Friday, 17 October 2014

Foodie Friday: Win the Ultimate Date Night!

This week for foodie Friday we are introducing you to a competition that one of our Foodie Friday contributors Chef Simeon Hall has 'Cooked up". The Ultimate date night as he is calling it is sure to bring romance back into your relationship! Not only to you win a superb private dinner for two, but they are getting you styled to perfection by "Kedar In Style" and ladies... your makeup will be flawless when "Ooh La Lepeche" is done with you.
Food, Fashion and the one you love? SIGN ME UP!
 I caught up with Chef Simeon and found out more about the competition.
What influenced you to host the "The Ultimate Date Night" competition?
Chef Hall:
Truthfully I look at so many busy young and older couples and I feel sorry for the working class family. We concentrate more on building our careers and taking care of our children and sometimes forget to strengthen our relationships. But it warms my heart every time I see a couple nestled in the small of a restaurant locked in a gazey eye stare. That is why I want to do this event and maybe I will be fortunate enough to have them name their child after me! LOL  
Where will the date be held?
Chef Hall:
It will most likely be held at the residence of the winners, However we are looking for a hosting venue that will blow the contestants socks off! 
What can the lucky couple anticipate for dinner?
Chef Hall:
That I can not say. What I can say is I will personally interview the couple and find out their likes and dislikes and tailor the menu to their liking. I will how ever be treating them to a few surprise courses.
Will you do this again, or is this just a one time thing?
Chef Hall:
In this format no. This is it. But we are already cooking up something else, pun intended! I do want to invite people to a celebrity chef event that I am cooking in on November 17th at the Flying fish in Freeport and to the 13th Annual Jerk Festival where I am participating in the Celebrity chef cook off and doing a chefs demo- On Sunday November 8th. Bahamasair is actually a partner in this event and is giving discounted fairs and hotel discount from a hotel partner as well! 
Can people book you to cook for their own special events?
Chef Hall:
Certainly. I do have some limits and guidelines but they certainly can. As long as it is for an experience and not just feeding crowds of people then I am definitely interested. 

My husband and I will definitely be entering this competition! We will post our video to this blog later on today! Information on how to enter is listed below.



Thursday, 16 October 2014

Making it to minus 50: "The Struggle"

Todays struggle is staying focused on eating healthy. Trust me I am all about eating healthy and clean but when you see that moist piece of cake in the window of your favorite bakery that all goes out the window and you just want to indulge. 

I love food and its difficult for me to just cut carbs or not eat that french fry in front of me. What do you mean a pumpkin spice latte is over 300 calories?! Unfortunately our favorite foods are the ones that have the calories you should consume for the entire day in them.

This sacrificing my favorite foods never sits well with me and a rabbit diet is never fun.... Right?

So how in the world do you stay motivated in a world filled with delicious Starbucks coffee and extra cheesy pizza?

The answer is simple!

Remember what you are doing this for in the first place. Think on what your goals are and when you want to reach them. My husband/ personal trainer always tells me there is no such thing as a "Cheat Day". Diets will never work you have to change your lifestyle.

When I am giving in I always think to the future and dwell on what I want for myself ... then I pick up a piece of watermelon to satisfy my sweet tooth!

Staying motivated can be really tough, especially when you get up on the scale and see no changes or not the progress you had hoped to have. Be strong!! If all else fails look at a swimsuit photo of Beyoncé or a Victoria Secret model. That should get you motivated.

As I struggle through another week I would love to know where you are with your fitness journey and how you are staying motivated! Leave your comments below!

If you are needing a push to get started contact Keith Hinsey at Physique Total Fitness he offers private sessions, group training, and boot camps. He is a NASM Certified Personal trainer, TRX certified, and a weight loss specialist!

You can email for more info and pricing!


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Traveling with Baby

I recently traveled as a mother for the first time a few weeks back and while I am super late with this post I figure better late than never.

So we traveled to Orlando with our sweet 8 month old baby boy this August and I will a admit going in I was terrified!

The idea of leaving something for the baby and being stuck on a plane (even if just for an hour) with no way to get what I needed made me check my baby's bag 9 times.

