As Barbados rolls out a welcome mat in a yearlong homecoming jubilee, some of its most inventive master chefs invite you into their innovative restaurants to experience fresh twists on traditional dishes.

Octopus salad
Harvested and foraged salad
Seafood chowder

Javon Cummins

Executive chef, Tapestry Restaurant, Treasure Beach Hotel, eleganthotels.com/treasure-beach

“I’m delighted to be a part of We Gatherin’ because it creates a platform to celebrate all things Bajan,” says Cummins. “My new menu offers locals and visitors an authentic Bajan meal with a contemporary flair that showcases the future of Barbadian cuisine.” When food lovers feast their eyes on Cummins’s ambitious new entrées, they will be awed by the imaginative concoctions and charmed by the history behind them.

OUR PICKS:

For a novel take on the national dish, try Cummins’s Textures of Cou Cou. The enticing blend of poached flying fish, smoked herring, cornmeal ball and okra allows the fish’s true flavor to shine.

Also delight in the Deconstructed Souse, which stars seared pork belly paired with beetroot and sweet potato pudding and cucumber. Cummins notes that this mouthwatering ancestral dish takes street food to a higher level.

For a palate cleanser, enjoy the Soursop Sorbet, a puree of the fruit with lemon, cinnamon stick and sugar, a lovely refinement on the island’s traditional soursop punch.

Alisha Dawn Stoute

Executive chef, ECO Restaurant, ECO Lifestyle & Lodge, ecolifestylelodge.com

“Our main philosophy at ECO is [fostering] health and wellness and staying within the ecosystem of Barbados,” says Stoute. “We’re environmentally friendly and want to bring awareness to eating healthy, fresh and sustainable fare. To reduce our carbon footprint, we do not serve meat, and to be honest, our customers haven’t missed it. We work with local farmers and fishermen and use whatever they have, and we forage for a nutritional seashore weed from the rocks close by.”

OUR PICKS:

The Tempura Sea Purslane, an original creation, is a delectable marriage of the coastal weed, cassava flour and a secret ingredient that naturally contains vitamins A and C and B-complex vitamins.

We also love Stoute’s Bajan Spice Truffle Lobster Mac Pie, featuring Caribbean spiny lobster, cheese and truffle goodness. Stoute tweaked the recipe from her dad’s Bajan macaroni pie to produce this high-protein winner.

To finish, sample the chef’s own Bajan Golden Apple Pie, a heavenly combination of apples, butter, sugar and spices rich with fiber and vitamins A and C.

Trevon Stoute

Executive chef, Pavão, Sweetfield Manor Boutique Hotel, sweetfieldmanor.com/pavao

“Pavão, which means ‘peacock’ in Portuguese, has just celebrated its first year of operation,” Stoute says. “It’s in a hotel that was a plantation house built in the early 1900’s on historic property. We utilize large quantities of produce from locals on a day-to-day basis. It’s how we put these ingredients to use that makes all the difference. We tend to twist Bajan recipes and concepts and elevate them to create dishes with a more international profile.”

OUR PICKS:

The Saigon Duck Pudding presents confit duck leg, carrots and red cabbage in Asian rice wraps, drawing from global cuisines for a well-rounded taste experience.

Another standout is the Festa de Gaúcho, a chargrilled aged prime rib eye with truffle steakcut fries, asparagus and mushrooms, using meat aged by the establishment itself.

Then savor the Manor Pillow Dessert, a sponge cake with Belgian chocolate accompanied by chocolate ice cream and a passion fruit coulis—it’s a spin on ice cream sandwiches that Stoute fondly remembers from childhood.

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