"For those who would like an authentic French dining experience in the comfort of your home, Contact Chef Alliance and request Chef Ajeen. My husband, son and I recently had a cooking lesson in our home with Chef Ajeen. It was very evident that he had a passion for fine cuisines when he answered our questions with detailed explanations. He was the ultimate professional, yet easy to talk to. After our lesson he asked that we prepare for our meal. The entree was outstanding our meal consists of Salmon en croute with white wine cream sauce and honey infused caramelized vegetables. Our experience, the food was marvellous it tickles the taste buds while asking for more. Creatively prepared, beautifully presented and elegantly served. We will do this again with family and friends. Thank you very much Chef Ajeen for a great experience."
- C. Allen
The highlight? "The taste of the food - unique and flavourful with a terrific presentation. Also, to speak with Chef [Ajeen] before he left and hearing his passion for cooking and for Jamaican foods."
- Treena Evans
"The overall chef experience was phenomenal! Chef Ajeen was truly amazing - professional, knowledgeable and so much fun! We had French cuisine - the food was simple yet so sophisticated! We literally cleaned our plates! It was an absolute pleasure to have Chef Ajeen as our personal chef for the evening! We already recommended Chef Experiences to our family and friends. Thank you for an incredible experience - one that we will never forget!"
- Y. Poon
"The overall experience was amazing. Chef ajeen was excellent and I would recommend him to everyone."
- C. Grossi
"Ajeen is a great chef, very personable, talked us through the cooking process, gave us some cooking tips, amazing experience"
- K. Smith
The highlight? "Watching the whole process and picking up pointers from Ajeen. Excellent tasty meal."
- S. Messham
"We enjoyed Chef Beckford's presence in our kitchen. The food was beyond our expectations and would consider giving the Chef Experience as a gift to friends."
- Kathy Laforet
"Ajeen was wonderful. From start to finish, dealing with him was effortless. He was professional, courteous, and even took the time to explain the finer details of his creations (by offering us some cooking and gardening tips). The food was phenomenal and everyone at the party loved it. I have passed Ajeen's information on to a number of friends and hope that they use this service in the future."
- R. McVeigh
"The chef was very friendly and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with us. Ajeen went above and beyond with his clean up of the kitchen. We were very impressed."
- C. Campbell
"Ajeen was fantastic! He arranged a perfect meal with us and he was delightful. He was punctual, professional, reliable and talented. The food was great and I have already recommended the experience to friends/family. 10/10"
- Sacha Cerny
Chef was a "great guy and excellent chef. 10/10"
- Marina Dyketan
"Hard to select one highlight................aside from Ajenn who was fantastic I would have to say the Sea Bass it was the BEST fish any one of us has ever tasted!!! 10/10"
- C. Bonnar
"This was my first experience. The overall experience was good. My only comment would be to have the chef stay during the serving of the meal. This would allow me to enjoy the meal a bit more. Overall food was very good. 9/10"
- Liz McIntosh
"The highlight was jut to RELAX in my own home! The food and service was fabulous! I loved not having to cook or clean up but have a wonderful meal. What a treat! :) 10/10"
- Karen Kinch
"We really enjoyed actually watching the chef cook our meal. It added a level of entertainment. And of course eating the delicious food! 9/10"
- Bobi Emery
We were the lucky recipients of a gift certificate from two of our children, and decided to make it even better by asking another couple to join us for dinner. Chef Ajeen arrived in plenty of time on the appointed day at our home, bringing his bags of goodies, and for the next four hours or so he chopped and created in our kitchen providing us with a delicious dinner of appetisers, amuse bouche and entree. He was friendly and engaging and we considered ourselves very fortunate that he was our chef for the evening. This was a new adventure for us, and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and the wonderful meal that was made for us."
- Janette Armour
"Paula we would all like to say "thank you" to you and the chef. We all had a great time. I will call you again soon."
- Teresa Paglia
"The combination of anticipation, setting, service and flavours and textures made for a relaxing and romantic experience.. with no mess to clean afterwards! The meal and presentation was excellent and Ajeen was a delight!!"
- Mary Gerrard
The highlight of my Chef Experience was "Just enjoying a quiet evening with my spouse."
- Celeste Kirsh
"The process was easy and the food really good, loved that our chef was so professional and seemed to really care about our experience."
- Deb Niven
"Chef Ajeen made our first in-home chef experience thoroughly enjoyable and memorable. His ability to pair flavours from different cuisines is world-class. Our miso glazed sea bass with wilted greens and goat cheese chive mash was delicious. The best sea bass I have tasted! Great conversation with the chef and not having to clean-up afterwards were added bonuses."
