August has arrived and there is no doubt that it is a hot month in Belize, but that is not the kind of cooking we are talking about. I was lucky enough this week to be granted access to Myrtle’s kitchen.
Myrtle is the owner and cook at Jozzie’s. Jozzie’s is her restaurant serving up authentic soul food on the shores of the Southern Lagoon in Gales Point. If you miss this stop while in Belize you have missed a lot! We will be partnering with Jozzie’s to not only offer cooking classes, but Myrtle will be a guest chef at Wild Canes Bar & Grill on occasion. Wild Canes is the on-site restaurant at Leaning Palm Resort located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.
She is undeniably a great cook, but she has gardening mastered as well. There are flowers and plants and beautiful vistas, and a lot of the ingredients Myrtle uses in her cooking come right from her own garden. If not from her garden then from the jungle and her husband, Jay, is not unfamiliar with requests to fetch certain items from the jungle. With a wife that can cook like Myrtle he is happy to oblige. The second thing you will notice is her enthusiasm for her culture and its cuisine.
So some of you may be asking why she let someone like me into her kitchen. Even Myrtle was questioning her decision making skills, but when I showed up with my own cutting board and knife she breathed a sigh of relief. At least I would not be destroying her cooking utensils and now she had a dishwasher at her disposal.
Now back to the stewed chicken. The meat had been marinating in the spices and was now ready to enter the heat. Myrtle and her husband Jay have spent some time constructing Myrtle’s kitchen and it is fully equipped for handling all things requiring heat.
This includes pizza which Myrtle was whipping up in the background while she taught me how to add chlorine to the dishwater so I could continue washing the dishes.
We next sat down to a wonderful meal of coconut rice, stewed chicken, fried plantain, coleslaw (not sure when she made that) and a slice of pizza. The food was wonderful but in addition the setting was amazing making this well-kept secret of a restaurant more than magical.
No visit to Gales Point will be complete without a cooking class with Myrtle, but if limited on time at least a stop at her beautiful restaurant on the shores of the Southern Lagoon for some amazing authentic Belizean soul-food.