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Taste of Haiti: A Serving of Inspiration with Chef Alain Lemaire

chef alain with steaks

Award-winning Chef Alain Lemaire might best be known for appearing on the Food Network’s hit show Cutthroat Kitchen, but his accomplishments in the kitchen far exceed any television show appearance. The Port-Au-Prince native was among those who cooked at the first all-Haitian dinner at the James Beard House in 2018. The year before he was inducted in the 2017 class of the Haitian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida Top 20 Under 40 and also the 2017 class of Legacy MIA Top 40 Under 40.

And there’s more: He’s very involved in giving back to the community and the less fortunate, partnering with Haiti Chefs for Education, World Central Kitchen and Easter Seals South Florida. He’s also an avid participant at numerous taste events in the country, has co-produced the first television food battle show in Haiti and contributes to an online magazine focused on Haitian chefs and cuisine.

That’s on top of being co-owner and executive chef of Sensory Delights, a full-service catering company in South Florida. He’s also part of a new show, Luda Can’t Cook, on Discovery+ with award winning rapper, actor, and restaurateur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.

We were able to pin the chef down for a Q & A where he told us where he gets his inspiration, how the pandemic has affected business and what he’s looking forward to.

chef alain cooking

Do you remember the first dish you ever made?
Yes, I do! It was bulgur wheat (blé) with Creole sauce. I recall it vividly because it was one of those dishes I used to observe the cook at the house prepare and that I would go and try to replicate. I really loved it back then and I still do.

What are you currently working on?
I am developing my new brand “Ou Manje Deja?” which is Creole for “Did you eat already?” In our community it is an affectionate phrase that our elders use a lot when you visit them. So I wanted to showcase it in my different endeavors. I am also awaiting the release of several TV appearances, including teaching Ludacris the fundamentals about Haitian cuisine on his new series Luda Can’t Cook which will air on February 15.

In light of the pandemic, how were you and your business affected?
We were hit hard. We had to deal with a lot of cancellations and postponements. In the early stages, we had to adjust and pivot to be able to keep up. So we started to focus more on small-scale events, doing family meals and deliveries and shipping frozen products throughout the country.

salmon and mussel dish

What are your predictions for 2022?
I foresee a great year filled with opportunities. I have content that we will be working on such as recipe videos, I plan on doing some pop-up dinners and I will also be traveling and participating in some food festivals.

As a chef, how do you find inspiration?
In doing research and reading about history and food. I also find inspiration from my peers and the work that they do. I really look up to chefs like Gordon Ramsey and Bobby Flay because of their knowledge, style and personality.


Elizabeth Hazard

Elizabeth Hazard is a writer, producer and photography editor. Her work has appeared in various publications and she writes frequently about art, culture, fashion and history.



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