West Winds: Recipes, History, and Tales from Jamaica is the joyous debut cookbook from award-winning food writer Riaz Phillips. The first in a series of books exploring Caribbean culture, West Winds celebrates the sensational flavours of Jamaican cuisine from a refreshing new perspective. Riaz tells the countless tales of Jamaica through its dishes, drawing on memories of growing up in the Caribbean diaspora of London, and time spent living in Jamaica. Combining over 100 delicious recipes with captivating essays on Jamaican food culture, West Winds is so much more than a cookbook. It is an ode to Jamaica and the diaspora, the people and their food.
With beautiful on-location travel photography that immerses you in the energy, spirit, and food of Jamaica, West Winds is a cookbook to savour reading. It champions everything Jamaican cooking has to offer, from vibrant vegan cuisine and Ital food Riaz was introduced to by the Rastafari community whilst living in Jamaica, to nose-to-tail eating and the “waste not, want not” approach instilled in Riaz by his grandmother.
There are no ‘recipes’ in the Caribbean in the traditional western sense, instead dishes may be passed from generation to generation, along with folklaws, short stories, songs, and anecdotes. Riaz roots his recipes in centuries of history and culture, illuminating the stories behind ingredients and dishes, and the global culinary influences – stretching from West Africa and Latin America to Asia and Europe – which make Jamaican food culture so unique.
Delving into decades of Caribbean nostalgia, Riaz introduces his takes on over 100 mouth-watering dishes and must-try meals, from home-cooked classics, popular takeaway bites, and irresistible street food snacks, to hearty soups, healthy salads, delicious breads and bakes, zingy preserves, sauces and pickles, and refreshing drinks. Fill your plate with the flavours of Goat Curry, Oxtail and Butter Beans, Steamed Fish and Okra, Jackfruit Stew, Jerk Chicken, Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Coconut Curry, Red Pea Soup and Fish Tea, comforting bakes like Plantain Tarts and Spiced Carrot Cake, flavour-spiked condiments and preserves from Scotch Bonnet Ketchup to Mango and Pineapple Chilli Jam, and refreshing drinks like Fermented Ginger Beer and Watermelon, Beetroot & Ginger juice.
Riaz aims to dispel the notion that Caribbean food is a mystery. With chapters dedicated to veganism, fermentation, preservation, and raw foods, Riaz explores how many modern food trends have existed in Jamaica and the Caribbean for eons, and his advice for stocking your store-cupboard with accessible ingredients will make cooking incredible Jamaican dishes simple.
Riaz Phillips is an award-winning writer, video maker, and photographer. Born and raised in London, Riaz is the author of Belly Full: Caribbean Food in the UK (2017), a deep dive into the history of Caribbean food heritage across the country for which he was awarded a Young British Foodie (YBF) Award. In 2020 he edited the Community Comfort, a collection of over 100 global recipes from cooks of immigrant backgrounds raising funds for the families of Covid-19 victims in their own community. Riaz’ debut cookbook West Winds is the winner of the Jane Grigson Trust Award 2022 for new food and drink writers. Riaz was awarded the 2020 K Blundell trust award from the Society of Authors. Instagram @riazphillips Youtube:RiriTravels
Whether you want to reconnect with the food and culture of your heritage or bring the flavours of Jamaican cuisine to your kitchen for the first time, Riaz Phillips’heartfelt debut cookbook takes you on an unforgettable journey to find out what makes Jamaican food so special.
Written by: Ella Desewu