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“This is Our Belize: People, Food and Culture:” Belize Tourism Board introduces new culinary culture series

Posted: Wednesday, March 15, 2023. 10:27 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: White relleno, rice and beans, coconut tart and potato pound. Fisherman’s soup and lobster, sahau, bundiga, caldo, bollos, and ixpacha; dal roti and cohune cabbage.

Feeling hungry yet?

Then the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) hopes you will tune in to its new series “This is Our Belize: People, Food and Culture,” showcasing Belize’s melting pot of culture.

Host Chef Sean Kuylen leads a cultural tour of communities from Corozal to Toledo, Benque Viejo in the west to Caye Caulker in the east, telling the history of Belizean food and culture.

At today’s launch at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts, he animatedly detailed how the concept changed from showcasing cooking in a “stainless steel kitchen” to something closer to what he has been doing for years: “We wah you go da the villages dem, we wah send a cameraman with you. And all we want you to do is to showcase the people, the food, the culture…I said, ‘Let’s go, I can’t wait!’ First stop we gahn, P.G., look yah, we gahn and the next morning, early in the morning, I knocked on the door and told the cameraman, ‘Wake up, we gwen da market’ – before sun raise, you know. Still dark. The cameraman said, “But that’s not on the script!” I said, “Exactly. Because things like this you cannot script; you have to catch the people in their element.”

So whether it was watching village buses coming into Punta Gorda Town bringing Maya villagers and others in to sell; going on the sea off Caye Caulker to catch crabs; visiting San Joaquin, Corozal District for a taste of the Yucatec Maya culture; participating in a sambai dance in Gales Point, Belize District; or paying tribute at the graves of Drs Kevin and Kenneth Guerra, COVID victims, during Finados/Day of the Dead celebrations in Benque Viejo, every dish has a story, told by faces familiar and unfamiliar, including Herman “Chico” Ramos in Hopkins, Stann Creek.

Josue Carballo, Director of Industry Development for the BTB, told us that “As one of the newly formed sub-units within the Industry Development Department the Cultural and Community Outreach Desk was formed for these initiatives, for us to be able to work together to highlight the culture of Belize as an offering, as an offering nationally and internationally. This is part of BTB’s big imitative as well as support and help grow the emerging orange economy” – which covers culture from arts to music to food – developing talent in these areas.

New episodes premiered starting earlier tonight on the Tourism Board’s Facebook and YouTube pages and terrestrially on Channel 5, LOVE FM/TV and the National Channel (TNC10) among others.

 

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