Rising culinary star Deandra Young Sang stirs the pot with tantalising dishes
Creativity sparking imagination is not only limited to the canvas. It also plays a very vital role in the making and plating of delicious dishes as well. Deandra Young Sang went from picky eater growing up to a certified foodie and culinary mastermind as an adult. Today, the food blogger and content creator fires up tantalising offerings from the kitchen.
“I love food, and food loves me,” she told Food, adding, “I created Potcovah from just the love I have for food and family. I share meals I have prepared for them that they enjoy. I wanted something that had an authentic Jamaican or Caribbean vibe; something that looked professional but still homestyle and welcoming. That’s why I love to incorporate bright colours with food, as it is my way of expressing art.”
If coming to terms with cooking her favourites wasn’t marinating enough, encouragement surely sweetened labour when her relationship with food took on a more intimate approach. She began cooking for her significant other, and he comes from a family of celebrated cooks, she explained. Knowing that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach was all the incentive she needed to get her pots bubbling.
Since starting Potcovah, her signature creations include the Appleton almond drops and coconut kale pesto basa pasta. Other dishes range from barbecued wings, jerk barbecued wings, sweet and spicy wings, grilled pork chops, and shrimp lo mein, to cream of pumpkin soup, spicy curried shrimp, curried chunks, sweet and sour fish, chicken steak with fried rice, oreo pancakes and cinnamon swirl pancakes, just to name a few.
“While I look at what others do as inspiration to try and make my own, my recipes stand out to me because they are not difficult to prepare. I use simple, affordable ingredients and turn them into something delectable, and creative. I just want people to view my page as a space for food and family,” Young Sang shared.
In the social space, food lovers find her scrumptious posts both entertaining and informative. People remain fascinated by the fact that they are taken on a journey from start to finish. Also, they are keen to discover that the dishes aren’t as tedious to prepare as they had initially thought.
Developing a love for watching cooking videos and television programmes, she began experimenting with different ingredients and flavour, which then transformed into recipes and led to the start of her food blog. In this instance, she was able to uncover two loves, the second of which is recipe development.
“I would sometimes go grocery shopping to get special ingredients, or I wing it with what’s available. My family and I only eat certain foods, so I have to keep it spontaneous to keep the taste buds active. My creative process is pretty simple. I will look at what’s in the fridge and what ingredients I can put together to make something a bit new. Chicken, for example, is always nice when I can prepare something other than the usual curry or stew. What can I say, my ancestors hold my hand in the kitchen,” she said.
There are the obstacles of playing fire with fire, as she has battled the heat in the kitchen due to the temperatures in the sunshine city of Portmore, St Catherine. Not to mention, balancing the art of multitasking. “While I am recording the video, I have to ensure nothing is burning; then right after, I have to think about how I plate this dish and take some really nice shots. When that is finished, I have the wash-up, clean-up, while your family awaits a hot plate,” the self-taught chef revealed.
But at the end of the day, it all boils down to taste, and Young Sang is thrilled to be exploring the island’s most authentic flavours. “Our Jamaican palate knows good food when it tastes it. I always say, ‘Why spend so much at a fancy restaurant when I can try to recreate something myself?’ And that’s the joy it brings me. I love the challenge,” she added.
With hopes of growing her network, so that her page can reach more people locally as well as internationally, she would be honoured to collaborate with brands that are already incorporated in her recipes. Intent on creating her very own online cookbook, there is also the dream that one day, Potcovah will become a household name as a brand and a restaurant.