Wanting to experience the Caribbean cuisine of Antigua during a cruise port of call, my husband and I joined a small, hands on cooking class called Nichole’s Table. Over four hours, we created a delicious lunch that we later enjoyed on the veranda of the chef’s home overlooking St. John’s Harbor.
When traveling, I love learning about the culture and flavors of a destination by experiencing its food. Whether it is roaming food markets, tasting local dishes in a restaurant or learning recipes in a cooking class, I end up having a memorable and tasty visit. On a recent two week Caribbean cruise on the Seven Seas Splendor, one of our ports of call was St. John’s, Antigua. After docking and being greeted with music from a local steel drum band, most passengers headed off on tours of the island or to one of the island’s white sand beaches to enjoy the turquoise water and perhaps try a fruity rum punch.
My husband and I opted to join a small group of food enthusiasts to take part in a culinary tour. We had been on a wait list for almost a year to attend a tour called Nicole’s Table, A Taste Of Antigua And The Caribbean, a four hour cooking class in the lovely home of Chef Nicole Arthurton Dennis and her husband Adam.
A short taxi ride from the cruise pier brought us up to their beautiful hill top home overlooking St. John’s Harbor and the Caribbean Sea. On a clear day, you are able to see the islands of Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts off in the distance. We were graciously welcomed into their Caribbean style home which is surrounded by lovely tropical gardens. In keeping with island style, high ceilings and doors that open to Caribbean breezes coming from the huge veranda that runs the length of their house, keeps their home cool. Outside, the veranda offers stunning views and is filled with pretty tropical potted plants, colorful couches and a long custom made wooden table where we would later enjoy the lunch that we participated in cooking.
Before beginning our class, Nicole told us that she started her cooking career working in her parent’s restaurant in Montserrat when she was a young girl. Later she worked for six years as a private chef on the exclusive island resort of Jumby Bay before she began offering cooking classes in her home.
She chatted about the different foods and ingredients of Antigua, including the black pineapples and sweet bananas grown on the island, as we did simple tasks, chopping and dicing ingredients, preparing the different dishes we would be having for our lunch. Afterwards, the large meal was served family style, spread out across the long table on the veranda. We all sat down together, sipping rum punch and chatting over the delicious Caribbean dishes we had learned to make. At the end of our class, recipes in hand, our taxi driver returned and took us back to our waiting ship.
For our three course lunch, we prepared green plantain chips and spicy buffalo shrimp with garlic aioli for appetizers, blackened fish tacos with a spicy slaw, tostones, and red beans and rice for our main course and ended with coconut custard tarts.
People have asked which of the ten islands we visited was our favorite and while they all had their similarities and differences, I think I will remember Antiqua as being the island where I had the most fun. If you are a foodie like myself and will be visiting Antiqua, I believe that you would enjoy taking one of the several different cooking classes offered at Nicole’s Table. Nicole is an excellent cook who willingly shares her tips, shortcuts and the secrets she has learned about cooking simple yet delicious Caribbean food. You will leave St. John’s, Antigua, having had not only a good time and a delicious meal but with simple island recipes that you can enjoy once you return to your home.
90 thoughts on “Nicole’s Table, A Taste Of Antigua And The Caribbean”
What fun, Karen! That is exactly the kind of experience I love — and the setting was stunning!
Hi David, Nicole’s cooking class was lots of fun and the location was stunning. It was so nice that she welcomed us into her home, it was the first time she had resumed holding a cooking class since the start of Covid.
That looks like great fun and what a stunnng view across the bay!
Hi Mad Dog, the day couldn’t have been nicer. A fun class, enjoying good food on the veranda with newly made friends and going away with new recipes to prepare at home. It was the most enjoyable tour we had on our cruise.
I was there back in my Navy days. Remember the beer more than the food 🙂
You gave me a chuckle John but then Wadadli, is one of the best known beers in the Caribbean. 😁
What an amazing experience! Gorgeous view of St. John’s Harbor, Karen.
Hi Angie, It was a wonderful experience. We were so happy when we cleared the waiting list once Nicole started holding cooking classes again.
What a great way to experience another culture or country, after all the world revolves around food! It sounds like an amazing and wonderful experience!
I agree with you Jenna, about food, we’ve been known to travel many a mile to experience a good meal. The cooking class was a wonderful experience, actually the best tour of the 10 ports we stopped at during our 14 day cruise.