When traveling I am all about less is more. Less hassle, less money, less bags. I like to check in to my flight drop my bags off and go the rest of the way with just my purse. I dispise unnecessary costs and extra baggage. I learned very quickly that this is no longer possible being a mom. However I have learned a few tricks to staying as light as possible and making your travel experience with your baby enjoyable and more affordable.

1. Your purse is now your baby bag
I traveled with my baby bag and my purse and this was quite the hassle. Lugging my huge purse (I decided to bring my largest one) and my baby bag just became annoying. Take my advice if you can; put all of your purse goodies in the same bag as your babies goodies.

2. Get your travel in while your baby is free!
You only pay taxes for infants up to two years old. Take advantage while you can!

3. Take your own car seat
Taking your own car seat is one way you will avoid exorbitant fees for car seat rental at the car rental companies. Car rentals charge anywhere from $40-$100 A DAY to rent a car seat. (Bonus tip: cover your car seat with a plastic cover or garbage bag before checking it in ours came back filthy. Most airlines will check your car seat in for free!)

4. Travel around nap time
We traveled early in the morning. Kaiden normally wakes up around 5 - 5:30am and falls back to sleep around 8am perfect timing he slept through the entire flight from take off to landing.

5. Take your formula for the entire trip with you
We spent literally twice as much on formula than we do at home ... Who wudda thunk?!

6. Be patient
Just relax ... You are on vacation and your baby is just as excited as you are. It can become trying when you just want to sit down but baby doesnt .

7. Take crib sheets with you
Hotels may provide you with a sheet for the crib that you request ours didn't so we bought our own. (Check with your hotel prior to arrival to make sure cots are free of charge. If it isn't I would suggest traveling with your pack and play)

8. Sit in the back with baby and let daddy or whoever you are traveling with drive
The last thing you want is to be on a 30 minute drive and you can't reach your baby to console him or her. I was chauffeured for 9 days and loved it.

9. Sanitizing wipes are your best friend
When you are visiting restaurants and doing your shopping don't just plop baby down in the high chair or shopping cart. Wipe it down. We wiped down everything we wiped down almost the entire shopping cart and high chairs especially because Kaiden is putting any and everything in his mouth.

10. Get a travel sized stroller
I think this is self explainitory when you are having to open and close your stroller every 10 minutes you are going to want something that's light and Hassel free.

I am no veteran at this and I am sure as I travel more and more I will unlock more tips to share with you.

What are your tips and tricks to traveling with an infant?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Foodie Friday: Interview with Chef Angel Betancourt

For this weeks Foodie Friday I wanted to get into the brain of a Chef!! I had a brief interview with the awesome Chef Betancourt and also got some of his must visit restaurants for us all to try!! 

VanzBlogz: When did you first recognize your love for food?

Chef Betancourt: Since I was young cooking with my Grand Mother as well as my Mother
used to bake very simple Granolas, quick breads and cookies. 

VanzBlogz: What is the best dish you have ever eaten?

Chef BetancourtToo Many to tell you only one! but i could give you my top 3:
  1. Foie Grass Cromequis / Pied de Cochon / Montreal.
  2. Foie Grass+Truffles Eclair / Fouchon / Paris.
  3. Conch Salad / Nassau.

VanzBlogz: What is the best dish you have ever created?

Chef Betancourt: I let my guest to choose for me! I am my worts critic!!!!!

VanzBlogz: If you could only make and eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Chef Betancourt: Got to be Ice Cream!!!!!!!

VanzBlogz: What restaurant would you say every "foodie" needs to experience both local and international?

Chef Betancourt: I feel like i have to extend and list you the best ones I have been honored to experienced such as:

  • Pubbely / Miami.
  • Bazaar / Miami.
  • Alinea / Chicago.
  • Perse / New York.
  • ABC Kitchen / New York.
  • The French Laundry / Napa Valley.
  • The Restaurant at Meadowood Rest / Napa Valley.
  • Momofuko / Toronto.
  • Au Pied de Cochon / Montreal.
  • CopperBox / Miami.
  • August / New Orleans.
  • L` Atelier / Las Vegas.
  • Flying Fish / Free Port.
  • Nobu / Paradise Island.
  • Olive / Paradise Island.

Food is the new Love = Angel R. Betancourt.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

'Paint Da Streets Pink' - Fun Run Walk!

