One day at the deep of the Creole traditions
Each year, on the 10 of August, the ladies take over the power in Guadeloupe highlighting the rich culture and tradition of the islanders. Fans of food will mostly remember the delicious dishes, all those local specialties with flavors that will ignite your nostrils, awake you bud taste and open your appetite like no others.
The Cook feast is more than just that.
From Generation to generation, the cook ladies cultivate the spirit of the Tradition in a fraternal way, as a reminder of the essence of this movement. This association counts over 200 female chefs, from 14 to 97 years old who proudly show off their islander identity wearing their traditional costumes which are famous for their bright colors and delicately knotted hats that they wear with elegance and certainty.
For over a century, this tradition comes alive every year since the source of this popular movement on the 14 of July 1916.
Beginning of last century, a maid loses her husband and barely can find enough money to bury her lost husband. The word goes around and earing the story of this widow ‘s situation, 5 ladies decides to find a way to help her. They start to collect from one maid to another and soon, a new saying comes to town: the « Cuistot Mutuel » (mutuality chef). This became the first mutual funds organization in Guadeloupe. This guarantee to its members to have a decent burial upon their death. Since then, the Ladies’ cook carry on this tradition and offers their services at funerals.
The true watchdog of the tradition
Over the years, these ladies have built a strong association defending with pride the culinary tradition of the islands along with the traditional costumes and ceremonial rites in Guadeloupe. True watch dog of the Guadeloupean culture, this ladies wear with pride their handmade traditional costumes, easily noticeable by the hand stitched apron with the effigy of St Laurent, their saint.
Some would say you have to have a certain does of humor to use St Laurent as your patron saint.
Father Laurent de Rome was condemned to be burn live because he refused to give away to Rome the treasures of the church to feed the army of the empire. The legend says that his last words were:
« Here we go, miserable soul, now that you have grilled one side of me; turn it over then eat. »
…and there he becomes the Patron saint of the chefs, cook and the meat grillers!
La procession : time to share and joy for all
After the mass, the ladies Chefs meet at the entrance of the cathedral in their traditional colored costumes. Lining up to start the procession, the chefs carry various local dishes, baskets filled with local fruits and vegetables, kitchen utensils and other local delicacies. The president and her assistants announce the beginning of the festivities by shaking a serenade of bells and start the march. At each street corner, they announce their presence and give away the best meals along the procession. They will go all over cross town singing along the way at the rhythm of the Gwo Ka and sharing with the locals, including some amazing cakes and sweets!
Then, it is time to all meet for the outdoor food festival. The ladies Chef (Cordon Bleu) will make you taste their specialties and creativity of their unique artistic skills (there is a charge for lunch) One of the best gastronomic experience in the island! later on, music will take over and dancing through the night will be the ultimate finale.