Chef Irie in the kitchen


EDITOR’S NOTE: Culinary master Chef Irie will be the featured chef at ‘Spice It Up Miami” on April 29, where he will host a live cooking demonstration showing attendees how to season and prepare delicious meals. His demo will go beyond just teaching attendees how to prepare delicious bites, but also give aspiring chefs the tools needed to create the dishes at home. In the meantime, here are some of his tips on how to cook healthy, delicious meals as well as a delicious bonus recipe to help you get started.


Invest in a spice grinder, a good one if you can. Invest in airtight re-sealable glass containers. Buy whole spices when you can, preferably in small amounts especially if you don’t cook a lot. Store spices in cool areas of your pantry away from direct light. Bought prepared spices? I think after 6 -9 months, definitely after a year you should replace them. Now get to work grinding and combining spices as you need them.

When buying prepared spices, especially complete seasonings, be mindful. Salt is a big factor in unhealthy eating so any way you can reduce your sodium intake that’s always good. Always read the labels to see what percent of salt is in the seasoning. If it’s in the first three ingredients listed then that seasoning has a lot of salt. Try using seasonings with less salt or no salt.

Try using more fresh herbs that bring a brightness to the taste of your prepared dish.

Try using more olive or coconut oils. They are plant-based, making them more natural and healthy.

Eat less flour and white rice and eat more orange vegetables that are loaded with beta carotene (i.e. sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, etc.)

Try baking, roasting and steaming instead of frying an ingredient whenever possible. Lessen your caloric intake and unnecessary saturated fats.

Eat smaller meals and more often during the day to boost your metabolism.

Get daily exercise, it really helps with your heart rate.

Eat more leafy greens and more seafood.

With everything have it in moderation but eat it with love.

Have a great #Foodonfiyah experience today.

Bonus Recipe



4 cps Water
4 cps Fresh sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1” pieces
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 cp Jim Dandy, regular grits
¾ cp Coconut milk
3 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 ¼ cp Shredded Gouda, reserve ½ cup in cooler
Salt & pepper to taste


1cp Jack Daniels
1/3 cp Light brown sugar
4 Tb Butter, cold
1/3 cp Walnuts, rough chopped


Add sweet potato to water in a medium sauce pot and bring to boil on medium heat. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the sweet potato in the pot.

Return to heat and allow liquid to come to a boil again. Add cinnamon, Nutmeg and salt and stir to combine. While stirring with a wooden spoon or whisk, slowly add the grits in a steady stream. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the coconut milk and Sriracha sauce, stir well.

Cook for another 5 minutes then add the Gouda cheese. Stir well and cook for two minutes. Check for seasoning. Serve hot.

Add Jack Daniels to a small sauce pot with sugar, give a quick stir then place on medium low heat. Let reduce by 1/3 then add the walnuts. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter to liquid and whisk until melted and sauce thickens up some.

To serve, place 2 or 3 serving spoons of grits in a bowl then some of the walnut sauce, add a small amount of the shredded cheese on top. Note: For a healthier sauce option, use some tapioca starch to thicken the Jack Daniels and use maple syrup instead of brown sugar and remove the butter option.

Spice It Up! Miami includes all the essential elements for a memorable night designed to showcase the local and international flavors of food, dance and music that is Miami. Guests will be able to buy artwork, cook books, spices and other items at the Spice It Up! Miami gift shop.

Other fun elements of the night include mixology techniques for the art of a perfect homemade tropical cocktail; and learning the latest hip dance moves of meringue, salsa, compas and soca where attendees can work off the delicious meal they learned to prepare.