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Chef Natacha Gomez Brings Caribbean Flavors On Location

As part of the “On Location” enrichment program that brings local experiences onboard every cruise, Holland America Line welcomed Chef Natacha Gomez on Westerdam last week in the Caribbean.

Natacha hosted cooking demonstrations and classes featuring a variety of authentic and delicious dishes from her homeland of Haiti.

Natacha began cooking with her grandmothers at a very young age and she worked in her father’s restaurant when she was just nine years old. Her lifelong love for cooking led her to her current positions as the catering chef of Kokiyaj Bar and Grill and owner of Chef T restaurant in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. She also works as a personal chef.

Here are some of the recipes Natacha prepared onboard for guests in the Culinary Arts Center during her demonstrations and hands-on classes.

EXOTIC VANILLA SHRIMP

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Ingredients:
2 pounds whole shrimp
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/3 cup orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
Heat the butter and oil over medium heat then add the cleaned shrimp. Add garlic and orange juice and cook until the shrimp are pink. Add parsley and season to taste. Finish with the vanilla extract.

CONCH CROQUETTES WITH CITRUS SHALLOT SAUCE

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Ingredients:
Conch Croquettes:
1 cup raw conch meat, finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, boiled
4 garlic cloves
3 whole shallots
1 small bunch parsley
1 scotch bonnet
salt to taste
3/4 cup flour
vegetable oil for frying

Citrus Shallot Sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 shallots finely minced
salt to taste
pepper
juice of 2 limes

Directions:
Conch Croquettes:
Blend together the garlic, shallots, scotch bonnet and parsley. Mash the boiled potatoes and add to the conch meat. Form small round balls, roll in flour and fry.

Citrus Shallots Sauce:
Heat oil and cook shallots for 3-4 minutes. Add lime juice, salt and pepper and serve with the Conch Croquettes.

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HAITIAN NATIONAL RICE

Ingredients:
3 cups yellow rice
1/4 cup diced bacon or pancetta (optional)
1 cup dried beans (soaked overnight in water)
4 cloves
1/2 garlic head mashed to a paste
3 shallots
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 sprig of thyme
salt to taste

Directions
1. Boil the dried beans in 8 cups of water until cooked. Drain the beans and reserve the cooked water.

2. Heat the oil and fry the beans with salt, thyme, cloves and pancetta until the beans are crunchy.

3. When the beans are visibly crunchy add the remaining spices to the rice and the water the beans were boiled in. Boil everything on high heat for 5-8 minutes and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until rice is cooked.

She also gave a private cooking class in the Culinary Arts Center to a lucky group of guests.

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You can find Chef Natacha’s work at: www.facebook.com/Chef.T and http://womenofhaiti.blogspot.com.

Holland America Line is welcoming more On Location guest chefs in 2014 who will show off their skills making local cuisine as part of the On Location enrichment program. From Alaska to Asia, chefs will participate in a variety of itineraries, giving cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes to showcase the unique flavors found around the world.

The following chefs are scheduled to sail in 2014:
Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen is originally from Phuket, Thailand, and is an expert in Thai cuisine. She is the founder of I Love Thai Cooking and will be sharing her knowledge on a Far East segment of ms Amsterdam’s Grand World Voyage beginning March 1.

Jeff Maxfield is known for creating impeccable local-inspired Pacific Northwest cuisine as the executive chef at the acclaimed SkyCity Restaurant, a revolving dining room atop the Space Needle in Seattle, Wash. He will sail in Alaska on ms Amsterdam for a seven-day voyage departing Aug. 23.

Kathy Guidi is a leader and innovator in the cheese industry. The Canadian cheese expert holds the title maitre fromager, founded the Cheese Education Guild and is president of Artisan Cheese Marketing. Guidi will be on ms Eurodam cruising Canada and New England Sept. 14.

Alain Bosse, “The Kilted Chef,” is president of Alain Bosse Consulting, past president of Taste of Nova Scotia in Canada and a culinary ambassador in Atlantic Canada. He also is the food editor for Saltscapes Magazine. He will be on ms Maasdam’s Canada and New England cruise departing Oct. 18.

Bob Hart is the author of “Heat and Smoke” and founder of the Australian Barbecue Academy. A former journalist, he found his passion for barbecue while living in the United States. He will join ms Oosterdam in Australia and New Zealand Oct. 24.

For a full list of all guests chefs sailing on Holland America Line, visit the Culinary Arts Center schedule on the line’s website.

Which chef would you like to sail with? Let us know!

3 Comments
  • Natacha Gomez

    It was a great pleasure to be part of HAL culinary Team to showcase my culture and the New Haitian Gastronomy, it was an amazing experience among wonderful guests and an honor to work with such a great team onboard.

  • Cruise.co

    The On Location enrichment is a brilliant idea – bringing experienced chefs on board to improve food that is already close to perfection.
    The list of chefs is exciting as they each have their own special style of cooking – it will be interesting to try each individual’s signature dish.
    We can’t wait for this!

  • Robin

    Pictures look absolutely fabulous! Everything looks extremely nice, professional. Everyone loves discovering delicious new recipes.

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