>

Cooking Belizean with Chef Rick

San Ignacio, Belize

There are a lot of perks to having good friends that are chefs. 

 

For example, they are always trying out new culinary delicacies and you get to be their guinea pig. They know everything about the best local eateries, as well as where to find the best, or hard-to-find ingredients, for anything you might want to whip up yourself. Their kitchens are well equipped and super clean. Their passion for food and cooking fills you with awe, and you never, ever want to turn down an invitation to eat at their homes. Ever! 

When they ask you over for dinner you never ask, “What are you having?” but rather reply with, “I’m on my way!!!” Anything they make will be scrumptious!

One of the coolest things about traveling to different countries is experiencing the unique foods of each locale. And even better, when you are in a new place and you find a new friend that is also a former professional chef and professor of culinary arts, well, that makes you one lucky foodie!  Such was our case when we met Chef Rick and his wife Cheri, here in Belize!

I’ve heard it said that most great chefs grew up around great cooks. Such was the case with Chef Rick.  Born and raised in North Dakota, Chef Rick was surrounded by great food and a family tradition of cooking. I’ve never been to North Dakota, but I know it’s cold, real cold.  So a nice indoor activity, in a cozy warm kitchen makes a lot of sense to me. 

Chef Rick, after a tour as a Navy Corpsman in Viet Nam, opted for a “softer” career choice. So, relieved of military duty, he signed up for culinary school. As a chef, he worked at several prestigious eateries such as, San Diego Seaworld’s Atlantis Restaurant, Minnesota’s Breezy Point Resort and the Renaissance in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Rick was good, really good, and of course his dream was to own his own restaurant.  For six years he was the chef for San Francisco’s Original Joe’s, a boutique bistro serving local favorites like hangtown fry and oysters. With this success under his belt, Rick then built the restaurant of his dreams.  The Loon’s Nest was situated on 1.5 acres right smack dab in the center of California’s wine country.  

It was because of this success that a local college recruited Chef Rick to teach at their newly opened culinary school.  Within time, he became a full-time professor for the school and eventually became the head of it.  

We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have hooked up with this incredibly talented food artist, here in Belize. 

 

Now We’re Cooking!  

So when I asked Chef Rick to help me out with some ideas for Belizean recipes, I guess it was a lot like asking Plácido Domingo to join me in a round of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Not only did he make me feel like I too could be a chef, but he created some of the best food I’ve ever had, in any country. He graciously invited me into his kitchen and allowed me to watch, learn and then chow down on three extraordinary dishes. The recipes for each are included in our new Recipes section and the links are below. 

 

Curry Chicken

We have found that, of all the meats, Belizeans do chicken the best, making it a staple for most of their dishes. Most local chicken is raised to precipitate a healthy diet, free of hormones, colorants and preservatives.  You can definitely taste the difference. 

I love this recipe because it’s fast, easy and oh so yummy!

Curry Chicken Recipe

 

Coconut Chicken on Mango Salsa

Since I was a little girl I’ve had a “thing” for coconut. I love it so much that Mounds (whether I feel like a “nut” or not) has always been my favorite candy bar.  

We were up to our earlobes in mangos when we were in Puerto Rico last year, and I, several times, made myself nearly sick from pigging out on them. I love ‘em. 
So when Chef Rick told me he was making Coconut Chicken with Mango Salsa, I had to check myself, so as not to drool all over my shirt. 

My oh my, did he deliver on this scrumptious dish.  Here’s the recipe:

Coconut Chicken on Mango Salsa 

 

Belizean Lime Crème Brulee 

Of all the desserts in the world, my grandmother’s chocolate pie, her chocolate cake and Crème Brulee are my absolute favorites.  

