My Kingston - Charles Mattocks

My Kingston - Charles Mattocks

Celebrity Chef, Filmmaker, Documentarian

Sunday, September 15, 2013

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Where would you recommend as points of interest for a first-time visitor to Kingston?

The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Island Grill, Emancipation Park and Tuff Gong studios.

What is the most memorable meal you've had in Kingston?

Curried goat from my grandmother, Miss Higgins.

What's your beverage of choice?

I stick to water with a little lime or lemon juice, because I'm diabetic.

Share the title of the last book you read.

I just put out a children's book called Diabetes and Healthy Eating, and I have a new cookbook coming out with the American Diabetes Association in the next couple of months. I also have another on the market called Eat Cheap But Eat Well. The last book that I actually read, though, was The Bible.

Is there any piece of music that you last listened to that moved you?

The Lumineers.

What cologne are you splashing?

Issey Miyake.

What was your last major splurge?

I just bought a 22-foot Great West RV. I am going on a cross-country tour from New York to California to spread the message about diabetes and healthy eating.

What prompted you to carve out a niche as The Poor Chef?

It came from growing up in a Caribbean household where my mother, grandmother and aunties were able to take very little and make a lot. In America and even in Jamaica, I hear people say it costs a lot to eat well, so The Poor Chef is showing that you can take a 'likkle bit' and make so much, so that's my concept - making beautiful meals on a budget.

Of all the appearances you've made on top-rated American TV shows, which was your favourite?

It would probably be The Today Show. It's a very professional set, so you have to know how to entertain the cameras and work with people I never thought I would. Joan Rivers was there once. I worked with Al Roker, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

Being a diabetic yourself, what was the importance of sharing your own diet?

I don't mean to go back and reflect, but I met my uncle Bob Marley twice before he passed and it made me realise I have some serious blood running in my veins. I wanted to change the world in my own way, so when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I realised it was my opportunity to share. I didn't want to hide; I wanted to educate people.

Do you believe Jamaican culture promotes unhealthy eating habits?

I think it's changing. Jamaica has quite a few American fast food brands. We live in a country where all the fresh fruits and vegetables are here for us, so we should not be eating all the fried, processed foods and consuming so much soda.

Bring us up to speed about your reality show Reversed. What's it about?

It's the first diabetes reality show. It's The Biggest Loser for diabetics. It's about education and inspiration. Diabetes is a pandemic right now; in the Caribbean it's exploding. The show is about taking back your health. We expect to start shooting within the next three months and it's going to change the face of health and diabetes in Jamaica and the islands. It will be filmed in Jamaica. I started this movement called Sons of the Caribbean, so I am pulling on celebrities and people of stature to bring attention to diabetes. The contestants are from Jamaica as well as the Bahamas, Trinidad and Puerto Rico, because what we want to do is showcase the beautiful culture and island of Jamaica but we will syndicate to the other islands as well.

Share a few of your fave places in your black book.

I love the realness of Mumbai in India, particularly the people, culture and the streets. I like San Fernando in Trinidad because the people are humble and loving. New York City, of course, it's where I grew up, and Jamaica because of the different personalities.

What are five essential tips to healthy eating?

Number one would be staying away from sugar, even fruit - everything you get in a fruit, you can have in a vegetable. Stay away from the starch and carbs. Eat lean meat. Avoid fried foods and most importantly, portion control.

What is your philosophy?

Seek first the kingdom of God.


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