Discover Haiti’s Entrepreneurs & Businesses:
Chef Stephan Durand, owner of Port-au-Prince-based Culinary by Design
Chef Stephan Durand shares Haitian culture one bite at a time.
“I try to share my culture and my experience through cooking,” said Chef Stephan, who has won several awards for his Haitian paella. “I share my passion for Haiti and my love for Haiti through my food.”
He started his business after he returned to Haiti in December 2009 after major surgery. His friends suggested that returning home would be best for his health. His business, Culinary by Design, does food-related training and education in Haiti, as well as caters for private events. “I’ve been called to do private events for the Prime Minister and I work closely with the Minister of Tourism to represent Haiti at different events.”
Chef Stephan was born in Port-au-Prince and grew up in Jacmel. He went to Miami after high school, where he earned a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts. From there he served as a civilian chef for the United States Air Force in several states and opened a restaurant with partners in the entertainment business.
Once he returned to Haiti he organized what he said is the country’s first food and wine festival as a way to showcase the food he loves.
For anyone interested in whipping up Haitian dishes, he advises having these key ingredients on hand: fresh thyme, garlic, green peppers, piment bouc (which are piman bouk in Haitian Creole and similar to habanera peppers), parsley, onions and, of course, red beans and rice.
For an authentic Haitian flavor, he also recommends using djon djon, a black mushroom that is dried and used to flavor rice and other dishes.
A popular, traditional dish is the pumpkin soup served January 1, Haiti’s Independence Day. Using the giromond, also known as the calabasa pumpkin, the soup is eaten “to celebrate the freedom of the slaves in Haiti. The colonists didn’t allow them to use that product so on January 1st, everybody eats it.”
“Food has to be an experience in your mouth and an experience in culture,” Chef Stephan said. “Gastronomy is a great way to sell a country and tell the world who you are. This is what people remember. When you visit a country, you remember what you ate and that stays with you more than anything else you experienced. As a chef, that’s how I tell my story and that’s how I showcase Haiti.”
Chef Stephan, along with Chef Valery Abraham will come to the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, D.C. May 19 to serve authentic Haitian cuisine in celebration of Flag Day. Celebrity Chef José Andrés will introduce his signature Haitian cocktail. Click here for more information on the Embassy’s Flag Day festivities.
Discover Haiti’s Entrepreneurs and Businesses, a feature developed by the Embassy of Haiti, introduces readers to the many talents that Haiti offers. The Embassy will regularly highlight Haiti’s entrepreneurs and businesses. Inclusion in this feature does not imply an endorsement of the person, business or service. If you would like to nominate a Haitian entrepreneur for this feature, please submit their name and bio along with your contact information using the comment section of our website feedback form. Thank you for your continued support.