At Tru Bahamian Food Tours, we think that one of the reasons our Bites of Nassau Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tours are so unique is because of the incredibly interesting personalities charged with leading our groups each day.
So, we thought we’d introduce you to some of these tour guide extraordinaires so you could get to know each of them a little better… next up- meet Lexi!
Tru Bahamian Food Tours (TBFT): Tell us how you first became interested in food and cuisine.
Lexi: Food is food, so to tell you when I first became interested in food is hard to say, but when it comes to cuisine I can track this back to my first bite of sashimi. I’m an island girl, which is standard type for “traditional”. My palate was very limited because of the small variety in the local grocery stores on Long Island and that really stunted my taste for adventure. But then in 2009 during my first semester of college in Nassau, my cousins took me to a local sushi bar and force-fed me sashimi. At first I thought it was disgusting, but when I was asked what it was specifically that I didn’t like, I couldn’t answer. After a few more bites I realized that I actually really liked it, and from then on I began to stray away from the well trodden path of chicken fingers and fries (oh goodness, to even say that embarrasses me now!) and onto more intricate foods whose tastes I’d have never discovered had I remained in the tight circle of familiarity.
TBFT: What is it specifically that makes Bahamian Food unique in your opinion?
Lexi: What I love about Bahamian food is that the ingredients are so simple yet the results are so good! I can literally count all of the basic ingredients to twenty native dishes on one hand, but each dish is totally different from the other. When I tell my tour guests that Bahamian Peas N’ Rice is made from the same ingredients that Steamed Chicken uses, they are astonished because both dishes taste so different. It’s that unique simplicity that makes our food stand out.
TBFT: Why did you decide to become a food tour guide?
Lexi: To tell you the truth, the position found me. I was working at a local jewellery store, completely defying every belief I’ve garnered about the authentic Bahamian experience, when a friend of mine met me before work. He thought I’d be a good fit for the position. I wasn’t very sure if he was right, but when I went on the tour myself I realised that this tour provided me with that sense of authenticity I believe guests and locals deserve when viewing The Bahamas. So really it wasn’t that I decided to be a tour guide, I decided I wanted to be a part of this company.
TBFT: What do you love most about leading food tours?
Lexi: While I do love food, I love teaching the people around me about my country. There’s so much about these islands that even locals don’t know, and I am a firm believer in the fact that the more you know about something the more real it becomes. I love making this country real in my guests’ eyes, something more tangible than a picturesque scene of sun, sand and beach alone. I love revealing the history, the culture and the real life of the people here, of me.
TBFT: What are you doing when you’re not leading a Bites of Nassau Tour?
Lexi: I’m writing. I’m always researching the history of the many cultures of the world, especially mine. My aspiration is to become a renowned writer, to showcase my people and my culture through serious literature, something even locals overlook. But when I’m not writing I’m baking, because writing requires tea and/or coffee, and tea and/or coffee requires cake or brownies…or bread rolls…or doughnuts…
TBFT: What do you like most about living in The Bahamas?
Lexi: I believe what I like most about being anywhere in The Bahamas, whether it’s New Providence or Long Island or Eleuthera or Mayaguana, is the fact that I’m always going to know somebody. I know that there will always be someone who will be there to help and say hello to.
TBFT: When you’re hosting guests visiting from out of town, what is the FIRST thing (as in food or drink) that you ensure they try as part of their trip here?
Lexi: Food, conch fritters. Drink, Switcha. Quintessential Bahamian right there. That’s actually my Regatta Special! To me there is nothing better than a conch fritter. That’s actually how my uncle would make me and my sisters and cousins eat vegetables when we were kids. He’d puree the veggies and mix them in with the conch batter, fooled us every time. But Switcha is a must have. Simple and sweet, this limeade literally oozes summer, and it’s a universal drink that everyone can understand, translated into so many languages and cultures through various twists. I prefer mine with key limes of course!
TBFT: You’re an avid baker and have some strong Greek Bahamian and Long Island roots. Do you have a Long Island specialty or family recipe that you can share with our readers?
Lexi: If you’ve ever spent some time in The Bahamas then you’d know the capital dish of Long Island is mutton. My grandmother and all of her sisters make a delicious Steam Mutton (because true Bahamians don’t use past participles) that literally melts in your mouth! Basically, you cube your mutton and allow the meat to simmer in a traditional Bahamian Steam Sauce i.e. fresh cut tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, onions, green bell peppers, goat peppers, thyme, basil, bay leaf and oregano. You of course must add thickly cut carrot and potato wedges to the brew and allow all of the ingredients to simmer with the meat for about an hour. What my grandmother and sisters do differently is that after boiling the sauce and meat, they pour the Steam Mutton into a large casserole dish and stick it in the oven for an additional 20 minutes just so the meat and veggies can almost caramelise. Okay, I’m hungry now…