What three ingredients are particularly representative of your culture’s cooking and why?
The original Jamaican flavours are onion, thyme and garlic. These ingredients were used when slaves had access to little flavours and ingredients to use on meat. That flavour was called ‘jerk’. As time has gone on the flavours have developed into adding scotch bonnet chilli, pimento and other spices and herbs which gives ‘jerk’ the incredibly powerful and moorish flavour. The flavours of Jamaican food are a mixture of Spanish, Chinese, Indian, African, British and French.
Are there any myths about your cultural food traditions you’d like to debunk? Are there any you can confirm are true?
Yes that Jamaican food is crazy spicy. It’s very well balanced flavours and the meals are developed so you can adjust the spice level to your liking. The cuisine is not yet known in Australia for how amazingly flavoursome and healthy the food is. The style is very real and very tribal. It’s outdoors, using few pots and pans, produce is picked from the trees and the ground, there is very natural flow from cooking to plate. Most of the food is cooking on charcoal smokers which produces out of this world flavour. I was also like to debunk a theory that Jamaican’s are dangerous. Jamaican’s are community and spiritually focused people, who live their life by giving love and compassion to all.
What difference do you think A Taste of Harmony can make?
An incredible difference, food binds us as a world, it binds all cultures and people. It’s very powerful.
Why is this important to you?
My entire company and mission is binding all types of people together through food and music. It’s what has driven me to where I am now and consequently drives all our crew. If we as people step out of our comfort zones, social habits and merge ourselves into new situations, with new people, new enviroments. Very special things occur. This breaks down preconceived perceptions, knowledge and compassion is gained. This is a powerful learning experience, we share and we become one, which ultimately is our true purpose in life.
Has anyone from a culture different to your own influenced your style of cooking? How?
Indigenous Australians have influenced me as a person and my brand. Their values by respecting life, being resourceful, and creating family setting by sharing food, learning and connecting to nature and spirit is amazing. Their culture is very similar to Jamaican culture and my roots, so I really connect to their values and way of life.
When Australia’s workforce sits down to share their meals together for A Taste of Harmony, what do you hope they will talk about?
Real conversations. Their culture, their food, their journey, their stories. Listening and learning and binding as a community.
How can Australia’s workforce make their work lunches more interesting? Get together and do TOH on a regular basis at work, bring music into it as well.
If we had a peek in your fridge at home, what would we find?
Mostly vegetables, fruit, a ridiculous amount of fresh coconuts, tofu and a small amount of meat. Everything I cook, is pure, simple and flavoursome.
Do you have any personal stories or experiences that demonstrate the value of cultural diversity?
Yes we conduct weekly outdoor pop up fine dining food and music experiences across Queensland so people can have this experience.
Carly Day founded The Ja Joint by Carly Day C.I.C asocial enterprise focusing on changing food poverty through cooking healthy food with my dinner kits.
With each kit order 1 kit gets donated to people experiencing poverty, teaching them how to cook resourceful and healthy food on a minimum budget.