How Stella Thomas got her groove

Stella Antiguan Cuisine uses flavour to take her customers on a little trip.

Stella's Antiguan Cuisine
Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market
1209 Marginal Road

It's been about 20 years since Stella Thomas introduced a lot of Haligonians to the flavours of the West Indies at Starlite Cuisine, a bright and cozy cafe that was tucked onto Cornwallis Street for just over a decade. After taking some time off to care for her mother, Thomas returned to the restaurant world in 2010 with Stella's Antiguan Cuisine at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market.

"From a young age, I enjoyed cooking and would often be in the kitchen helping my mother prepare meals to feed a family of 10," Thomas says. "Cooking has always been a passion of mine and a form of relaxation. I love cooking for family and my many customers at the Seaport Market. When customers eat my food, they can expect food cooked with love and care."

They should also expect bold flavours. "I want my customers to feel like they've taken a little trip to Antigua as they delve into my dishes."

At her market stall you'll find all sorts of rich, flavourful meals: Jerk chicken, curried goat, samosas, fritters and patties.

"Antiguan food is melting pot of Caribbean flavours full of boldness," she says. "Because of its history as a strategic hub during the colonial and post-colonial times, Antiguan cuisine has developed its own unique style with influences from England, Jamaica, Trinidad and other islands. The savoury cuisine varies from spicy to mild, so there is always something for everyone."

In case you're looking for a recommendation, Thomas's favourite dish to cook is stewed oxtail. "It starts out as such a tough cut of meat, but through braising for many hours the oxtail comes out extremely tender and flavourful. It's a must try!" she says. "My other favourite thing to make would be the rum cakes.  I make them by special order around Christmas time and I use Cavalier rum from Antigua."

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