5 Heartwarming Things About Haitian Chef Thia
Cynthia “Chef Thia” Verna, who brandishes a 5,000 megawatt smile, was born in a little town called Petionville in Haiti. Today, she’s the newest addition to the Taste the Islands TV show family. She keeps it simple. Her dishes are usually made with only a handful of ingredients that pack a powerful punch.
Her signature element which she calls Chef Thia’s Spice is a “special sauce” she adds to just about every savory dish. It’s a spice rub made with garlic, onions, canola oil and some other easy to find ingredients that you can blend, bottle and amp up your food with in a heartbeat. She’ll join Chef Irie in season 2 of Taste the Islands coming to PBS and Create TV in early 2017, and you’ll have to wait until then to get the recipe. But until then, here are 5 heartwarming things to know about Chef Thia.
1. How did you fall in love with cooking?
I fell in love with cooking at an early age. I loved watching my grandmother cook, my mentor. I love the way she used to mix her ingredients, her use of bold colors, bold flavors and the delicious aroma coming out of her kitchen. It was like a taste of heaven every time.
2. What is your favorite Caribbean comfort food or recipe?
My favorite Caribbean comfort food would be Mais Moulu (Haitian seasoned cormeal) with a side of Haitian Legume (veggie stew) and avocado slices. Thinking about it warms my heart every time.
3. How does your Caribbean heritage influence your approach to cooking?
My approach to cooking is similar to my grandmother’s. In the Caribbean, we cook with lots of herbs and spices. I kept the same process. Every meal is delightful and mouthwatering because we don’t hold anything back. Mother nature is sharing her little treasures why not use them. Fresh food with fresh ingredients.
4. Other than your own island, which island’s cuisine is your favorite?
Wow! I would have to say Jamaica. I love their cooking. So flavorful.
5. What is your favorite quote about food?
My own quote: “My grandmother taught me the art of cooking. She inspired me to find my passion, how to bring people together with love and food”