying to outdo another foodpreneur. Finally, by default, you are already part of a community. Reach out, participate and foster relationships because we all need each other.