What a fabulous experience. Did you get the recipes? That coconut pie look drool worthy.
Hi Bernadette, it really was a wonderful experience. Yes, we did get the recipes. The coconut custard tart was delicious…perhaps I should do a post on it and share the recipe.
You absolutely should. It would be just in time for Easter.
Looks like a beautiful place to visit.
Hi Jovina, We couldn’t have picked a lovelier spot to visit for a cooking class. Nicole and Adam’s home island home has the most wonderful view and beautiful tropical landscaping.
What a great get-away!! I love that you worked in a culinary tour—so fun!!
Hi Liz, Our cruise couldn’t have been better. We didn’t think we would be taking the cooking class because Nicole had stopped doing them when Covid was at its worst. We were thrilled to get a notice from Regent a week before we sailed that she had started her cooking lessons once more. 😊 It was so much fun!
Best excursion ever! One of the best things about travel is the eating. 🙂 This sounds like so much fun. Great pictures! Thanks.
I totally agree with you John, enjoying new foods while traveling is one of the best experiences you can have. Learning new tips and secrets about cooking Caribbean food from a chef in her own home was “priceless”. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, thank you.
What a great thing to do. I too love learning about the local food. Once in Provence, I attended a cooking class in the chef’s home. It was so much fun and the food was exceptional. I still make some of the recipes.
Hi Darlene, It truly is a great way to learn and experience the local foods of the new places you visit.
Sounds like such fun and tasty experience! 🙂
Hi Ronit, it was both…we had such a pleasant day.
What a wonderful experience! Delicious food and by presentation.
It was a wonderful experience Amy and I came away with a couple of new recipes.
The longer I am in Florida the more of the tropical flavors and ingredients I discover and learn to love. Nichole’s looks wonderful and I would love to take that class and eat the homework. I would love to read the bean recipe.
Hi Amelia, Yes indeed, we did get to eat our homework and it was delicious. 😊 The beans and rice were very good, I’ll definitely try and share the recipe in the weeks ahead.
That looks like such a fabulous experience. I’m afraid though that I’d just pour myself a glass of wine and sit on the patio taking in the views (and wait for the others to serve me 🙂 ).
You gave me a chuckle Janis, that is exactly what my husband did except instead of wine, he enjoyed a rum punch as he visited with Nicole’s husband. 😁
That sounds like so much fun! I would have done that for sure!
Penny, it was the best excursion we participated in during our two week cruise.
That would’ve been my cup of tea!
You would have really enjoyed it Linda, as a matter of fact the two of you would have loved the entire cruise.
Sounds and looks like a wonderful experience, Karen. You really look the part.
Hi Sylvia, the cooking class was a wonderful experience, thank you.
What a fun experience. There is no better way to learn more about a culture than through the food and language. Everything looks delicious and glad you were able to do this together with your hubby.
Hi Bobbi, I couldn’t agree with you more and we both enjoyed spending the day cooking and eating with Nicole.
What a fabulous way to experience the island!
We thought so Dorothy. While others may have seen more of this particular island, we had a beautiful view, learned about Antigua and enjoyed delicious food.
I’m certainly going to keep this in mind!
The photograph of the bay is breathtaking. The water looks so good.
I can only imagine how enjoyable the cooking class was and the enjoyment of eating lunch with Nicole and your classmates.
Thank you Gary, we really did enjoy the class. Nicole was a lot of fun and the food we cooked was terrific.
That looks like a meal — and an experience — of a lifetime. There’s nothing like cooking together, and dining together, to bring people together and cement friendships for years to come.
You are so right Carolyn, we will always remember Antigua and our cooking class whereas some of the other islands will start to blend together in our memories. 😊
What a great way to spend your time ashore. Bev just returned from two weeks in St Marten and had a great time.
Hi Larry, We really did enjoy this shore excursion. I know Bev had a good time but I know you are happy she is home again. BTW, I still can’t leave comments on your and so many other Blogger friends.
Wow! Such a beautiful place and delicious food!
Hi Pam, My husband and I really enjoyed visiting Antigua. With the views from Nicole’s lovely veranda while enjoying new dishes we had learned to cook, it couldn’t have been nicer. Thank you for stopping by for a visit, it is much appreciated.
