Her culinary flair has made Yvette LaCrette “the Caribbean’s go-to-chef” in New York City, her home base. As Melissa Noel learns, Chef LaCrette is an always eager ambassador for the Spice Island.
On a Friday evening, as the sun sets over Grand Anse Beach in Grenada, the kitchen at the Flamboyant Hotel’s beachside restaurant is just starting to buzz.
Tonight, the menu created by special request includes chicken battered with Carib beer, baked ribs made with barbecue tamarind sauce, callaloo rice, and breadfruit pie. Even the fish cakes and calypso shrimp appetizers were distinctly requested — because celebrity chef Yvette Michelle LaCrette is home.
Near the oven you can almost taste the freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg she is mixing to create her signature dessert: bread pudding with a crème anglaise sauce. Several dignitaries, including the Grenada Tourism Authority’s CEO and an advisor to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asked for it by name. “I was called even before I left New York City, to ensure it was on the menu,” LaCrette says with a smile.
LaCrette was handpicked to cater a private dinner party hosted by the Grenada Tourism Authority — a role she feels grateful for. “Each time I’m asked to do something for Grenada, I feel honoured,” she says. Amid a demanding schedule as personal chef to international supermodel Naomi Campbell and being at the helm of LaCrette’s Catering Company in New York — where she cooks for everyone from church groups and celebrities to UN ambassadors — whenever home calls, she answers. “If I’m going to represent Grenada and the wider Caribbean, I have to give it one hundred per cent,” she says.