Our ambassador chef Carly Day, owner of Jamaican restaurant The Ja Joint, recently took a DNA test to learn more about her cultural background. We caught up with Carly to find out what she discovered from the test!
Before taking her DNA test, Carly knew a little bit about her cultural heritage but was keen to learn more.
“I knew my roots were a mixture of English, Irish and Caribbean. The extent of these roots however was unknown to me, so I was interested in learning more about my background,” said Carly.
Carly’s Dad was the most influential for her in learning about her cultural heritage growing up.
“As a kid he made me traditional Jamaican recipes and introduced me to Jamaican music from a very young age,”
“I remember he made me watch ‘Roots’ the movie to teach me the history of black slavery and what African slaves endured. This had a profound effect on me, and to this day I can still remember the experience and emotions of watching the film as if it was yesterday,” she said.
After doing her DNA test, Carly was surprised by how diverse her African roots were.
“I was surprised by the breakdown of the African roots that included Togo, Ivory Coast, Mali and Cameroon.”
Carly also discovered her DNA showed links to a number of other countries she didn’t expect.
“I didn’t anticipate all the Northern European influence from Norway, Sweden and Germanic Europe. That was pretty interesting to learn more about where my ancestors were from,” Carly said.
After learning more about her cultural background through her DNA, Carly is very interested in researching and looking more into her ancestors and heritage.
“I have been online a few times to dig deeper. What was really awesome was to see the history stemming back to thousands of years ago. I found the whole experience enlightening and quite emotional.”
If Carly was attending an A Taste of Harmony event she’d bring a traditional dish from her Jamaican heritage.
“I would say brown stew chicken stew. It’s a classic tribal dish, cooked in one pan on a stove and contains the classic aromatic herbs and spices and bones of the chicken, so the dish is full of real flavour!”
Carly Day is founder and head chef of Jamaican restaurant, The Ja Joint in Brisbane.