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Cooking With Colors: A Traditional Jamaican Dish

A colorful diet is a healthy diet! As a part of the Museum’s Eat a Georgia Rainbow program, local chef Tanisha Mott helps children create colorful and healthy creations with local fruits and vegetables. Cooking With Colors is among our most popular programs, and it returned this week for a new season of ten classes.

Tanisha Mott started right in the world of culinary arts by volunteering at Tavern on the Green and Alison on Dominick Street in New York City. She was born in Jamaica and relocated to New York in 1988 as a high-school student after being awarded a full scholarship to Johnson & Wales. In Charleston SC she spent time in several of Charleston’s top rated kitchens, and she graduated with an AS in Culinary and a BS in business management.


Chef Tanisha has traveled throughout the US following her passion for Culinary Arts. She has cooked for such celebrities as Michelle Obama, Jill Scott, Shirley Franklin and Sonny Perdue with Compass Group as executive chef. She is currently running her own catering and events company, T.N.T. Catering, as well as teaching culinary arts training classes.

We asked Chef Tanisha to contribute a recipe for Growing Into the World and were pleased to receive this popular, traditional meal from Jamaica. Ackees are the national fruit of Jamaica (they are related to lychees and distributed in many grocery stores in cans), and ackee and saltfish is the country’s national dish. Tanisha writes that ackee and saltfish “can be eaten any time or any day of the week. However, in my family it was served as a breakfast on Saturday as my dad play old hits and we talked about our week and upcoming events. Ackee and saltfish is sautéed saltfish (codfish) with boiled Ackee, onions, thyme, Scotch Bonnet peppers, tomatoes, bell pepper and black pepper. It is usually served with a combination of any of these items: Yellow Yam (boiled), Fried Breadfruit, fried or boiled dumplings, boiled green bananas or fried plantains.

“Ackee is Jamaica’s national fruit. In Jamaica the debate continues whether it is a fruit or a vegetable either way it is a beautiful and delicious dish.”

Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Dumplings (Serves 4)


1 can ackee (use fresh if you have – about 2 cups)
1/3 lb. saltfish – boneless/skinless (salted cod)
1 medium onion diced
1 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper
fresh thyme (couple sprigs) leaves only no steam
1 medium tomato cubed
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions Thin Sliced
1/4 medium bell pepper diced
(All items can be found fresh at the local farmers market).


In a medium sauce pot boil saltfish in water for 5-7 minutes drain and add more water. Repeat three times or until salty taste is slight.
Clean the ackee. Open can, drain, and rinse with cold water.
Pick up (flake) the saltfish and check for any bones.
Sauté diced onions and sweet pepper.
Add diced Tomatoes, scallion and thyme leafs.
Add saltfish and the ackee, cook over medium heat.
Add white pepper
Serve in a bowl eat with fresh baked biscuits or traditional Jamaican breakfast items such as: boiled yellow yam, fried or roasted breadfruit, boiled or fried dumplings, boiled green bananas and fried plantain.

As a leftover item: It can be baked in a biscuit or croissant as a breakfast pocket.

Don’t miss out on Cooking With Colors, Mondays at 10.30 am. The class is limited to ten children and their adult caregivers. Advanced ticket purchase required, please call 404.527.3693 or email [email protected] for more information. We recommend calling no later than 72 hours before the date and time of the class to purchase tickets, and bookmark the class’s page:

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