My mother passed away from breast cancer when I was 10 years old. I remember her struggle with this stupid disease like it was yesterday. With that being said whenever I get the chance to assist with beating this disease that continues to plague  so many families I jump to it!
I was approached by a good friend of mine who is apart of the Rotaract Club of South East Nassau Centennial to help promote a Fun, Run, Walk they are hosting in Aid of the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative Foundation. Read below for all the information!
The Rotaract Club of South East Nassau Centennial (RSENC) is hosting their second annual 'Paint Da Streets Pink' Fun, Run, Walk. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative Foundation (BBCIF) to support the work they are doing to help the fight against Breast Cancer in the Bahamas. Last year the event attracted over 200 participants who came out in all their pink wonder!
The walk will be held on Saturday October 18 starting at Arawak Cay. The walkers/runners will leave at 6am and travel west on West Bay Street to Goodman's Bay, then travel back to Arawak Cay via travelling east on west bay st. There are no wardrobe rules for this walk, just pink it up!
Pre-Registration can be done at the BBCIF office at the Cancer Society of the Bahamas, all Kelso Medical Laboratory location (Collins Avenue, Village Road, Carmichael Road), and Solomon's Fresh Market locations each Saturday leading up to the race. Registration will also be done on the day of the event beginning at 5:30am. For a small donation of $10 you can help RSENC and BBCIF fight Breast Cancer in the Bahamas.
Rotaract is a Rotary sponsored Non- Profit Service Club for young professionals aged 18-30. We focus on organizing, carrying out, and participating in meaningful community service initiatives throughout Nassau. We also encourage and promote the professional and personal development of our Members and friends. Contact us through Facebook or via email
More information about the 'Paint Da Streets Pink' and the Club can be found on their Facebook Page. (!/pages/Rotaract-Club-of-South-East-Nassau-Centennial/155835717843067  )

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Weight loss journey: First Step...First Hurdle

Here I am once again day one of my weight loss journey. I feel like I have been here so many times before and to be honest it always seems hopeless at the beginning.
I have struggled with my weight for quite some time now and have began to get very frustrated with myself because when I look back I have never really done anything about it. I would start working out then stop start a diet and then quit it. Obviously this trend would reap no reward.
So how did I get back here and what is so different?
Well... how did I get back here?
The answer is simple. I want more for myself. More importantly I have the sweetest baby boy that I need to be healthy and active for.
Step 1: Want it for YOURSELF
You will never be successful in losing weight or staying consistent if you are doing it for anyone other than yourself. If when you are working you are thinking about how others will see you... You need to reevaluate your reasons for taking on this joyrney.
I have realized that every time I started a weight loss journey (many times) I wasn't doing it for myself. I was doing it because one too many people said "girl you have gained weight" or because I couldnt find that dress in my size.
This journey to losing weight goes so much deeper. Finding your own motivation will be the foundation of what the rest of your experience to your goal will be like and how successful you are.
First Hurdle : Getting Started
Getting started is always the biggest challenge for me because I am so good at making excuses.
There is no one to watch the baby
I don't have the time
I don't have the money
I will start next month
The list goes on and on.
When you finally quit the excuses and "Just do it" is when your journey truly begins.
This is my first post about my journey and I will continue to write as more steps and hurdles come my way. My goal is to lose 50 LB's yes I said 50 pounds.
This should be veeerryyy interesting.
If you are taking this journey with me I would love to hear about your day 1 in the comments!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Foodie Friday: Meet Chef Tim Tibbitts

Its Foodie Friday!! 
We have yet another Chef added to our list of contributors for VanzBlogz. 
See Chef Tim Tibbitts's bio. We are so excited and honored to have this awesome chef grace our pages! 

Chef Tim Tibbitts was born in Nassau, Bahamas and grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada.  His interest in food goes well back into his childhood.  The ethnic diversity of Toronto has always played a large part in his style having spent so much of his youth in the ethnic communities of one of the most multicultural cities in the world.  His passion for Asian flavors stems from this time and was a major factor in starting his apprenticeship in the early 90's. 

     Tim enrolled in the Canadian Apprenticeship Program at Toronto's famed George
Brown College, School of Culinary Arts.  There he learned the basics of classic
European cuisine, which he applied first under his mentor Roger Genoe.  It was during this time that Tim developed his respect for great ingredients and technique that is still the hallmark of his style.  It was the same restaurant where he met his wife and business partner, Sommelier Rebecca Tibbitts.

