Writer and Documenter Riaz Phillips
London-based writer, author and documenter Riaz Phillips take readers as well as viewers on a deeper dive into the diversity of Caribbean food through his travels, cookbooks and short films.
“Overwhelmingly, people who don’t know about the food, when you ask them about it, it is always these simplistic labels that they assign to it. So a lot of the times, you just hear that people just think Caribbean food is just hot and spicy which to me has no nuance to it and it is kinda meaningless,” he says during the episode.
Since the time he was kid, Riaz has had fond memories of Caribbean dishes prepared by his mother and grandmother. He even recalls how his grandmother was faithful when it came to going to Ridley Road Market in London and no matter if she was cooking a dish that was not Caribbean such as lasagna or Shepard’s Pie, she always adding a little fusion to the meal with cassava or plantains.
His journey as a writer began after he mentally began winding down from a job and thinking about transferring the research skills that was a part of it to an area that he was more passionate about; culture and food.
He took the power of storytelling into his own hands and self-published “Belly Full: Caribbean Food in the UK,” in 2017 which won him the Young British Foodie award. His commitment to sharing the truths about diverse Caribbeans communities, cultures and foods continued with the release of “Community Comfort,” a compilation of over 100 recipes from immigrant cooks in 2020 and “West Winds,” a love letter to Jamaican cuisine in 2021.
He is currently promoting the release of his fourth book “East Winds: Recipes, History and Tales from the Hidden Caribbean,” released October 2023. This book unwaveringly celebrates lesser-known Caribbean culture from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.
Thought-provoking is just one way of describing this conversation with host Sheree Williams. After listening, be sure to follow Riaz on X (Twitter), Instagram and YouTube for more insights, updates on his work and more.