Eating Negril

I’ve been posting all week from a live project I’m working in the mountains above Negril Jamaica.  I’ve mentioned in many of the posts, that I have been traveling to this spectacular place for over 40 years. I’m often asked what makes a place so special aside from the very deep and personal life experiences which we each associated with a favorite destination.  Put aside these personal experiences, Negril and the entire island of Jamaica elicits numerous thoughts which when I return, I apply to life back home here. Here’s my takeaway from the week along with a link to an article I wrote a few years ago, which after I re-read is very current in its information and suggestions for travel there.
Jamaica’s mantra is, Out of Many, One People. This is a very accurate statement, as the more time I spend there, the more it rings true.  I feel as if they have really perfected the art of welcoming people of all classes, races, culture, and color.  Although Jamaica is not without its struggles and internal corruption, it is a nation where most live peacefully and co-exist as a nation. All of this made me particularly sad, after returning here to the USA and seeing what is taking place at our borders this week. I feel especially ashamed and can’t help but wonder what happened to our nation.
As a chef and food professional, I continually applaud the use of entirely local, seasonal ingredients. I know that everything I ate the entire week came from within miles if not yards from where I was staying and the places I visited.  although I was disappointed that Ackee wasn’t in season, I ate the hell out of mangoes, soursop, and creamy frog bananas. Everything that chefs are trying to accomplish in this country with farm to table movements, they are doing across Jamaica and have been forever because that’s all they know. the ingredients simply taste better. 
I see living proof that a more plant forward diet and lifestyle is, in fact, healthier for people. It is one of the few destinations I spend time in and do not gain any weight, never feeling full or bloated.
There is much love and warmth on this island and most everywhere I went, people were welcoming, warm and wanting to make you happy. They have a way of slowing down our typical work beat, stress level, and tension and it felt really good. At the end of the week, I actually felt relaxed even though I was working.  My chronic back problems felt better. I noticed the difference by the third day and it gave me pause and caused a good deal of self-reflection on life, the people we love,  and it made me realize that some of the stuff we worry incessantly about here is really of little importance. I just wanted to share this with you. Enjoy the article and for those who asked for recommendations for Negril they are all in this piece but feel free to reach out if you need more information.