I am a caterer, personal chef, food writer, and cookbook author — living and working in Los Angeles, California.
The story of the food I prepare is the story of my journey through life. I was born and raised in Costa Rica to second generation Jamaican parents, and I grew up surrounded by my Jamaican grandparents.
I had a very special relationship with my Granny, and she taught me to cook. As she lovingly shared her cooking techniques with me, I sought to replicate not only her techniques but also her values and those of our family.
Early in life I learned the value of hard work and discipline. And I learned that these two powerful principles cannot and should not be compromised.
Coming to America as a young adult, armed with my Caribbean Flava and eager to learn more about food and food preparation — it was my good fortune to land in Brooklyn, New York where aromatic foods permeated the air and Reggae music pulsated throughout the avenues. Infusing those scents and sounds into my food, I embraced that place as my second home.
When I moved to Los Angeles, California a few years later, I was introduced to the wonderful flavors of Cajun/Creole cooking. Always excited by food, I began experimenting and fusing the flavors Caribbean cuisine with some of the techniques and methods used in Creole cuisine. Out of those experiments, I created what I call Flavacooks, a Caribbean/Creole Concept.
Now, twenty six years later — after countless plated dinners, a multitude of clients, hundreds of weddings, dinner parties, family reunions, birthday parties, movie shoots, and commercials, a handful of restaurants, and every celebration in between — I have many stories to tell. More importantly, I have the desire to share my culinary journey with you, the reader.
Early in 2012 I released my first cookbook, <i>Chef Marlene is Cooking with Flava: A Caribbean/Creole Concept.</i> It’s available as an ebook at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I’m pleased to say it made Amazon’s best seller lists in Caribbean cookbooks as well as Creole cookbooks.
I invite you to stay tuned for the release of my second cookbook in 2013.