     After many years of working through the ranks of small high-end kitchens in the Toronto area, Tim along with Rebecca, decided to make a move back to the Bahamas.  After successfully opening and running a modern Asian restaurant and sushi bar, Tim decided it was time to start working for himself.

     Starting with the creation of his company 99/1 Food Services Management in 2009, Tim has created a brand throughout the Bahamas.  In February of 2012 Tim realized a dream by opening his own restaurant, Flying Fish, in Freeport, Grand Bahama.  Flying Fish is the only restaurant in the Bahamas using modernist techniques to explore the flavors of the Caribbean.  Local products used in various ways exploring all the ethnic influences of Chef Tim from around the world entertain diners every night.  His commitment to quality and sustainability of the products are paramount at Flying Fish.  It is a dining experience like no other in the Bahamas.

      Chef Tim was named one of the Top 25 Chefs in the Caribbean for 2014 by Caribbean Journal magazine.  Flying Fish was awarded a 4 Diamond Rating this year as well by AAA making it only the third restaurant in Bahamian history to achieve this honor and the first in the history of Grand Bahama island.  There are less than 30 restaurants in the entire Caribbean with this honor.

     Currently Tim is also a staff writer for the Freeport News with his column "Food

For Thought" printed twice weekly.  He is also a contributing writer for Bob Izumi's Real Fishing magazine in Canada as a guest chef, and is currently in production locally of his first TV series titled “Caught in Paradise”, that shows viewers a glimpse into the life of a top chef.  He is also in development of two other new shows with Canadian TV production company, RTR Media, about the food industry in the Caribbean.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Foodie Friday: Introducing Chef Angel R. Betancourt and Foodie Friday Chef at Food Network

As if this Foodie Friday wasn't already exciting we have another Chef that has come on board! Angel R. Betancourt has graciously accepted to be one of the contributors to VanzBlogz Foodie Friday series! Learn more about this awesome Chef below!

Angel Ramirez Betancourt Venezuelan trained in one of the best & most renowned culinary institutes of the world. Le Cordon Bleu Paris, Ottawa Culinary Institute.

Having worked in the best kitchens around the world in cities like Barcelona & A Coruna in Spain, Cancun in Mexico, Montreal, Gatineau & Ottawa in Canada, Caracas in Venezuela & San Salvador & Nassau in The Bahamas. Chef Angel has worked with celebrities chefs or “chef mentors” how he likes to call them. Bruno Oteiza (Biko) Laurent Pages (LCB) Carles Mampel (BuBo) Jean Georges Vongerichten, Nobu & Pascal Charence, Sarah Kosikowski (Valrhona corporate chef) are among them.
All those experiences now have transformed into a perfect mix of motivation, perseverance & passion that he applies to each of his unique desserts in the place. 

He loves The One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas where he is the actual Executive Pastry Chef.

Bahamian Pineappla+Thyme Tart

Chef Angel is no stranger to publications as he is being featured on magazines & websites often. 

From his former school’s brochure famous websites like

The Chefs Garden Guide Magazine & very Famous blogs like Restaurantware Blog

Recently chef angel was selected along the very best pastry chef from USA to attend to L’ecole Valrhona in France a privilege that is given only to raising stars or celebrated pastry chefs.

Coconut Milk Sorbet + Coconut Water Gelee + Sesame Seed Caviar + Sesame Tuile ``Food is the new love’’

Angel Ramirez Betancourt

We are so excited about having Chef Betancourt on board and can't wait to get the inside scoop on some of his beautiful creations!

We also wanted to take the time to let you know that one of our Foodie Friday contributors has hit it big time and is one of participating chefs in Food Network in Concert Event being held in Rivinia, Chicago. We can't wait till he comes back and shares the experience. See him featured here ---->

He is truly deserving and we are SUPER excited for him! 

Posted via Blogaway

Posted via Blogaway

Monday, 15 September 2014

Tagged Tuesday: Update Yourself on Your Life

Your Life Update 


Every January (wether you want to admit or not) we right down our "New Years Resolution list". 
85% of the time nothing on this list is crossed out; but why is that? Some may say they just weren't committed others may say I just forgot. Personally I think its because we just get so caught up in our everyday lives that we just completely lose track of what we wanted to accomplish in that year. 