- J. Yeoh
"The food presentation was fabulous. The food was terrific. 10/10"
"The food was outstanding, exceeding expectations. And Chef Ajeen was both charming and professional. I would not hesitate to recommend him. 10/10"
- A. Tosoni
The highlight? "No clean up ;) food was great. 10/10"
- S. Chowdhury
"Ajeen was outstanding.....he was very personable, knowledgeable, patient and an excellent instructor (I would highly recommend him to friends). 10/10"
- J. Bennett
"Chef Ajeen was an absolute pleasure, and served a memorable meal for a special occasion. His professionalism and ease in the kitchen was certainly noted - and we look forward to hopefully working with him again in the future!!"
- S. McGrath
"A friendly cook who took all of the work out of Saturday night dinner!"
- T. Romano
"It was a wonderful experience, as it allowed us to enjoy the company of our guests, and not be dealing with the prepping, serving, or clean up. The chef prepared a lovely meal, and since we did not have a server, he did a wonderful job serving as well. Our guests were very pleased, as we were. Thank you."
- N. Brown
Caribbean Food Is Pretty Healthy, But Here's How To Make It Healthier
The Huffington Post Canada
By Arti Patel
Posted: 07/25/2016 12:44 pm EDT Updated: 07/29/2016 10:59 am EDT
Food in the Caribbean is diverse from island to island and while most chefs will tell you Caribbean cuisine is healthy for the most part, there are small ways to make it even healthier.
"Most Caribbean [people] will take a conscious approach and say, 'Yes, our food is healthy.' Science plays a key role in what Caribbean culture would define as healthy food, rather than a cooking method and ingredients," says Caribbean fusion chef Ajeen Beckford of Toronto.
Beckford says Caribbean food is highly influenced by other cultures and cuisines. Jamaican food, he says, is highly influenced by African dishes, while other cuisines use similar ingredients or flavours by countries that colonized them.
"Foods such as ackee, okra, pigeon peas, plantains, callaloo, dasheen, yams, [and] breadfruit are all influenced from foods in Africa that was introduced to the region through slaves," he says.
But some foods are fried, cooked in batter, and could be high in fat, Beckford notes, and if you enjoy eating these types of meals, moderation is key.
"Overall, Caribbean food is not that unhealthy, and if something is a bit off, chances are it only needs a minor tweak like trimming the fat or boil[ing] instead of fry[ing]," he says.
In the [list] below, Beckford shows us how to turn five common Caribbean dishes (mostly Jamaican because these are dishes he likes to cook) and how to make them slightly healthier.
The Meal: Crack Conch: This popular dish from the Bahamas is made by deep frying conch with a flour and egg-based batter.
The Swap: Swap the fritters for a stew, chef Ajeen Beckford of Toronto says. "Dice and cook the conch in hot water for about 1.5 hours or until soft. Once soft, add your favourite vegetables and spices," he says. "A touch of tomato paste can help to add a bit of acid and bring the flavours along nicely." Serve with bammy, a form of flat bead made form cassava that can be found in any Caribbean grocery store.
The Meal: Bake and saltfish: This popular Trinidadian meal is a classic Caribbean-style breakfast made with fried dough and salted cod stir fry, Beckford says.
The Swap: Don't fry your dumplings. Instead, swap them for a boiled version, Beckford says. "Use whole wheat flour with cold water... boil for 20 minutes in hot water." Fry the fish with canola oil and veggies, onions and tomato juice if it gets too dry.
The Meal: Stew peas and dumplings:
A popular Jamaican dish made with beef, pig tail and beans, Beckford says it isn't necessarily unhealthy, but can be made a bit healthier.
The Swap: When you're cooking, swap out the pig tail for chicken breast instead, Beckford says.
The Meal: Rundown: This Jamaican stew is usually made with a type of fish (red snapper in this photo) and coconut milk.
The Swap: For a healthier rundown dish, Beckford says try sautéed mackerel with an abundance of tomatoes and onions.
The Meal: Jerk anything: Jerk chicken, jerk pork, jerk fish — you name it — jerk spice is an essential part of Jamaican cooking. While jerk chicken is more known to North Americans, jerk pork is just as popular for people in Jamaica, Beckford says. "Not the healthiest choice but among the tastiest."
The Swap: "To make this tasty dish a little healthier, trim all the fat, and season and braise it until it is tender," he says. You can also finish off your meat on the grill.
Member of The Chef Alliance Honoured for French-Caribbean Cuisine
Posted February 6th 2014
Scarborough chef honoured for his French-Caribbean fusion cuisine
Scarborough Mirror By HILARY CATON,
insidetoronto.com, Feb 4th 2014
Ajeen Beckford was recently in Madrid, Spain to accept the prestigious International Hotel & Restaurant European Quality Award for Gastronomy.
