Every grand feast needs an epic finale. And you can expect a grand finale at The Taste The Islands Experience, the Caribbean food festival set for April 26-28 in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Haitian star Jonathan Perry nicknamed J Perry will be performing in concert, concluding the festival’s main culinary showcase on Saturday, April 27.
The Haitian singer, who first broke out with his infectious carnival hit “Dekole,” is currently on a roll. He’s set to release his latest song “Tout Pa Menm” with Kadilak, and is fresh off his reggae track “Selfless” with Freedom. He’s also currently touring across North America on the Bayo 2019 tour with Michael Brun.
It’s clear music is in his bones, but he also knows a thing or two about delicious food. Ahead of his performance, we spoke more with the singer-songwriter about his love of food, from the best snacks to bring on the road, to the dishes he misses most away from home.
Q: What’s your favorite family meal?
J Perry: My favorite would definitely be pork griot and bannann peze [fried plantains]. And my favorite appetizer is by far accra fritters. Just the best. And I really miss my grandmother’s lambi. She use to make this bomb lambi an sòs [conch stew]. The whole family still craves it.
Q: Favorite dish you enjoy cooking now?
J Perry: I’m still learning. But I do know how to make a decent pot of rice and beans. That would be about it for Haitian dishes. But check me next time, and I’ll have more recipes under my belt.
Q: Must-bring food item on tour?
J Perry: On tour it’s pretty much freestyle. Maybe peanuts, bananas, and other fruits. Anything easy that’s high energy, for when I need a boost.
Q: Food item you miss most when on tour?
J Perry: I definitely miss most the natural cooking of Haiti. We get to enjoy real organic ingredients, not the fake stuff. No hormones. That’s why I have a hard time when I’m away.
Q: One Haitian dish everyone needs to try?
J Perry: Soup Joumou is really popular. But I would say you need to try touffe legume with some white rice. That dish is all about the vegetables, with a little sauce. It’s delicious.
Q: Favorite place to eat in your hometown Port-au-Prince?
J Perry: I really enjoy Quartier Latin. Since my grandmother passed away, I go there to satisfy my cravings for lambi an sòs. They don’t make it as well as her of course, but it’s a good substitute.
Q: Anything you’re looking forward to trying at Taste the Islands?
J Perry: I’m looking forward to enjoying real, organic food, and exploring new Caribbean dishes. It’s amazing how the Caribbean mixes different styles of cooking, and offers a little taste of every culture. In a way our food feels just like our music, mixing different genres together to make something new.
For more information and to stay up to date on “Taste the Islands Experience” events, please visit www.ttiexperience.com.