Belize is truly a melting pot of diverse culture and taste. After all, the country is proud to have a number of chef and culinary experts who delight us with delicious and flavorful dishes. As it js National Chef Day, today we recognize two local chefs highly complimented for their expertise in the kitchen.
Jennie Staines – Ambergris Caye
Jennie Staines is one of the top chefs in Belize; her dedication, passion, and devotion for food puts her a tick above. Chef Jennie Staines, of Elvi’s Kitchen on the island of Ambergris Caye, doesn’t have wanderlust. But if you lived in paradise, how far would you venture from home? Elvi’s, a must-visit on the island for 40+ years, is renowned for its delicious menu and its sand floor, which invites people to come as you are.
Growing up in Belize, Jennie’s favorite food was always tamales, but these days it’s che-chac, or fish soup. She trained as a chef in Florida and Mexico, but Belize called her back home. She’s fascinated with the effect our many cultures have had on our food, especially as it relates to the wide variety of seasonings. Jenine’s favorite dish from another chef is stewed gibnut. When you visit us in Belize, be sure to try it.
Elvi’s Kitchen, a renowned restaurant on the island, offers its customers a range of mouthwatering entrees to delight in. Something good is always cooking here! Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, steak, burgers, ceviche, tacos or Yucatan-flavored dishes, you can find it all at Elvi’s. There is also a vegetarian menu for plant-based lovers! They also have live music every night along with Caribbean Night on Thursdays and Mexican Night on Saturdays.
Chef Sean Kulyen – Dangriga
If you visit Belize and ask about the top chefs in the country, hands down one of the names you’ll hear is Chef Sean Kuylen. Born in Corozal and raised in Dangriga (known as the cultural capital of Belize), it started very early for Chef Sean Kuylen. Sean’s passion for the kitchen was nurtured by one of his greatest influences – his mother. She inspired him to become a chef when he was just a boy, after he scorched many of her pots by cooking eggs and baking. Nonetheless, Sean attended culinary school in San Francisco and finds the creativity of being a chef and pleasing guests exceptionally rewarding. Sean uses a unique touch with all his specialties of the Caribbean, most notably, Belizean cuisine.
“Belize has so many cultures and flavors to play with; it will take my entire career to mix, marry and flirt with them all!”
After several training and internships all over the world, Sean returned to his beloved Belize and began working at several celebrated resorts before venturing into self-employment. He now tours the country catering from his fully equipped mobile kitchen delivering his “Inspired Belizean Cuisine”. Notably, he is known for catering a variety of events, and Belize destination weddings.
More on Belize Food: Read the E-Book of Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle’s Food Issue