Guests know well that meals at Hamanasi’s Singanga restaurant are just one of many pieces of the puzzle that make a visit unforgettable. What makes the food so great? We chatted with Eliza, one of our Chefs, and she revealed three of her secret ingredients.
1. The Beauty of a Mixed Heritage
Eliza’s cultural heritage has greatly influenced the way she approaches cooking. Her mom is Creole, her late father was Mexican, and her husband is Garifuna. As a result, Eliza has a knack for combining the best of all three traditions to create her own fusion food.
“Mexican food is colorful and spicy, and it is corn-based,” she explains. “Belizean dishes are rice-based. But then the Garifuna don’t necessarily eat rice or corn. They like ground starches like sweet potatoes, cassava and coco root.” Eliza likes to add a touch of one culture to the food from another tradition.
2. The Freedom to Create New Dishes
Three years working at Hamanasi has been a game changer for this blossoming chef. “I only have a 6th grade education, yet my Manager listens to my ideas and allows—no encourages—me to try new ideas. No-one can take this experience away from me!” declared Eliza. “Being a supervisor in the kitchen is by far my favorite role since I get to create my own dishes,” she added with a smile.
3. The Opportunity to Leave Less of a Footprint
As a member of Hamanasi’s Green Team, Eliza makes sure she and her team not only work compostable food back into their kitchen garden; they also harvest seed from fruits and vegetables and plant those. Just like creating new dishes requires a perfect combination of the right ingredients at the precise time with an impressive presentation, so Eliza’s diverse background combined with a great team and a meaningful role in promoting sustainability is one of Hamanasi’s magic touches.
More About Eliza
Eliza and Martin, a Hamanasi dive instructor, have 5 kids. Martin originally is from Hopkins and convinced Eliza to follow him back to his roots after the couple met in Corozal where both worked in the hotel industry. Eliza started at Hamanasi as a chef for staff, cooking all the meals for 120 employees. Before long she was transferred to the main kitchen where she moved from the cold station (salads and desserts) to the hot line and then finally became the morning supervisor.