A culinary tour sounds like so much fun! Thanks for sharing about this—hoping to go on a tour like that one day! 🙂
Nancy, I do hope you get a chance to do a food tour some day, this one was great fun.
Karen, that looks like a fabulous experience. The view is amazing. Yes, please do a post on the coconut tart and share the recipe!
Hi Pam, Our cooking adventure on Antigua was a very memorable day. I will be happily sharing the coconut tart recipe with everyone this weekend. 💕
What a perfect shore excursion! And I’ve never even heard of black pineapple! When we were in Captiva in January I was in love with the fruits at the farmer’s market!
Hi Inger, the black pineapple is a specialty on the island. Nicole says they stay green when ripe and don’t turn golden on the outside like other pineapples and are very sweet.
Iwould join the class for the views alone! What a beautiful spot to sit and dine! 😃 Cooking in a group must be fun too.
I think I would have to agree with you Cathy, the view was wonderful. The whole group really enjoyed sitting out on the veranda…eating delicious food just made it all the better.
How amazing you could do the hands on cooking class – something I want to do when we travel as well. I see you are all wearing masks. Was this compulsory or up to each person?
Hi Eva, we had a terrific time at the cooking class. In February, masks were required unless you were outside or sitting at a table eating both on our cruise as well as by the health authorities on Antigua. That was supposed to be changing on the 1st of March.
What fun!!! You look very happy. I can’t get over the view…
Hi Mimi, Nicole’s home does indeed have a beautiful view and we had a very enjoyable day cooking with her.
This sounds so perfect! I’ve always wanted to attend a destination cooking thing like that. What a terrific experience. And then just look at that fabulous environment. It sounds just terrific, Karen! (And thanks for coming by this past week. It was nice to see your visit and comment!)
Jeanie, I do hope you get a chance to attend a cooking class…perhaps on another visit to England. Thank you, I’m feeling better and trying to dedicate more time on the computer visiting my friends. 😘
What a great experience! It must have been so much fun creating and tasting the flavors of the Caribbean!
Jan, we had a great time and learned to prepare some delicious new dishes. I’ll be sharing a couple over time here as I think everyone will enjoy them.
What a great idea to take a cooking class on a trip! Looks like you had fun and a very delicious lunch, Karen!
Hi Kiki, It really was a fun experience. I wish we could have attended classes during our travels in Europe but unfortunately language has always been a problem. 😊
What I would give for an adventure like this! That sounds like the perfect trip to me. Sun, fun, and food!
Yes Hannah…sun, fun and delicious food describes our cooking class in Antigua perfectly. Hope you get a chance to do something similar in the future.
Wow I’ve never heard of Black Pineapple. Just looked it up thanks to you. Island treasure of the Antigua. What a great way to explore local ingredients and traditional dishes, with a view too!
Hi Sunny, yes I found it very interesting that black pineapple from Antigua are the sweetest and rarest variety there is. It was very good in the salsa we prepared.
Buffalo shrimp? Sounds devine!
Hi Amanda, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. The shrimp were a very tasty appetizer.
What a fun & tasty experience.
It certainly was Pam, we really enjoyed the experience.
How fun for you and what a beautiful place to learn the Caribbean style of cooking!
I’m still in awe over your suite on the ship!
You gave me a chuckle Nancy, I’m still in awe that we had that gorgeous suite as well. 😊 Nicole’s home was certainly a lovely place to earn about Caribbean style cooking.
Beautiful landscape and home, cooking fun, and a cruise – I’m thinking you picked a perfect destination.
Hi Judy, The Caribbean isn’t the first place someone living in Florida thinks about traveling to since the weather is similar with our experience was wonderful. It was so nice to get away and the cruise couldn’t of been better.
such gorgeous photos and food! what fun. it looks like a delightful experience.
We had a great time Sherry. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, thank you.
great food great photos!
Thank you Sherry. 💕
That looks like so much fun! Nice to get away! South Seas Breezes! 🌊 🌊 🌊 ☀️ 💖
Hi Eva, It was definitely nice to get away, two years without traveling was way too long.
I so love what youre doing Karen! Such a nice experience in a very nice place
Thank you Raymund, I’m so happy to know that you enjoyed following along on our adventure. 😊
That is so much fun, Karen! Love the way you share all about their culture and food. Thanks for a super post!