Chef Kwame’s innovative take on Jamaican American Cuisine tests the boundaries of authenticity and identity.
Photo Cred: Chef Kwame Williams
Kwame’s transformations of Jamaican-American cuisine create shock and awe while also providing a sense of comfort. Whether the dish is his deconstructed beef patty pasta or strawberry shortcake with white strawberries, Kwame pushes the boundaries of traditional recipes.
Coming from a Caribbean background, his childhood memories center around Sunday meals, where food dominated family gatherings. Hosting large dinners with family mirrors how he creates private dinners and serves his guests today.
Within each of his dishes, Kwame incorporates core memories of his childhood meals into his menus. Memories of vinegar from sandwiches from his local corner shop bodega to the aromas from his parent’s kitchen show up in each of his dishes.
Kwame started cooking in commercial kitchens when he was 15, and his passion grew naturally. Preparing meals for scale and practicing his curiosity with experimentation was his day-to-day. Following his studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, the school solidified his desire to become a chef and opened new doors for him as an artist.
Through experimentation, Kwame combines well-known traditional Jamaican flavors with the unfamiliar. His deconstructed beef patty pasta dish is a unique blend of nostalgia and tradition. The dish is transformed into pasta made from flour, turmeric, and curry and topped off with a brown butter sauce and beef. It represents an homage to his roots and showcases his unique technique of fusing Italian and Jamaican flavorings.
Struggling to find his authentic self, Kwame dedicated his culinary art to better understanding his true identity. As a first-generation Jamaican American, Kwame initially wanted to recreate dishes solely from his childhood. However, when he found himself in the kitchen, he gravitated toward uncommonly used spices and ingredients.
He can create new tastes and experiences by recreating new versions of authenticity. Within the middle of both cultures, he shares his true identity through the blend. Above all, while throwing out tradition and authentic cuisine, Kwame hopes to draw attention to the experiencing identity within the American experience.
Pushing boundaries in the culinary world allows Kwame to continue to evolve and transform traditional recipes into his own. Having reconciled his feelings of identity, Kwame uses food to share his experience of how he learned how to accept his authentic self. Kwame’s guests join a nostalgic tour of his childhood while experiencing continuous evolutions of unique food combinations.
Explore Adá, the only Experiences Marketplace that centers global Black food culture.