Lets face it time flies I mean it seems like just yesterday I brought my new born baby home and now he's almost 1!!! Its so easy for us to just live day by day and completely lose track of the fact that we need to make future plans to achieve goals that we have. Thats why I think its always good to sit back and rewrite our Yearly goals or write a "Life Update". 

What do you mean update myself on my life? Its my life why do I need updating on it?

When I think of updating myself on my life I ask myself a few simple questions. 

1. What have you accomplished this year so far?
2. How many of those accomplishment if any are on your New Years Resolution list? 
3. Can any of your goals be reached before the year is through? 

Many of us (including myself) will answer these questions and feel totally defeated. We will think to ourself "What in heck have I been doing?!?!?". Don't beat yourself up, this thing called life can be hectic and the reason we are doing the Life Update is so that we can get ourselves back on track. 

Here is my Life Update 
So far this year I have continued to go through the learning process of being a Mother. I am continuing to learn that I can't do everything and be everywhere for my baby and that I have to learn to live this new life of functioning with my heart out of my chest. I have accomplished my goal of getting a raise at work and continue to work hard to be promoted. I am on my journey to losing 20 pounds by December. My educational goals can and will be started before the year is complete. Of my 5 goals on my New Years Resolution 3 of them are either complete or currently in motion. 

What is your "Life Update" looking like? Leave them in the comments below!

Its Tagged Tuesday!!!! Check out Annis Bubble to see her view on "The Life Update". 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Foodie Friday: "Da Bahamian Vegan" - Vegan Salad and Gluten Free Vegan Wrap

It's Foodie Friday!!! (Does happy dance). 
Todays post is coming from Chef Giovan aka "Da Bahamian Vegan" 
This guy will definitely motivate you to eat clean!! 

It can be very difficult to live a vegan lifestyle in The Bahamas. Especially in a culture where Sunday dinners comprises of 2 meats, 3 starches and lots of side dishes.
Before switching to a plant based lifestyle it was much easier to dine at friends and family gatherings, even my choice restaurant weren’t limited. Now that Da Bahamian Vegan was created, I want people to know that living a plant based lifestyle it doesn’t need to be so complicated. With a few simple swaps and recipes you can always have something satisfying to whip up.
I’m going to share with you a few steps to run through when planning a plant based meal.

Remove the Meat
I don’t want to assume anything about your knowledge of vegans, so let’s start at the beginning. Vegans do not consume any animal products.

Look for Hidden Meat
All vegans will take offense to anything made with chicken or beef stock, even if there are no chunks of meat in whatever you’re making. Like seriously, who makes a Vegetable Soup with Chicken or Beef Broth?

Make a Swap
Vegan substitutes are almost everywhere these days. There are a wide variety of prepared vegan burgers and “chick’n” patties in the frozen food section if you’re looking for convenience (these can also be made easily from scratch). An easier way to go can be replacing meat with mushrooms in particular Portobello Mushrooms.

Don’t worry chances are you have more vegan meals in your past history of cooking than you really think. Cook up a favorite pasta dish or hearty salad. When in doubt make an extra vegetable or grain side dish. Relax and enjoy what plant based living and eating has to offer. If you have a vegetarian dish it’s not too hard to make it vegan. Vegan cheese is a readily available swap for dairy cheese (or just leave it out). Eggs can be replaced by flax eggs (1 tablespoon flax meal mixed with 3 tablespoons water. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to “gel”.). Earth Balance makes a popular vegan “butter”. Focus on grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. If you're having a hard time coming up with a vegan main dish, make several side dishes you feel comfortable with, such as roasted squash or a rice pilaf, and there will be plenty to eat.

Vegan Salad Recipe 

2 ripe avocados, cubed
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir gently to combine. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.

Tasty Gluten Free Vegan Wrap 


2 small yellow onions, peeled, halved, and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 head broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons of choice taco seasoning powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gluten Free Wraps
Vegan Cheese
Avocado (optional)
Lime juice (optional)
Cilantro (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the onions, bell peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms.
In a glass measuring cup, combine the oil and taco seasoning. Pour over the vegetable mixture and stir well.

