Black chefs have always been inventors, both out of inspiration and necessity. Creativity was required when there was a lack of provisions; it took real skill, resourcefulness, and ingenuity to make dishes from ingredients that others considered undesirable into something delicious.
But more importantly, Black chefs learn how to adapt — to new places, new people, new flavors — without forgetting their roots. They learn how take all of those memories and influences and remix them into something that is uniquely all their own.
No one personifies that unique “remix” more than Leticia “Skai” Young, of LoLo’s Seafood Shack. Young is a New York local, but she is inspired by flavors from Guyana, Belize, and Anguilla. She describes her Harlem restaurant as a mix of Cape Cod and the Caribbean. In fact, she’s so tied to her Caribbean roots that she and her husband Ray named LoLo after the Caribbean roadside food shacks that are locally owned and locally operated (“lolo”).
Here’s how Skai describes that unique blend of inspirations.
Dish to Order at Lolo’s Seafood Shack, Red Rooster Harlem and Red Rooster Overtown: Lolo’s Caribbean Tamales with Crab & Conch