She keeps outdoing herself and coming up with new and fantastic dishes which have now placed Elvi’s Kitchen on top, as one of the leading restaurants in the country. Chef Jennie Staines, daughter of Ms. Elvi Staines, has also cemented her position as one of the top chefs in the country and is well known for her cooking skills and creativity with seafood and local Latin American ingredients.
Jennie received training regionally and in the USA concentrating on Maya cooking. Growing up watching her mother cooking recipes that were handed down to her, Jennie has managed to fuse modern techniques with traditional cooking styles and flavors into innovative and flavorful dishes.
“I truly treasure those recipes and honor the old ways of cooking in Belize,” commented Chef Jennie Staines.
With her expert cooking skills and knowledge of those authentic cooking traditions that she calls ‘Eclectic Maya”, Jennie has become sort of a genius in preparing local Maya/Mestizo/Latin American food. She cooks with traditional local spices and ventures away from conventional meats to include lots of seafood such as lobster, shrimp and conch in her dishes. She cooks with what life has granted her in her home island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and she does it well, very well.
If you take a closer look while dining at Elvi’s Kitchen, you will see that there is a second menu of option. These are Chef Jennie’s newest creations, special recipes that she has taken time to perfect and share with her customers. These range from fantastic appetizers (empanadas, fritters, ceviche, bruschetta) tacos, pasta and guacamole.
Get your taco fix with eight different choices that include the sweet and spicy Mango Chipotle BBQ tacos topped with mango relish, Mayan Tacos with adobo sauce, Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with savory butter-grilled shrimp, Crispy Fish Tacos seasoned with Mayan spices and topped with Chef Jennie’s kickin’ habanero tartar sauce and Pulled Pork Pibil Tacos.
My favorite was the Belizean Tacos that includes fish or chicken grilled with a spice rub and served on (get this) a Fry Jack and topped with a basil mayo slaw; Totally Belizean!! Jennie also has created delicious Fry Jack Tostadas – crispy golden brown jacks topped with homemade refried black beans, scrambled eggs, fresh shredded romaine lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream and salsa! It is like having breakfast and lunch in one; oh yeah “Brunch”! All items in Chef Jennie’s Creations menu are served from 11a.m to 10p.m. daily, so if you want to deviate from the regular menu there are even more delicious appetizers and dishes to choose from.
Chef Jennie has whipped up a delicious habanero tartar sauce which she also bottles for her restaurant; if available at the time you are dining at the restaurant you can surely purchase one to take home. But you have to try the Conch Fritters (when in season) which go superbly with Jennie’s tartar sauce.
Do you love ceviche? Chef Jennie has a mean Wasaviche that is twist to the conventional ceviche served all over the island. It includes seafood in key limes, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro and untraditional ingredients like fresh ginger, soy sauce and of course, wasabi.
Make sure you also try the Pineapple Manganero Wings – these are smothered in Chef Jennie’s homemade habanero pineapple-mango sauce, the Empanadas – turnovers made from seasoned masa filled with savory fish and her fresh Basil and Parmesan cheese infused pasta topped with homemade marinara sauce.
This is definitely all too much to consume in one day; so it means that you need to make multiple visits to Elvi’s Kitchen to try them all. It took my staff two days to sample all of these, so we can vouch for the deliciousness of them all!
Elvi’s Kitchen has a secret weapon which is not so much of a secret, because there is no way in hiding the talent of Chef Jennie Staines. Her culinary masterpieces are there for everybody to enjoy. The only secrets are the recipes and the creativity she keeps with her to combine old and new to create very special dishes. No wonder Elvi’s Kitchen uses the slogan ‘Where Something Good is Always Cooking”. There is no doubt about that!
Can’t Get Enough – Try These Special Dishes