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Get a taste for the eclectic blend of international fare in Old San Juan Puerto Rico, a destination boasting cuisines from ...
the world over. Meet chefs from the area’s top fine-dining venues, including seafood Mecca Aquaviva and Asian fusion hotspot Dragon Fly.
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Victoria Brown: So Patricia over the years a number of different countries and nations have settled in various Caribbean islands. What would you say with the restaurant the biggest influence?
Patricia: Saint Thomas is a melting pot for all of the other islands. So you know if you talk to anyone individual here what you'll find is they're from Dominica which has a lot of French influence and some Spanish influence. The French people that live in French town I believe immigrated here with sometime in 40s and they came from Saint Mark’s which is an island not very far away from here.
The French farmers settled on the north side of the island and the French fisherman settled on this side of the island. Of course it’s proximate into the water and the boats and all that and if you walk through French town you will see all this, this wonderful little ginger bread, little houses and people live in them and you'll see the fisherman very early in the morning. It has again a whole range of very small boats actually. They're very colorful.
So you find that this melting pot of course arrives in Saint Thomas and the food is again a melting pot and it makes for a very exciting type of cuisine.
Victoria Brown: And a very eclectic menu I would imagine.
Patricia: A very eclectic menu.
Victoria Brown: So what do you then to make it have a Caribbean flavor for people who visit you in the island?
Patricia: As a chef you should always try to use ingredients that are indigenous which is what we do. Friends since my background has being trained at prolonged in Paris. And you take some of the cuisine here and now you're combining flavors and you're also combining the visuals so you know because a fillet is not just—it’s the ingredients and simple.
Victoria Brown: So Jennifer, I know you're the chef who does cuisine here at Oceana and thank you for welcoming us into your kitchen and I know you’re going to prepare one of your signature dishes for us so what are the key ingredients?
Jennifer: Key ingredients is definitely having your cold shrimp that has been pouch in a pork bouillon which is charlotte, pepper corn, bay leaf, white wine, salt and pepper.
Victoria Brown: And you grilled the pineapple.
Jennifer: Yeah, there’s a little smokiness to the pineapple, a different flavor.
Victoria Brown: Do you find you get really inspired when you're cooking here with a view like this?
Jennifer: Yeah, that’s mostly resembling here at six years is because everyday you come out here and you're poaching hor couvre and making sauces and you're like “Oh, wait there goes a cruise ship” and you have sea fleets that come by—
Victoria Brown: Yeah, the whole place doesn’t get much better than that, was it?
Jennifer: No, not at all. Your fish with old toasted coconut.
Victoria Brown: Oh, how delicious.
Jennifer: We have a nice Asian barbecue sauce here little on the spicy side, so the sweetness from the pineapple and then all spiciness from the sauce. It all works.
Victoria Brown: Well, Jennifer it looks delicious. It really does.
Jennifer: Well, you should have a little snack.
Victoria Brown: Have a little—well, thank you.
Jennifer: You’re welcome.
Victoria Brown: She doesn’t get much fresher than this, does it? Oh, my goodness that’s incredible, really, really tasty.