Haitian-born Chef Alain Lemaire schools the Legendary rap Artist Ludacris

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Haitian-born Chef Alain Lemaire schools the Legendary rap Artist Ludacris on the fundamentals of Haitian cuisine.

Image: Chef Alain Lemaire

The hip-hop icon, actor and restaurateur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges continues his mission to master flavors and cooking techniques from around the world, one cuisine at a time, in the three-episode return of discovery+ series Luda Can’t Cook. The series is executive produced by record-breaking producer Will Packer and Bridges.  

Image: Ludacris on set, Courtesy of Discovery+

“I put 100% into everything I do, including learning how to cook, and exploring different cuisines from across the globe with world-renowned chefs has been incredible,” said Ludacris. “I’m excited for viewers to experience Haitian, Korean and Cuban food with me – and see how I put my own style into each dish.”

The upcoming episodes, premiers Tuesday, February 15th on discovery+. To kick off his culinary journey, Ludacris visits Little Haiti in Miami, Florida with food on his mind. Fascinated by the resilience of the Haitian community, he meets with Haitian-born Chef Alain Lemaire to learn the basic foundations of the cuisine. Luda learns about traditional Haitian flavors and gets hands-on with chicken before learning to make some of the region’s essential marinades and dishes. Luda’s lesson culminates in a Haitian-style block party, where he compiles a three-course tasting menu for the chefs who trained him, as well as accomplished chef and Haitian food expert Chef Gregory Gourdet. 

“When they asked me to be the leading chef, I was surprised. The network interviewed various qualified chefs and knowing I was chosen out of everyone was gratifying. It is a testament to the work I’ve been doing and the knowledge I’ve been amassing,” says Chef Lemaire, in an interview with TANTV.  

In exploring the fundamentals of this international cuisine, Chef Lemaire says Haitian cuisine is so different with similarities to the Caribbean. It encompasses a blend of spices and techniques amassed through the years especially from being colonized. Haiti became the first black republic to declare its independence in 1804. 

The strong French and African influences in the Haitian cuisine offer an interesting mix of flavors and culinary arts. The food is quite exotic and nutritious. Most garden farmers agree that the soil determines the taste of the meal. According to chef Lemaire “the soil in Haiti makes things taste so different than when Haitians make food here. The soil has different types of flavor effects on the traditional Haitian food.” The flavors are of a ‘bold in your face’ and spicy nature that demonstrate the rich amalgamation of flavors in Haitian cuisine which speaks to our country’s turbulent history. Chef Lemaire says Haitians cooking techniques involve slow cooking, open-fire grilling amongst others. 

On the show, “I share with Ludacris about some of our ancestral techniques and explain the characteristics of the techniques we cook the food, why we use the spices we use and the cooking methods we apply to understand why our food is made a certain way,” says Chef Lemaire.

Chef Lemaire with Ludacris on set.

“I was so excited when I heard they are highlighting our cuisine because we don’t easily get this kind of representation, “ said Chef Lemaire. “ My buddy, Food Network’s Top Chef star, Chef Gregory Gourdet cooked an Haitian cuisine as one of his challenges on Top Chef. However,  to see a show like Luda Can’t Cook dedicate an entire episode to highlight our Haitian cuisine and culture is something never before done and I’m super excited about this level of cultural representation in America’s mainstream media.”  

Watch Chef Lemaire on Luda Can’t Cook, premiering Tuesday, February 15th on discovery+. 

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