Jasmine Goes Stush in The Bush

Thursday, November 30, 2017

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Where to take Junior Master Chef Jasmine Stewart and her family on a recent visit to Jamaica was a no-brainer for Thursday Food. The Stewarts (mother Deborah, father Steven and brother Justin) had a single free day prior to heading back to Atlanta for Thanksgiving celebrations, and Stush in the Bush in St Ann allowed a scenic drive from Kingston and enough treacherous terrain to tug at the heartstrings. Nothing, however, prepared the family for the unique experience of a day in the company of Lisa and Chris Binns, the owners.

The weeks of torrential rain forced us to abandon our vehicle and pack into Chris Binns' trusty Amarok. The culinary adventure had begun. Our names written in chalk on a blackboard alongside our bespoke menu elicited smiles from the first timers. The ample menu offerings made us even more famished, but with the perfect hostess Lisa, the Stush one, all set to receive us we were soon sipping on Seville orangeade or lemongrass iced tea and munching on yam and pineapple croquettes and plantain chips with plantain ceviche. There was, too, the smashed guacamole which ought to be bottled for export!

Hunger satiated, Chris, the bush man, walked us through the property where the Stewarts were not just able to see from where their meal came, but how it's grown, the advantages of our soil, and how fortunate our hosts are to be able to literally grocery-shop in their own backyard! They had lots more to say...


From Jasmine

My experience at Stush in the Bush was truly amazing! All the dishes were vegan, and the flavours of every dish were so unique that I did not miss any meat. The attention to detail of each dish was so perfect, and flawless! Every dish was phenomenal, but I have to say my favourite dish was the avocado lime sorbet! This dish was a light, and fresh palate cleanser. It was tart, creamy, and well-plated. I also really enjoyed the vegan pizza! It had a ton of different flavours that married together to make the perfect bite. The crunchy crust of the pizza, mixed with the fried plantains, and cashew sauce drizzled on top was really tasty. I kept coming back for another slice! I really loved the farm-to-table concept that was used! I have personally tried to do the same thing at my house; I have my own garden and try to use the freshest ingredients I can. But sometimes it doesn't work out, so it was very cool to see a place where the chefs make sure that EVERYTHING is as fresh as possible! Overall, I'm glad that I was able to have this experience, and I left super-inspired to use bright and bold flavours. If you can grow something yourself, do that; your meal will be super-fresh and taste better.


From Deborah

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Stush in the Bush. My husband has long been a vegetarian and so I was very excited to try the cuisine. I have to say that I was most pleased with the food and the hospitality of the owners, Chris and Lisa. By the end of the day, I realised that I did not even miss having meat throughout the many courses we were treated with. From the wonderful appetisers that included fried plantains, a divine pepper sauce and some of the best guacamole I've ever had, to the wonderful entrees and dessert, my palate was overwhelmed with such flavourful food. My favourites included the pumpkin bisque and the vegetarian pizza. I also thoroughly enjoyed the avocado and lime sorbet and fresh, homemade rosemary bread. This fantastic meal concluded with a most delicious cake and some of the best beignets I have ever had. I also truly appreciated the warm and friendly discussions shared at the table; it was as if we were among long-time family members.


From Justin

Our trip to Stush in the Bush was an amazing experience I will not soon forget. Not only was I blown away by the hospitality of the owners, Lisa and Chris, but I also found the creativity and deliciousness of the food prepared to be astounding. I was taken aback by the entire concept of fresh, locally grown, all-vegan cuisine, and I found myself, a meat lover, not even missing the meat. It was extremely evident to me that Lisa and Chris not only love what they do, but they love each other. The food was absolutely incredible, and unlike anything I've ever seen before. The thought that was put into the food was evident in the unique dishes and the vibrant, exquisite flavours. The presentation of the meal was equally amazing, with lively colours and beautiful plating. The entire experience was wonderful, especially the farm tour. The farm was truly unique, and Chris made the tour 10 times more exciting as he demonstrated his knowledge of the “bush” as well as his general friendliness. Overall, the visit was an experience of a lifetime, and I truly hope I will be able to return soon.


From Steven –

I am still buzzing with excitement from our most memorable visit to Stush in the Bush. I was most impressed with the creativity and varied flavours of the delicious fare. I was already intrigued by a vegan concept, but Lisa and Chris took it a step farther with the “farm to table” idea, which made for fresh, tasty foods; with vibrant, vivid colours, fragrant aromas, and other-worldly tastes. The wide variety of foods presented in such creative ways was not only very tasty, but also very exciting. The idea of elevating the ordinary yellow yam to a refined croquette with pineapple was a masterstroke. Turning the idea of a sweet cheesecake into a savoury hors d'oeuvre was another very clever rendering. Using locally sourced ingredients was another recurring theme. But using local watermelon served on Himalayan salt slabs was yet another brilliant variation on the theme.

I felt particularly privileged to accompany Chris to the garden, eating freshly harvested sugar cane, tangerine, arugula lettuce, okra, and watermelon radish along the way. I found Chris's discussion about the medicinal uses of the various plants and herbs very enlightening.

Of course, to top the whole experience off was the very interesting anecdotes and conversation from Cecile Levee, Novia McDonald-Whyte, Kaci Fennell, Pauline Edie, Josina Jackson and Natalie Chin. In short: I had the time of my life!

Thanks to Novia McDonald-Whyte for thinking so much of our family to arrange this singular, most excellent experience for us.


Thursday Food shares an exclusive peek at our day at Stush in the Bush.




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