The limes here in Belize are not like the limes we could find in Texas.  These are sweeter and much juicier. So when Chef Rick announced he was making Belizean Lime Crème Brulee, well I knew it was going to be something magnificent. On the day that Chef Rick cooked for me, I took plates of the two chicken dishes home to John. As far as the Crème Brulee, I downed it all and almost licked the bowl. John, I love you honey, but it was Crème Brulee…

Here’s the recipe for this brilliant dessert:

Belizean Lime Crème Brulee Recipe


 

To a Fine Art, Outside the Kitchen 

I would be remiss not to mention that Rick and Cheri are not only great food artists, but also master artisans who have created some phenomenal, unique sculpture pieces. So when you visit them, not only are you fed like a prince or princess, but their house provides a lot of eye candy. Way, way cool stuff.

Food for Thought

Frankly, cooking never has been a passion for me. I’m definitely not a chef, and really not even all that great a cook, except for cupcakes and pie, but I left Chef Rick’s kitchen feeling like I might actually be able to create a few culinary masterpieces myself. He inspired me. I even watched a show on the Food Network yesterday. Go figure.

I won’t say my approach to cooking has completely flipped, but with the help of Chef Rick it has become more of a choice rather than a chore. When I find myself whining internally about having to cook, I think WWCRM (What Would Chef Rick Make) and I grin and think, “Suck it up, Buttercup. You can do this.”


CHEF RICK’S RECIPES

INGREDIENTS:

1 boneless chicken breast (cut into 1/4″ strips)

1 egg

corn starch

1 bag shredded coconut

butter for frying

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Roll chicken strips in corn starch. Let them sit about 30 minutes.
  • Add one egg and coconut to the remaining corn starch and mix into a sticky batter.
  • Roll chicken in the coconut mixture.
  • Brown chicken in butter until golden brown.

Mango Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup chopped mango
1/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 Tbsp hot peppers (chopped)
Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1/8 cup pomegranate juice


DIRECTIONS:

  • Combine salsa ingredients and use as a base for chicken.
  • Place hot chicken strips on salsa and garnish with lemon grass.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb chicken breast cut into chunks
1 eggplant chopped into 1/2 cubes
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
4 green onions chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
8 garlic cloves chopped
2 cans coconut milk
6 lime leaves
6 sprigs of lemon grass
1/8 cup fish sauce
2 Tbsp curry or to taste


DIRECTIONS:

  • Boil coconut milk, lime leaves and lemon grass for 3-4 minutes.
  • Reduce to a high simmer and add curry powder 2 Tbsp or to taste.
  • Add veggies and chicken.
  • Simmer on high until done.
  • Mix in fish sauce.


 
 
 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 eggs (separated)
  • 1 pint cream
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 cup lime juice

 


DIRECTIONS:

  • Hand whip egg yolks, cream and sugar for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add lime juice and whip a bit more.
  • Pour into baking dessert dishes, filling a little more than halfway.
  • Bake in a pan of 1″ water at 325 until each will jiggle a bit. Roughly 30-35 minutes.
  • Let the desserts fully cool.
  • Sprinkle sugar on top of each and caramelize with baking torch.

 

Italian Meringue

  • Add 5 egg whites and 1/2 cup of sugar to double boiler. Stir constantly for 10 minutes.
  • Add meringue to a mixer and mix for 10 minutes.
  • Add topping to each dessert.  Sprinkle with sugar and lightly torch to caramelize.
  • Add slice of lime for garnish.

 

Story Categories:

2018,Belize

Written by:

2 Responses

  1. Love your blog about Belezian food. The recipes sound amazing and will definitely be tried in my kitchen. I’ve been to Belize and have family living there so your blog just brought me closer to them. Thanks for sharing!

  2. So happy to see chef Rick,and partner , in the delicious ,Sherri featured in your article…so passionate and creative,these folks are not only great cooks but ,sincere and great friends. So happy to be surrounded by wonderful”people like us” in this beautiful paradise ,Belize.

    Love to you all! Keep on Cookin!🌹🌹🌹🤪🙏

Leave a Reply to Kathy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Sign Up!

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox, every time we post a new story!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Audio

Want to listen to this story as you read?

Photos

Check out our eye candy!

Recent Stories

But there’s more…check out our newest adventures!

Share this: