If you have been following the Showman eBistro social media pages throughout the past year, you would be very familiar with D’Vanya @dvanyahinsey, Elly @eatwithelly and Anecia @_boonappletee. They have all been whipping up fun and creative dishes using the Showman eBistro meal kits, and have become a part of the Showman Family.
Over the past week, D’Vanya, Ely and Anecia have all been featured in a cooking series – The Showman Chef Series – where they were able to show off their skills in the kitchen.
Be sure to check out their pages and keep reading for a bit more about their personal culinary journey, in their own words….
First up, Meet Elly…
“I am a product of a Jamaican mother and a Bahamian father, which is the basis behind everything I do. I blend both cultures, and love fusion foods. I always try to find a way to infuse something new, vibrant and fun into whatever I create.
I developed a hard work ethic from both of my parents, and that has helped me to maneuver through my career as a physical therapist. And, while I’m always working to find ways that I can help others, cooking is my therapy. When I come home from work, I throw on some music, and I find joy in knowing that I’m going to prep my ingredients, sit down, relax, and have a meal that is comparable to if I went out to a restaurant.
I didn’t always have a passion and love for cooking. When I was a kid, we had a gas stove. I was about 8 or 9, and it was my turn to learn how to light the stove’s pilot. I hated matches, and hated fire. But, I eventually learned how to do it, and got a lot more comfortable in the kitchen. I then started to pick up more kitchen skills, learning how to make simple dishes by watching my grandmother.
I still remember when the Food Network first came on cable TV, and I started watching Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals, Giada, and Emeril, picking up little tips here and there. That really opened my eyes to a lot of diverse foods. Prior to that, it was either Jamaican foods or if my daddy cooked, it was Bahamian food. I didn’t grow up with pizzas. I didn’t grow up with burgers. I didn’t grow up with spaghetti and meatballs or things like that. And, I would always ask questions and want to try the foods that I saw on tv, from an early age.
I would say that my mom gave me the foundation to prepare a lot of the dishes that I make now. In my early years, I would learn basic dishes from her, and my mother’s curry was slappin! So, I pressed her to show me how to make curry chicken. She eventually taught me, and since then, I’ve taken that recipe, tweaked it, and elevated it to my liking throughout the years. Moving to Jamaica, having friends from Trinidad, having friends from Guyana,and friends from Barbados, I was able to add a little bit of each of their unique ways of preparing curry, into my own. And, I’ve used that same approach when cooking all of my dishes – those jerk flavor fusions often find their way into my food.
When I went off to university, I really had to fend for myself. I was a student, and didn’t have much money, so I couldn’t eat fast food or takeout that often. I had to buy ingredients in bulk, and prep them to eat everyday.
I didn’t want the foods that I created to be boring, so I started to look through the recipes that I found online, adding my own little touches. And, I realized that my roommates and my friends liked what I was making. Because of their reactions, I started to get a lot of joy from cooking and being able to make other people happy.
Since the pandemic started, I began sharing my dishes online. And, I was surprised by the positive response. It feels great to have that level of support, and people reaching out to say how much they enjoy the foods that I share. I’m honestly still not used to it – but I like it.
I always dabbled in taking photos of my food. If I go back in the camera rolls, there are images of the dishes I used to make back in the day, and I would always try to get an angle here and there, so I would take the plate outside for better lighting or to make it look better. And, since I started posting my meals online, I realized that people really enjoyed seeing what I was making and I had an eye for capturing food.
This entire time, I was just taking photos on my phone, but I would get lots of comments from people saying that they wanted to try what I was cooking, how it looked so delicious and that it was captivating.
There were a lot of long hours when I was in university. Many of my friends who also studied medicine, they would just go out and purchase food. But, I would take that extra hour or two, to cook, and just take my mind off of anything. So, when I got back to my books, I was able to go back with a clear head. Since the pandemic, cooking became a safe space for me, because we were all stuck in our houses. We couldn’t go anywhere, but I really wanted to feel like I didn’t have to go outside, or visit a restaurant to enjoy good food.
That’s how my online cooking journey started. I quickly realized that other people were having problems making recipes for themselves. So, I started sharing the process to maybe help others and give them ideas based on my own cooking experiences. And, I’ve been able to build a bit of an online community through food.
Outside of cooking, I play video games. I’m not going to lie, when I come home after a long day, I want to play my games. I play 2K, on my playstation….I can sit down for hours and do that. I also love working out, and I still love watching the Food Network. I can fall asleep to cooking shows.
Painting has also become a new interest of mine. And I like spending time with Zoey, my dog. She’s a schitzue and poodle mix, and takes up a lot of my time and attention…. She’s the boss.”