Food good for Port au Prince, Haiti: Change we can believe in?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 19, 2014



Street food in Port au Prince is prepared and served from little stalls along the road
Street food in Port au Prince is prepared and served from little stalls along the road

One has to wonder what will happen to Mirege Kercy, who runs a roadside ‘café’ (if you can call it that) in Port au Prince, when acclaimed restaurateur and humanitarian Jose Andres gives her a gleaming new kitchen. For free. Or at least, at no cost to Ms Kercy.

Yes really. Read The Washington Post Magazine piece here. Mr Andres, who the story describes as “a celebrity chef on two continents and head of a $125-million-a-year food empire that has spread from Washington to Beverly Hills, Miami Beach and beyond”, believes Haiti is the natural start to a food revolution. His two-year-old humanitarian nonprofit is called World Central Kitchen. Here in Port au Prince, Mr Andres knows a contractor who will build the kitchen for Ms Kercy. And then…what exactly?

Mr Andres believes the coming revolution is about “food creating good”, empowering people, feeding people and creating jobs.

That’s all very well. In theory. But one has to wonder what might happen to Ms Kercy if and when she gets her new kitchen. She will, presumably, still cook the dishes she knows she can sell – chicken bouillon on Mondays; rice and fish on Fridays; pwa congo whenever the pigeon peas are harvested.

Will she need to pay big protection fees because she has a kitchen that’s better than the richest house most people in Haiti can imagine? Will she become a target?

Jack Kerouac
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
– Jack Kerouac

Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK

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