Gill over high heat for 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into warmed gluten free wrap and top with vegan cheese, avocado, lime juice & cilantro, if desired.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Foodie Friday : Meet the Chefs!

I introduced foodie friday to you all a few months back. The concept is still the same but we will be getting a cluster of chefs and "Foodies" who will rotate posts ranging from the ultimate meat lovers plate to a delicious vegan treat. We will continue to introduce chefs as they come on board.
I am very excited about this venture and I have many exciting things coming along with this that my readers are sure to enjoy. So with that being said lets meet the two awesome chefs who have signed on so far.
Meet Chef Simeon Hall Jr. 
I met Chef Simeon about 2 years ago while he was helping a hotel that I worked at create new menus. While working with him it was clear to me automatically how passionate this guy is about food. I had never seen anything like it. The way Chef Simeon described meals he had and dishes he had created were sure to make you drool. This is part of the reason I am so excited about him coming on board. You met Chef Simeon and his awesomeness before on my blog with a few recipes he has shared .. Including last weeks sensual Molten Chocolate desert recipe. Here's a closer look into who Chef Simeon is. 
After traveling the world to explore the culinary landscapes of many foreign nations, Chef Simeon Hall will be returning to his native land of The Bahamas to stimulate your senses with his unique style of fusing local ingredients with global techniques.
As the Owner/CEO of ‘Simeon Hall Restaurant Management Group Ltd’ that provides restaurants and hotels many services including restaurant and menu design, hospitality management and training, food styling & prep and Culinary Business Consulting, Chef Hall strongly believes that you can appeal to international taste buds with the use of fresh, local ingredients and would like to introduce the world to explore the tastes of his native Isle of The Bahamas.
With the premier ‘Garden to Plate’ School Lunch Program for children in the Bahamas currently in development, Hall’s intention is to educate the youth about nutrition and sustenance by teaching them gardening and food preparation techniques. The first program of its kind in the Bahamas, Chef Hall is excited to share his experiences with the next generation of future movers and shakers. During his Bahamian tour, Hall will be a guest present and will be performing a cooking demo at The Minority Chef Summit this year as well as presenting a lecture on historical Bahamian cuisine. Although he has been featured in many newspapers across the country and abroad and has served as a Judge and contestant in many international cooking competitions, Chef Hall is excited to be returning to his homeland and is looking forward to the start of a new chapter that will bring modern techniques to traditional Bahamian cuisine.
This year we can look forward to some interesting blends of local ingredients, some new restaurants designed by Chef Hall, food demonstrations, the debut of the Hall Supper Club Events and more. Keep an eye out for Chef Simeon Hall, you may be tasting, dining at or reading something created by him and not even know it!
Check out Chef Simeon on facebook at "A food's Paradise By Chef Simeon Hall Jr. "
Meet Chef Gio Cooper "Da Bahamian Vegan"
I was first introduced to "Da Bahamian Vegan" on Facebook in my slow and steady race to becoming a vegan myself. When I made the decision that I was going to make a lifestyle change I went on a quest to figure out what I think many people who are not vegan try to figure out... "What in the heck do vegans eat?" I continued to follow Chef Gio I was more and more intrigued on how "good" this vegan was eating. He continued to post mouthwatering vegan dishes that made me realize, being of vegan does not mean I have to starve. 
Chef Giovan "Gio" Cooper, a 28 year old young man living in The Bahamas has the passion and desire for Vegan Cooking. Not only does he cook Vegan food for the public, but a little over a year ago he made the transition to becoming a Vegan. It was one of the best decisions he made not only for himself but also for the planet. As he began his transition last year March, Chef Gio Cooper called himself "Da Bahamian Vegan". He never knew months later "Da Bahamian Vegan" will be a brand to be recognized in The Bahamas and even in The United States. Da Bahamian Vegan brand main mission here in The Bahamas is to target individuals that eat meat on a constant. The brand wants to display to individuals that they can take at least one day of the week to dedicate their day to a plant based way of eating. With a huge population of persons in The Bahamas that have their own myths about what Vegan food is about, Chef Gio Cooper has to ensure his menu items are not only creative but pleasuring to the eyes and pallet. Over the past several months Chef Gio Cooper has made appearances on Bahamas At Sunrise, a local morning talk show where he did a live demonstration for the viewing audience, he has appeared twice in the local newspaper, The Nassau Guardian, made many appearances on radio talk shows, speaking about his business and the future of the brand, also he has been featured in two local magazines, where the most recent feature for Brutha Magazine "Man On The Rise." It was not all that easy though for Chef Gio Cooper. In the beginning of 2013, Chef Gio Cooper decided to open a restaurant because of the many individuals requesting where they can purchase his food items. 3 months later he had to close his doors because the support from the Bahamian community couldn't afford him the opportunity to stay open. Chef Gio Cooper was also the Vegan Chef for Canada's Fashion Designer, Mr. Peter Nygard and also a Raw private chef for The Atlantis Rejuvenation Center on Bimini island. Currently Chef Gio Cooper is a Chocolate Maker where he is working on perfecting his recipe for Raw Vegan Bon Bons. At present Chef Gio Cooper and Da Bahamian Vegan is taking Social Media by storm both here locally and internationally. With his Facebook Page "Da Bahamian Vegan" with over 5,000 Fans and Instagram "Da_Bahamian_Vegan" with over 7,000 followers, Chef Gio Coopers hope is to display his work to those in attendance. Chef Gio Cooper & Da Bahamian Vegan brand has a very good support system throughout The United States. There are many persons in The US, that can't wait for him to set foot on US soil to give them the opportunity to try his Vegan Offerings. It is his hope that if he is considered for being a featured Chef at the Seed Food & Wine Festival, that this will be the perfect opportunity to display to many just what he is all about. And we feel, by having a Caribbean Food influence to the Festival it will add such a different experience to all attendees. Even if Chef Gio Cooper isn't selected to be a guest Chef, he and his team will still be Vending at the Saturday's Festival event. They are all excited to travel and put on a great display!  
Check out Chef Gio on Facebook- Da Bahamian Vegan and Instagram- Da_bahamian_vegan. 
We will continue to introduce more and more guest bloggers as they sign on to this awesome series!
How exciting is this! Stay tuned for delicious recipes and food experiences.  

