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Celebrating 75 years of Caribbean food culture in the UK

Films | Published  22 June 2023

Healthy and sustainable plant-based foods are prevalent in cuisines across the world. We’re celebrating Windrush Day by highlighting the many ways in which the Caribbean community has positively impacted the UK food environment.

What is Windrush Day?

Windrush Day is a day of remembrance in which members of the British public celebrate the anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948. This date is now marked as the beginning of a wave of Caribbean immigration to the UK with an estimated half of million people making their way to the UK after World War Two. This wave of immigration would continue for decades, and the Windrush generation would go on to have a significant impact on British society.

How has the Windrush generation influenced UK food culture?

The Windrush Generation made significant contributions not only to the economy and culture of Britain but also to its culinary landscape. The generation influenced the popularity of Caribbean food in the UK, bringing over produce, spices, recipes and creating businesses, eateries and social hubs aimed at sharing and celebrating their food culture

Following traditional eating habits are essential in preserving cultural identity, especially, when these traditions can be lost when individuals and families migrate to foreign shores. Today, Caribbean fruits, vegetables and ingredients regularly appear in British cuisine and in recent years communities have even been using seeds from the islands to grow culturally appropriate crops in their gardens and in urban food growing spaces across the country.

“We recognise that food serves not only as nourishment but also as a vital aspect of cultural identity and community connection. By embracing and celebrating cultural diversity in our approach to nutrition and health, we empower individuals to make informed choices that honour their traditions while supporting their health.” - Amaeze Madukah RNutr PhD(c), Co-founder & director, The Diverse Nutrition Association

Staple ingredients that can be found in most Caribbean households include plantain, legumes, coconut, ackee, jackfruit, callaloo and when it comes to healthy and plant-based diets, there are countless nutritionally diverse Caribbean dishes that are good for both people and the planet. 


The recipe

To celebrate Windrush day, we partnered up with Sharon Gardner, a plant-based nutritionist and community chef over at Eating Better alliance member Made in Hackney’s community kitchen, to show us how to whip up a simple yet incredibly flavourful and healthy jerk lentil stew with baked plantain and rainbow slaw.

Full recipe can be found here.

More tasty plant-based dishes to try in celebration of Windrush day!

Ital curry stew

A hearty and warm rastafarian dish packed with a variety of vegetables, spices and coconut milk. This dish goes perfectly with rice and peas.

Colourful Caribbean-style vegan patties

Recipe by vegan activist, broadcaster, talented cook and Made In Hackney ambassador Jay Brave. Pattie shops have been powering Londoners for decades but now you can learn to make these tasty classic snacks yourself at home.

Trinadian doubles

A popular street food from Trinidad. Doubles are tasty, quick and affordable flatbreads (roti) filled with a chickpea chana.

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