Late Summer Sabbatical (by way of Havana)
Chef Whitney Otawka shares her favorite scenes from a summer spent southward, at home and abroad, through the lens of a 35mm disposable camera.
View from my rental in Old Havana
Hemingway’s home is named Finca Vigía, or ‘lookout farm.’ It is located in the small town of San Francisco de Paula, less than 10 miles from Havana.
Hemingway's typewriter in his office, "The Tower.” This is the same room in which he kept a telescope to spy on Ava Gardner in the swimming pool.
My sister and I (touristas)
El Chanchullero, a restaurant in Old Havana. Pictured, camaron al ajillo.
Cohiba, Fidel’s cigar of choice. I got them from a guy who knew a guy. This guy was also a Santeria priest and performing a cleansing when I was there to get the cigars. This picture could be a short story!
Me and my prized Cohibas
Cortado, my drink of choice in Cuba. Coffee is the city’s lifeblood. I have since been trying to perfect my own Cuban coffee at home. I have a moka pot, and I’m working on perfecting my espuma.
*espuma: [e̞sˈpu.ma] Spanish; froth or foam.
A produce market in old Havana. The selection was usually limited but the produce available was very high quality.
Old cars in Havana
Horse and carriage in front of a gas station. Ironic.
The Lucy Ferguson, the private boat to and from Cumberland.
Horses on Cumberland. I’ve lived there so long I actually have names for them. Oscar Meyer is in the foreground. The other horse is his mom, Sandra.
‘Chicken of the Woods’ mushrooms. Laetiporus. So good and only available via foraging.
It’s my dear, sweet Penny. She passed away just 3 weeks ago at the age of 16. She has been my companion since she was 3 months old. She has lived a Chef's life and became quit the gourmand is her late years. She loved roasted chicken night. She would often sit and watch Ben and I cook in the kitchen. I miss her so.
Recipe testing for my cookbook—-clams with fennel and cream. They were delicious.
Okra grown here on the coast, being tested for a recipe.
And of course, local shrimp
Where I sit and write. My “office”— the porch of an old sea captain’s house in Fernandina. I like to sit outside when I write, even in 90 degree weather.
Salt marshes of Cumberland Island
Whitney Otawka is an award-winning chef and cookbook author. When she’s not cooking up at storm at her remote island outpost The Greyfield Inn, she is seeking out adventure and food from across the globe. Her first cookbook, The Saltwater Table, will be released with Abrams in Fall 2019.