“I came home from work and there was a letter there that said I’ve been selected,” said Beckford. “I was stunned. I was shocked, I didn’t expect it.”
Beckford, who lives in Scarborough’s McCowan Road and Sheppard Avenue area, has hosted various cooking shows around the GTA including appearing on the Food Network stage at Good Foods Canada, and the French Regional Gastronomy Festival in Guadeloupe.
He was honoured in Spain for his culinary skills in creating French-Caribbean fusion cuisine such as ackee soufflé.
This cooking combination has grown in popularity in the culinary world, according to Beckford.
“I was trained in classical French cuisine like every chef, really, for basic cooking. And coming to Canada sort of provided a notion that it would be very competitive cooking only French food because there are many trained chefs here,” said Beckford.
“So my approach to it was fusing Caribbean with the French (cuisine) and do it aggressively.”
Originally from Jamaica, Beckford got his start in the kitchen at a young age. He’s been submerged in the culinary world since he was 15 years old when he accidentally got a job in the kitchen at the Morgan’s Harbour Hotel in Port Royal, Jamaica while sneaking around the pool area one summer.
“A guy sitting around the bar called me over and asked me what I was doing there. And I said I was looking for a summer job,” recalled Beckford.
“He laughed and told me to go in the kitchen and see what I can do and maybe he’ll take me on for the summer. I went in and saw a person doing flambé, with fire coming out the pot and people cutting with knives so fast and I was like ‘whoa!’”
He started working in the mornings and as the years went by he was already working the evening shifts as well.
Beckford worked in the kitchen there for four years until he decided to work as a chef on a cruise ship for six months. An experience he credits for his foray into fusion cuisine.
“When I was there I saw Thai cuisine, French cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine and different variations of cooking and even cooking in bulk” said Beckford.
“It reshaped me and allowed me to shape the way I cook, now. (Working on a cruise ship) It’s no joke, really. It’s a lot of work.”
All that dedication and hard work has paid off, not only has he become a successful chef in his home country of Jamaica, becoming the personal chef for boxing legend Lennox Lewis from 2006-2008. Beckford said he had applied to work at the Tryall Club in Montego Bay, and was called in for an interview, or cooking demo.
“And right on the spot I was told, ‘You nailed it’ and I was hired,” said Beckford.
He was there seven days a week for Lewis who had one challenging request. He had no desire to eat the exact same dish twice.
He wanted Beckford to be creative with his meals and do variations.
“He’s spontaneous. It was challenging at first, but it has helped me to be more creative and master my craft. So it kept me on the edge to keep creating dishes as I go,” said Beckford. “Garlic filet mignon with a cream sauce was his favourite dish.”
Since then, Beckford has created his own catering business entitled Professional Caterers that focuses on French Caribbean fusion cuisine.
He said he plans to work on a GTA tour this summer, giving people a chance to get a taste of French-Caribbean cuisine through classes and shows.
Member of The Chef Alliance Member Honoured in Guadaloupe
Posted July 19th 2012
The 4th Regional Festival of Culinary Arts in Guadeloupe: Honouring Cuisine from the Caribbean
With the participation of Guadeloupe Chef, Claude Strazel of "Table of Lena,", and the presence of two big names in the gastronomy of the Caribbean: Ajeen Beckford*, Jamaican talented young chef and Jose Enrique, Puerto Rican leader known, the Regional Festival of Culinary Arts and Gastronomy intends to register strongly in the quality and refinement this year .
The festival will also be honoured with the Guadeloupean finalist in the second season of the show "Master Chef" of TF1, Jeff Antus.
This very popular event will be particularly rich in entertainment and culinary arts. Indeed, everything will be implemented to the delight of many visitors who, like previous editions, will rush to the gates of the festival.
"My specialty is Caribbean-French fusion cuisine"
Chef Ajeen is a talented Chef, who has been prominent on the Toronto food scene since he arrived from the Caribbean several years ago. His interest in cooking started at an early age, and he has been winning culinary awards and accolades ever since - not only in Canada, but in the Caribbean and in Europe as well.
He is always eager to please any palate, working with each client to meet their unique needs and taste. His clients include a world famous boxer, for whom he was a Personal Chef before coming to Canada.
Ontario, the Toronto area
(including Toronto, Markham, Whitby, Scarborough, Ajax, Pickering, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Newmarket, Aurora, Mississauga, Maple, King City, Unionville, ...)
To contact the Chef for more information or for an event booking, please click here.
Please quote AB82224 to ensure that we connect you with the right Chef.
Culinary Services Provided
Private Dinner Parties
Does this Chef have Liability Insurance
NO - Personal Chef liability insurance has not been purchased by this Chef. Book at your own risk.