Friday, 15 August 2014

Foodie Friday: Molten Chocolate & Cayenne Pepper Lava Cake with Campari Berries and Chocolate Ice Cream!

Its Foodie Friday! We are about to take this Foodie Friday thing to the next level! You will all about our new and improved Foodie Fridays next week but this week one of our featured Chefs the awesome Chef Simeon Hall who you have seen here before is sharing one of his delectable sweet recipes. The heading of this post alone should make you salivate!

Photographer- Scharad Lightborne
Stylist- Lerielle Cole
Model- Shani Holland
Location – Valentines Boathouse Restaurant, Harbour Island, Bahamas

People often ask me why I became a chef and the truth is very elementary. I did it to meet and feed girls. Okay, so besides being genetically and socially predisposed coming from a family of cooks, that is my honest answer. I grew up feeding the women in my family and I loved to see their faces illuminate whenever I shouted, “dinner is ready!”. Fast forward 20 years later, as a professional chef nothing beats that same radiance whenever I cook for any female.

This love for food and pleasing my audience has morphed into a book that connects and follows a couple through the recipes of the first date to the night she says ‘I do.’

30 recipes every man should cook his woman™ is a cookbook novel.  The recipe below is a simple dessert that every man should have in his arsenal and it is made from CHOCOLATE!

 Enjoy this VANBLOGZ exclusive sneak peak and check me out at for private cooking lessons and other amazing culinary services.

Molten chocolate and cayenne pepper lava cake with Campari berries and chocolate ice cream!


1lb 2 oz bittersweet Graycliff chocolate (65%)

1lb 2 oz unsalted high quality butter

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

10 farm fresh eggs

7.75 oz table sugar

7.25 oz all-purpose flour


First, preheat your oven to 370°F

Melt one pound plus two ounces of bitter sweet, 60% chocolate and one pound plus two ounces of unsalted butter in a metal bowl over simmering water, make sure that the butter is incorporated fully. Add one half teaspoon of cayenne pepper for the kick needed.

In a separate Kitchen Aid mixer or using a hand-held blender mix ten medium eggs with seven and three quarter ounce of sugar until the mix has doubled in volume and has a lighter color. Then measure out seven and one quarter ounce of all-purpose flour.

