By NAN Lifestyle Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 13, 2022: A Caribbean restaurant headed by a Caribbean chef has made it on the New York Times’ ‘50 places in America we’re most excited about right now.’
Canje in Austin, Texas, opened last October by Guyanese-born chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph, made an ode to his roots with a menu that stretches across the Caribbean. The menu includes dishes like plantain chips, curry wagyu beef; wild boar pepper pot; tilefish soaked in tamarind and rum butter; prawns brushed with green seasoning and smoked chiles; jerk chicken; roti and a tres leches cake drenched in coconut milk.
Chef Tavel made a name for himself in Austin with the pastries at Emmer & Rye and Hestia, which he co-owns. “To me, Caribbean food represents a combination of different cultures: Indian, Portuguese, African, French… It is such a ‘cookup,’“ said Bristol-Joseph, who was named a Best New Chef in 2020 by Food & Wine as well as one of Tribeza’s People of the Year (alongside the restaurants’ co-owner Kevin Fink), in a press release announcing the plans to open Canje. “Since moving to Austin, I have been craving this food, and it is exciting for me to have the opportunity to share my version of it. My grandmother is going to be proud.”
Named after the Canje pheasant, national bird of Guyana, Canje pulls inspiration not just from mainland Guyana, but also from Jamaica to Puerto Rico, and all the islands in between.
Owned by Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group, Canje joins its sister restaurants in sourcing local produce and protein as much as possible, supporting local farms and drawing inspiration from the local growing seasons.
“Growing up, my grandparents had seven kids and two grandkids in a two-bedroom house,” Bristol-Joseph told Tribeza in 2019. “Food was scarce at times, so when you had it, you cherished it. I became a chef so that I could give, because I understand what it’s like to be without.”