“Caribbean people do not see what is around them. We are sitting on a gold mine over here and we don’t even know it,” said Barbadian, vegan food scientist and chef Taymer Mason, in a 2019 Forbes article that dove into her work.
Mason was once again featured in Forbes this February, making her way on a list of 5 Female Chefs In The Caribbean Who Are Changing The Way We Look At Food.
This food innovator has already launched a plethora of projects throughout the world – from her homeland of Barbados all the way to France, and seemingly quite a bit of stops in between.
Her cookbook, Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion, was published in 2016 and quickly became an internationally acclaimed Amazon bestseller.
As a trained microbiologist and ecologist, Mason takes the science of food seriously, and merges it with fervent global activism.
In Barbados, her spin on the popular Jamaican patty has been quite a hit. Unlike most vegan patty alternatives, the ‘meat’ in Mason’s patties are made with mushrooms, walnuts and oats. She has also concocted true root meat – a plant-based meat alternative that is jam-packed with superfoods found in abundance in the Caribbean, such as moringa, coconut and cassava.
“Ninety percent of vegan meats contain gluten and soy protein which carries various well-documented health risks. Not only is true root meat delicious, but it is also healthier than other meat substitutes,” Mason told Forbes.
Her advocacy connects back to the dense nutritional value of many natural foods found in the Caribbean, which are, in Mason’s view, forgotten treasures of the region. She holds the somewhat radical belief that if the Caribbean truly embraced and capitalized on its food resources, the need for food imports could be nominal, if not completely eradicated.
A globetrotter in the truest sense, Mason has lived in Canada, France, Saint Martin, and, of course, Barbados. Her goal is to have a global impact, maintaining her focus on vegan, powerhouse Caribbean fusion food, while advocating for a shift towards this kind of consumption for an end to world hunger.
As she continues along this journey, later this year Mason will be found hosting retreats in the south of France.