Honoring the Spirits of Haiti with Chef Cybille St. Aude

Chef Cybille St. Aude’s multi-course Haitian menu for our A NIGHT IN pop-up series meshed folklore with fine dining for an unforgettable culinary journey.

Honoring the spirits of Haiti with Chef Cybille St. Aude

Photo Cred: Chef Cybille St. Aude

Chef Cybille St. Aude embraces both her Haitian and American identities

For our A NIGHT IN pop-up series, Chef Cybille St. Aude-Tate took guests on a three-course culinary journey called “L’espri”.

The entire menu is a reflection of her experience growing up Haitian-American. At times, Chef Cybille struggled with the duality of not being Haitian or American “enough”. However, if this menu is any indication, today she beautifully integrates all aspects of her unique experience and perspective as a first-generation American. 

Through food, she shares her story of identity on every plate, bringing Haiti’s energy and beautiful history to the table,.

"Haiti is an island rooted in history, culture, and love. Haitians have this form of resilience that doesn't only come from the island. It dates back to Africa. So it's important that when you eat this food, you think of everything that makes up Haiti."

A cultural journey through Haitian terrains

From the sea, up to the mountains and down to the city center, Chef Cybille’s menu journeys through island of Haiti.

For her first course, Chef St. Aude created steamed New England clams with a delicious epis butter sauce She combined butter the beloved Haitian green base seasoning that’s forms the foundation of nearly all Haitian dishes. To soak up the delectable sauce, Chef Cybille St. Aude served fluffy hard dough bread. The use of clams pay homage to Chef Cybille St. Aude’s Long Island upbringing.

Honoring the spirits of Haiti with Chef Cybille St. Aude

For the main course, Chef Cybille served Kabrit ak Vivres Alimentaire, a delicious goat skewer with ground provisions. Chef Cybille used a four-tiered cooking technique involving smoking, broiling, braising, and grilling to create a delicate blend of flavors

It’s fitting that “Vivres Alimentaire” translates to “life” in Creole – the fortifying plate felt like a meal that could provide the a day’s worth of energy. 

Honoring the spirits of Haiti with Chef Cybille St. Aude

Chef Cybille St. Aude's spicy sauce based on Haitian folklore

Alongside this dish, she served a spicy Ti Malice sauce, named after two iconic characters in Haitian folklore, trickster, Ti Malice, and his friend, Buki.

The Story of Ti Malice by Chef Cybille St. Aude-Tate

Image Cred: Chef Cybille St. Aude-Tate

"There are two tricksters, Buki and Ti Malice, who are famous in Haitian legend and cultural folklore. Ti malice – a great cook – always cooks lunch for himself and his friend Buki. Buki seems only to come around right when the food is ready, and he eats it all up. Having had enough, Ti Malice decides to make something so spicy that Buki never wants to return and freeload again. But the plan backfires, and Buki happens to love the spiciness. He runs into the town and tells everyone about the spicy sauce. Legend has it that the townspeople named this sauce after Ti Malice."

Ending on a sweet note

For her final course, Chef Cybille created Bon Bon Siwrop, a moistginger molasses cake. Harnessing the memories of home, she described how the dessert always stuck out to her when traveling to Haiti because of its bright orange color. She paired the cake with a Kafe Du Soir rum sauce and a coffee Clairin cocktail. Often distilled by families living along the mountainside, Clairin is featured heavily in many Haitian dishes.

Honoring the spirits of Haiti with Chef Cybille St. Aude

"Haitians are not known for our desserts. But the ones we have are cool, and it was important to keep the integrity of these desserts and combine them into the best representation of Haiti."

Preserving Haiti's cultural heritage

Chef Cybille’s meals are motivated by her efforts to share food stories of her heritage. Preserving her familial memories while adding her creative spin on tradition, she is inspired to dedicate her career to telling the story of Haitian culture through the culinary arts. 

"Our food and stories can't die with our elders. They have to live on. Finding innovative and creative ways to do this while keeping that integrity is super important to me."

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