Very gently fold in the chocolate and butter mixture into the egg and sugar blend. Finally add the flour without deflating the mixture. This mix can be baked immediately or held in your refrigerator for up to a week. Simply remove the mix about two hours before and bake according to the baking steps.

Using a 4 ounce baking vessel, cupcake tins or silicon baking molds place three and one half ounce of the cake mix into the baking cup and bake for exactly 7 minutes. Remove and immediately serve.

For the berries, rinse one quarter cup each of quartered strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and add to a mixing bowl. Then add one cup of Campari, one half cup of cranberry juice and one quarter cup of grenadine. Set aside and allow to marinate overnight.

To plate this dessert, unmold the warm cake and add one scoop of your favorite brand of chocolate ice cream on top of the cake and finish with a heaping tablespoon of the macerated berries. The secret of this dish is the fact that the outside of the cake will be fully cooked and the inside will flow like ‘lava’.
Mmmmmmmm ... mmmmmmm! How is that for a hot late night dessert? Please share your photos and reviews if you give this recipe a try! Be sure to check out Chef Halls website he is truly passionate about what he does and it translates in the food he puts out ... and that's AAALLLLL GOOOOODDD!!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Celebrities are People Too

It is everywhere! Celebrity "news". I often wonder why we are so eager to know what is going on in the lives of people who are exactly like us but just better known .... and in most cases slightly richer.

We feel so entitled to know who they are dating, who cheated on who, why they broke up, what they are wearing (or what they aren't wearing), what they're driving, where they live, how they party. I mean we are literally living these peoples lives with them. Why are we so interested to know the ins and outs of their lives?

I know some of you are going to say "It comes with the business" or "Any publicity is good publicity", but I disagree. Why do we care? What value does it bring to our lives and how are we able to be so insensitive to what goes on in the lives of celebrities?

For instance at the BET awards and several other performances, Robin Thicke dedicated his performance to his wife Paula Patton. My timeline was flooded with "He so thirsty" , "He is annoying". While I am not in anyway excusing what he did I think it is commendable that he continues to disregard what people think of him bottles up his pride and expresses his love for her and regret for what he did. How many of your significant others did that when they messed up?

They have been together since high school he made a mistake and he is sorry for it. Come on guys that is literally the love of his life. You know how we have those songs that remind us of certain times in our life? Whether it be a happy time, a time when we were falling in love, a bad breakup. It just so happens he can make his own songs and create the playlists that we tend to use for our lives.

We continue to disregard that these are real people with real problems in their real life.

We chime in on celebrity relationships because you know everything that the media puts out is true and we are fully up to date to what's happening, so we obviously have the knowledge to express our views right? (That was major sarcasm)

How much of what we read or see on television is the truth and the WHOLE truth? We very rarely hear from the actual person when "the tea is served". But should someone comment on anything in our lives we are quick to say "Don't talk about what you don't know" or "Ask the source" or one of my favorites "You don't know me". Ahhh the irony of it all.  

Beyoncé changed the lyrics to one of her songs during a performance at her and Jay-Z's combined "on the run" concert insinuating that Jay-Z cheated on her. Do we know this to be true? Nope. But Jay-Z and Beyoncé's relationship is just too good to be true right? So something must be going on in their relationship even if we have to make up something. Like "Solange fought Jay-Z in the elevator because he beats her" ....

Will and Jada Smith allow their kids to express themselves they way they like. We criticize their parenting excessively. To the parents out their ... what is your reaction when someone tries to tell you how to raise your kids? What is your reaction with STRANGERS try to tell you how to raise your kids? ... Truthfully yes the kids dress very "different" but they seem to be pretty respectful kids. Some of the children that actually belong to us do worse things than dress weird. Get a grip!

You would swear I know a celeb personally but I don't. However I try to put myself in the shoes of others and try to have an unbiased view. I honestly feel sorry that celebrities sometimes have to walk on eggshells everywhere they go because if they hug someone of the opposite sex everyone is going to speculate that they are dating. Must be a tough way to live.

I hope this will help whoever reads it (including myself) to be a little more mindful of the way we make jokes and comment on peoples lives. Just like you and me some situations are hardly funny and are really tough for us.

Put yourself in a celebs shoes... Those shoes may be expensive but they are very difficult to walk in.


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