Chris De La Rosa’s love of Caribbean cooking has taken him from a small village in Trinidad and Tobago to millions of kitchens around the world, thanks to his website CaribbeanPot.com. Launched in 2009 as a place for the self-taught chef to share his favourite Caribbean dishes and document family recipes for his daughters, the site, which has more than 385,000 page views a month, has grown to include a Facebook page of 27,000 fans, a newsletter with 24,000 subscribers and a Youtube channel that has amassed about 4.6 million views.
From the time Chris was just five-years-old, he was already comfortable in the kitchen, thanks to his mother’s insistence that he partake in daily chores such as picking fresh herbs from the family garden. Gathering cooking tips from other family members along the way, Chris was well equipped, by the time he moved to Canada in 1989, to fend for himself among the pots and pans. Not limited to Caribbean cooking, Chris also mastered North American fare such as barbecue. However, his heart belonged to the Caribbean recipes on which he was raised.
Modeling CaribbeanPot.com after classic cookbooks, which offer step-by-step instruction and a list of ingredients, Chris began by posting recipes on a weekly basis. Wanting to personalize the site, Chris added anecdotes to the recipes as well as photos for each step in the directions. His Youtube videos and Facebook page offered other dimensions to CaribbeanPot.com, and fans from around the world began to seek out Chris for tips on everything from making the perfect rice and peas and jerk chicken to braising oxtail in Guinness. With an ever-growing fan base, CaribbeanPot.com quickly solidified itself as a hub that Chris hopes will help to boost the rank of Caribbean cooking to that of French or Italian cuisine.
What’s next for the one-stop-shop of Caribbean cooking, recipes and culinary culture? Chris is currently working on a series of cookbooks that he hopes to publish in the near future. He is also interested in obtaining a cooking show on local or national TV, submitting recipes to print publications and helping to educate the general public about the evolution of Caribbean cuisine. However, moving CaribbeanPot.com beyond the online realm doesn’t just mean serving up tips, and delicious versions of classic and modern bites. Chris also hopes to produce a line of spice blends and hot sauces that will introduce novices to the joys of Caribbean cooking and allow seasoned chefs to elevate the flavours simmering within their own Caribbean pots.