Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2013 Contents A33
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In the early 1970s Cynthia Hurd,
from Quebec, migrated to the frozen
Northwest Territories of Canada. At
Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island---part
of the Canadian province later
renamed Nunavut and given back
to the First Nations people---she
became a social worker at a resi-
dential school for Inuit children.
The educational community devel-
opment programme was intended by
the Canadian government as a way
of giving something back to the
indigenous population, who had been
forced into reservations and horribly
Though well intentioned, it was
an ill-conceived project, and it back-
fired in many ways.
But for Hurd, it was a valuable
life experience and two things
about it helped shape her life, fam-
ily and career.
She met her future husband there---
Allan Clovis, a Trinidadian who had
ventured to the northern hemisphere
to work on the same project.
They married and established Kari-
wak together---the hotel they have
owned and run in a hands-on way
in Tobago for the past 31 years.
The other life-changer for Cynthia
Clovis was her discovery of the
importance of fresh food.
The long harsh Arctic winters---
snowed in for three months, unable
to leave the confines of the small
community---meant the food that
teachers, pupils and nurses ate came
mostly from tins.
"Nothing was fresh, nothing grows
there, everything was tinned or
frozen," said Clovis, sitting under the
shade of a thatched roof in the dining
room of her restaurant at Kariwak.
"There were no fresh vegetables
or herbs, anything like that. Every-
thing had to be brought in before the
ice, so you would make your grocery
list for three months.
"It was really unhealthy for the
Inuit children. Coming from small
settlements where there would be an
abundance of freshly-caught fish such
as Arctic char or other fresh game to
eat when they were hungry, they were
now in these schools where all they
had easy access to for snacking was
potato chips and sweets. They would
go home with tooth decay, something
they d never had before."
For a Canadian, the idea of not
eating fresh, seasonal food was tough
to take, and the four years on Baffin
Island stayed with her.
Later, when she began designing
and cooking the Kariwak menu, the
grounding philosophy was that the
food would be fresh and locally pro-
duced wherever possible.
Cynthia and Allan moved back to
Trinidad in 1976, but it was not the
same island he had left in the late
60s. It had become industrialised and
Tobago, meanwhile, was still how
he remembered it.
They craved its peace, and moved
there in 1978 with their two young
daughters to build the hotel and
restaurant they had dreamed of.
When the hotel finally opened in
1982 Clovis had no plans to be in the
kitchen, and hired a chef from
Trinidad, then one from Martinique---
but quickly realised they didn t share
her foodie vision.
"None of them were excited about
fresh vegetables or doing everything
from scratch. They relied too much
on creams and sauces and taking
She decided she could do it better
"Not having any idea (what I was
doing), I m a social worker by pro-
fession. But I decided I would take
realised I didn't know
anything. I was trying
to eat plantain raw,
my hands and eyes
were stinging from
trying to make pepper
sauce. And when they
realised I was
interested and curious
they'd say, 'Well,
tomorrow I'm doing
pelau, tomorrow I'm
doing saltfish, making
bake.' And I learned a
lot from them."
Continues on Page A34
Many parents are familiar with the trick of
sneaking vegetables and other healthy stuff
into their children's food. It turns out, White
House chefs were doing something similar
for notorious junk-food lover Bill Clinton
when they were whipping up his grub.
This was revealed in a recent Facebook
post by Marty Mongiello, the former
executive chef at Camp David. He had
posted on the wall of Dean Ornish, the
famed diet guru who worked with White
House chefs during the Clinton
administration to health-ify their traditionally
buttery, calorie-laden French fare. In the post,
he described the subterfuge involved in
making the president's meals: "I figured it
best not to tell him about it.
According to Mongiello, he was cooking
for the Clintons at Camp David after the
edict had come down to lighten up the
Word from the waiters serving the dinner
was that the then-first lady was unhappy
with the meal's entree, a luscious fettuccine
Confident but still worried, he appeared in
the dining room, where Hillary asked him
why he was serving such a high-fat dish
when such things were now taboo.
How Bill Clinton got tricked by White House kitchen
Cynthia Clovis and her
husband Allan have been
running the Kariwak
Clovis' Cooking Kariwak Style a treasure trove...
FEELING A GOOD FOOD VIBE
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