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iPhone Photography - Stephen Hamilton; Story - Amy Cesta for Stephen Hamilton; Title & Design - Judith Mara; Cuisine- Chef Luis Alfredo and Team
As another epic sunset fell over the ocean on the Atlantic Coast of the Dominican Republic, we piled into a van for the best kind of field trip - one centered around food.
While in the Dominican Republic we typically stay in for dinner.
Chef Danny, the house chef, creates amazing feasts each night. But on this evening, we decided to venture out to a local chef’s private home for a tasting menu.
right: house Chef Danny's local Charcuterie
The instant we arrived we knew we were being welcomed into a special experience. Host Rebecca greeted us with one daughter on her hip and another under foot - the girls happy to see another round of dinner guests and potential playmates. Rebecca led us to their outdoor kitchen and communal dining table. The space, nestled into lush foliage, is adjacent to the family’s home.
We were introduced to the joyful kitchen staff and Chef Luis Alfredo, our culinary host for the evening as well as Rebecca’s husband. Chef Luis’ goal is to educate visitors on the cuisine of the Dominican Republic. He presented us with a demonstration on cocao, walking us through the process from seed to cocao bar, in the local traditional way.
We then enjoyed an 8-course feast highlighting cocao as well as other fresh and locally sourced Dominican ingredients.
Fish caught in the Las Terrenas bay, fruit and vegetables from friends’ farms and herbs from their own garden. Chef Luis has worked all over the world so while the food was Dominican in flavor it was refined with culinary techniques gathered from his travels. The meal was truly a gastronomic adventure.
As the wine flowed and dessert courses were served, our laughter got louder and the girls came out to see if their suspicions were true - were these guests were up for a little fun?
The answer, “Absolutely!” There were pushes on the tricycle, running through legs and lots of giggles. Rebecca and Luis had invited us into their home, their family and their culture. We all left with full bellies and huge smiles on our faces. An experience not to be forgotten.
Gracias Chef Luis Alfredo!
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