Haitian Embassy Cooking Series, Manje Lakay

The Seventh Class – Spring Edition

Spring is here and the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, D.C. is taking advantage! For its 7th Class of the Manje Lakay Cooking Series, the party moved outside to the Embassy’s Garden, which was inaugurated last year. The beautifully decorated patio area, the spring breeze and the cherry blossoms were the perfect backdrop for the dining experience on Saturday, March 25th.

The Manje Lakay Cooking Series offers members of the Diplomatic Corps, Haitians, Haitian-Americans or anyone lucky enough to snag a coveted spot in the class, an opportunity to learn how to make a traditional dish or something new with a twist! “Good food is our common denominator,” said Paul Altidor, Ambassador of Haiti to the U.S. “These gatherings serve as a vehicle to bring the local community together and a chance to share a delicious meal with friends, old and new.”

Award winning, Haitian Chef, Alain Lemaire, had a special treat for the participants of the Embassy’s 7th Cooking Class. Upon arrival, the students put on their bright blue, custom-made aprons offered by the Embassy and immediately started making a refreshing cocktail. The Summer Spritz was a mixture of Elderflower liquor, lemon splash and sparkling wine. The glasses were garnished with purple sorrel.

Each cooking class is slightly different and the menus are curated by the Haitian chef of the day. With cocktails in hand, Chef Lemaire led the class in making the appetizer of the day, Chilled Shrimp Salad, which included cucumbers, tomatoes, and of course, Ti Malice sauce. For some of our students, the Ti Malice sauce was something new; however, in many Haitian kitchens, it is a staple.

Among the fortunate few to have gained access to this class was Regine Lotlikar, a D.C. attorney. Mrs. Lotlikar attended with her husband and her cousin Francia Pressard, a resident of Chicago, who was visiting friends and family for the weekend.

Raigon Wilson, a Howard University student also attended the class with her mother, who was visiting from Georgia. They both enjoyed their time learning about Haitian food and culture. Raigon even made a few new connections including meeting Dr. Martine Elie, PhD, a professor at Howard, who was also taking the class. The appetizer was followed by the main entrée, a Seared, Coffee-rubbed Pork with Riz National (National Rice) and sautéed spinach.

No meal is complete without dessert, and Chef Lemaire did not disappoint with a Haitian twist on an American classic. For dessert the students or, as the Embassy likes to refer to them, Sous Chefs finished the lesson by making a Haitian Banana Split! It included fried sweet plantains, spiced Rhum, macerated fruits, and was topped with a French vanilla ice cream.

The meal was delectable. A special thanks to Chef Alain Lemaire for this journey in Haitian gastronomy. A great time was had by all in attendance. See all of the pictures from the cooking class below.

We hope you will join us for our next class. Please note, the spots fill up fast, so be sure to sign up by sending us an email at amb.washington@diplomatie.ht and visiting our website or social media pages for updated information.

Until next time… Bon Appétit!

Award winning Chef Alain Lemaire
Photography: Francia Pressard and Embassy of Haiti
Flower and table arrangement: Nellie Goen