Group's Caribbean cuisine helps empower women


The group Ladies of Valor Empowerment and Johnson & Wales University student chefs joined forces to raise funds for underprivileged women who need assistance.

Conch ceviche with mango, blood oranges and lemon, and griot made with braised pork shoulder, peppers and onions were some of the crowd’s favorites at the Taste of the Caribbean event hosted by the Ladies Of Valor Empowerment organization. The founder and president, Alourdes Pierre who started the organization from her living room seven years ago, was overjoyed to see how much they’ve grown.

“It was a great event. It was exciting, and the food was great,” said Pierre, who sent a letter to Johnson and Wales University’s president in hopes that they could help her put on the event. “Overall, I’m happy. The school donated everything. The Johnson & Wales students were great.”

During the event, guests visited ten food stations that displayed appetizers, entrees and desserts — all of which were prepared by students majoring in food-service management and operations at Johnson & Wales University. Anthony Stafford, a senior at JWU, was the head chef for the event. He said the students felt that they could add their own personal touch to the dishes because of their Caribbean heritage.

“We took on the Haitian culture in every dish, but we wanted to add our spin on it, and also a Miami spin, a Latin spin, and Cuban culture and Puerto Rican culture” said Stafford.

The griot and tasso were slow-cooked over heat for 48 hours to make sure the meat was rich in flavor. For dessert, the guests had a sweet taste of Haiti and Puerto Rico through the flan and tres leche dishes.

“It’s a very fun play on what the Haitian culture and Hispanic culture have come to create especially here in Miami,” said Stafford.

Pierre planned for two months for the event that combined many signature Caribbean dishes. Pierre, who is Haitian-American, decided to embrace the diversity of the South Florida community instead of only serving Haitian dishes because she serves women from many cultures.

“I love helping women, no matter who they are or where they are from. It’s about love,” said Pierre, who nicknamed her female members “L.O.V.E. Ladies.”

The organization hosted the Jan. 29 event to raise funds for underprivileged women who need assistance. Ladies of Valor Empowerment began in 2006 helping women with job placement, financial planning and life coaching.

Around 80 guests attended the reception, which was located in a ballroom at the Johnson & Wales University center.

Nahomie Mirville, who is a nurse and president of the Haitian-American Nurses Association, which goes by the name HANA, said the food was delicious and that the taste was authentic to the culture. Mirville, who is Haitain-American, said she could appreciate the taste of the Caribbean menu.

“The event was awesome, and I loved the food. Actually, my favorite was the tres leche, the dessert. It was very good,” said Mirville.

HANA, whose members were in strong attendance, partnered with Ladies of Valor Empowerment two years ago to host health fairs for the women who are assisted by the organization.

“The partnership with HANA and L.O.V.E. has been in place since 2010,” Mirville said. “It was a given, and it has been a blessing to have the two organizations work together.”

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity birthdays on Aug 1

    Actor-director Geoffrey Holder is 84. Singer Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is 83. Blues musician Robert Cray is 61. Singer Michael Penn is 56. Singer Joe Elliott of Def Leppard is 55. Rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy is 54. Rapper Coolio is 51. Singer Adam Duritz of Counting Crows is 50. Actress Tempestt Bledsoe is 41. Singer Ashley Parker Angel (O-Town) is 33.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley no longer speak: Is it because of Scientology?

    Que paso? Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Kirstie Alley used to be so close. They met as partners on Dancing with the Stars and stayed in touch but these days they no longer speak. “She stopped getting along with me,” Chmerkovskiy told Andy Cohen on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live. “I got a message now that I am associating with other people that she can't be associated with, I am no longer to be spoken with, and sorry, but it is what it is.” Jennifer Lopez, rumored to be dating the dancer, is besties with Leah Remini, who recently left the Church of Scientology, and that perhaps doesn’t sit well with Alley, who remains loyal to Tom Cruise’s church.

  • On the shelves

    At 88, Hollywood legend Lee Grant looks back in ‘I Said Yes to Everything’

    Actress Lee Grant came that close to washing Shampoo out of her hair when co-star Warren Beatty told her how to play the scene when she learns he has seduced her character’s daughter. The matter got resolved after she spoke to the actual director, Hal Ashby, and then to Beatty again. Not only did she win an Oscar for the role, but she and Beatty became great friends, even sharing a few passionate kisses after filming ended.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category