Chef Raquel Fox
Nominated for the award: Culinary Arts
Company: Island Gurl Foods
Position: CEO/Founder - Chef
Biography: Chef Raquel Fox aka, the "Island Gurl," has made an indelible mark on Canadian cuisine having immigrated here. Chef Raquel grew up in The Bahamas where she learned to love the nuances of traditional island cooking from her grandmother at a young age. Chef Raquel’s earliest memory of being in the kitchen is when she was a 6-year-old sous chef to her grandmother, peeling root vegetables and husking corn. “Watching my grandmother’s love for food, bringing people together over celebratory meals and making them happy was magical for me to watch,” she says. As a child, she would witness fishmongers bring fresh seafood to her house on bicycles and her grandfather, a farmer, start with a seed to bring ingredients to her grandmother in the kitchen and then to her dining table. She realized the power of cooking early on and knew that’s what she wanted to incorporate in her life. Always a seeker for knowledge, she attended international schools where she catalogued authentic family recipes from a melting pot of friends from all over the globe. She shares her passion for Bahamian food. She is a professional chef, teacher, cookbook author, and media personality, she eagerly presents the vibrant flavours of her beloved Bahamas. Raquel's love for Bahamian cuisine is rooted in its unique blend of refreshing citrus and historical recipes that combine Southern and African influences. She has made a remarkable career and reflects her dedication to preserving and sharing the Bahamas' rich culinary heritage. Her bestselling cookbook, "Dining In Paradise," with over 150 soulful island recipes, has captivated food enthusiasts worldwide. She has exceptional culinary skills and infectious zest for life. Chef Raquel's distinctive touch lies in infusing her cooking with dance, enhancing recipes with rhythmic movements for an elevated dining experience. Her sauces, available nationwide at Loblaw stores, strike the perfect balance, avoiding excessive spiciness while incorporating fresh fruits, spices, and vegetables. Recognized for her culinary prowess and commitment to quality, Chef Raquel is a recipient of the 2022 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award. She attributes her success to her culinary education at George Brown College, where she honed her skills. After graduating from George Brown College, she opened a catering business and started teaching at George Brown and various cooking schools. Chef Raquel's journey celebrates the joy and richness of Bahamian cuisine, inspiring others to embrace its vibrant flavours and cultural heritage. She is the official chef with The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism in Toronto and author of Dining in Paradise. She donates 10% of the proceeds to A Different Booklist Cultural Centre (ADBCC), a physical space for the well-being of the African and Caribbean Canadian community.