Recently while in Jamaica, at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall resort in Montego Bay, I had the opportunity to discover Ackee and Saltfish.
My daughter and I were having our first breakfast at the resort. Our restaurant selection that morning was Urban Heat by Flavorz Breakfast. I noticed the dish listed under specialties and quickly inquired of our waiter to tell me what the dish was. I always look for the items on a menu marked specials, signature, chef’s choice, etc. These are usually the dishes the chef and restaurant are best known for. I am also a believer in trying and eating native cuisine as much as possible when visiting a destination. It is one of the true ways to truly immerse yourself in the culture and get a feel or flavor in this case for the people.
Our waiter described the dish for me. Ackee is a traditional Jamaican fruit. Looks sort of like a misshaped apple when you see it hanging in the tree and has much larger seeds. Saltfish, as the name would indicate, is a fish, typically cod, that has been preserved in salt. The combination of these two ingredients along with onions, tomato, peppers, and spices is traditionally served at breakfast, on special occasions, or Sundays, but can be eaten anytime of day.
During my resort tour with Tamina Williams from Hyatt’s marketing team, I was able to inquire about obtaining a recipe for this dish. Below I share with you Chef Jorge Hildago’s exceptional Jamaican breakfast recipe with you.
Ackee and Salt fish
1 tin Ackee
1 kg Salt fish (Codfish)
0.25 kg Onion julienne
0.25 kg Tomato julienne
0.12 kg Green Pepper julienne
2 tbsp. Escallion chopped small
1 tbsp. Scotch bonnet Pepper chopped
1 tbsp. Ground Black Pepper
1.5 cup Olive Oil
Method: Boiled salt fish in water for about 15 minute, change water and boiled again for 15 more minutes, cool salt fish in running water remove bones and scale and break in small pieces. In a small frying pan add Olive oil and all vegetable sautéed for 2 minutes then add salt fish cook for a next 2 minutes drain ackee and add in pan add ground black pepper, scotch bonnet then stir for 1 minute and turn off flame.
I so fell in love with the flavors and texture of this dish, I proceeded to eat it for breakfast everyday during our stay at the resort as it could also be found in the main buffet restaurant. The full meal I enjoyed that first morning, included fried plantains and coconut soaked bammies, a traditional Jamaican cassava flat bread. All washed down with mango juice.
Mi deh yah, Everyting criss-Everything is good!
Rickardo “Rickki” Foster Executive Sous Chef
Born into a family three, Rickardo is the second of three kids born in the rural community of Kingston but grew up in Montego Bay. Set out at the age of three to Barracks Road primary, Rickardo was a very quiet and reserved kid who barely spoke but was very inquisitive in cooking and asking his mother a lot of question about food preparation.
In 1989 he moved onto the Moldon Comprehensive School where his passion for food was being conceived as he ventures into studying Home Economics as major subject. Being still very reserved, culinary was now his way of speaking out loud and expressing himself however outside of this realm, football was his center of attraction where he represented his school in DaCosta Cup School football league.
Rickardo’s passion for cooking was driven from the fulfilment he got from persons who dined from his table and spoke satisfyingly of his cooking at the end of a meal. After working at the Dolphin Grill as part of work experience, this platform in high school propelled his working career that commenced at Holiday Inn Sun spree Resort as a cook in 1993 and after that, the rest was history at other luxurious resorts such as Jamaica Pegasus and the present Hyatt Ziva & Zilara Resorts. His accumulated fine management skills places him in the current capacity of an Executive Sous Chef who leads a team of culinarian following in his footsteps to master all aspects of the art of cooking.
Along the way, Rickardo copped accolades such runner up Manager of the Year, Manager of the quarter on numerous occasions and various certification that makes him a well-rounded individual. With every glorious path comes ups and downs and he dealt with challenges by maintaining focus, looking at the bigger picture and never ending consistent commitment.
Rickardo continuous drive and passion is kept at a high by his clients’ satisfaction, acknowledgement of his work and this is channeled into creating some of his favorite food which combines art, culture and a wow factor experience which includes using a Jamaican dish and intertwining a European flare.
With over 25 years of experience, Rickardo still have a lot to attain and also contribute to the culinary industry by being a renowned consultant, giving back to the future generations by imparting his knowledge and to be sitting in the chair with his title being an Executive Chef.
His motto to stand by is, “Without passion, heart and commitment involved in a dream, its best you don’t do it”.
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI.
She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.