Chef JJ Johnson has made a name for himself in New York. With a flagship Harlem restaurant, Fieldtrip, founded in 2019 featuring signature bowls, he’s certainly made a splash. It’s not just bowls to JJ, his focus goes all the way to the land where the food is farmed using rice as a jumping off point to start a sort of delicious community focused discourse. His mantra, ‘Rice is Culture’ was born out of Chef JJ’s “realization that rice connects us and can be found at the center of tables in almost every community. For us, rice is a journey to new parts of the globe.”
Which is why his limited chef residency at Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection feels like a natural fit. The year long residency dubbed the Taste of Auberge: Flavors of Malliouhana will feature multiple chefs in a year long series of offerings. Chef JJ’s residency features multiple ways to celebrate with his visit to Anguilla a nod to the global community he cultivates. Malliouhana’s mission is to bring the best of Anguilla to the island’s visitors by melding the local ingredients with inspired new takes. As the first chef in the vaunted residency, Chef JJ brings Fieldtrip’s mission to the island which includes using local seafood sourced directly from the fishermen.
While the Taste of Auberge: Flavors of Malliouhana, will run with Chef JJ at the helm until April 8th with a slew of talented chefs on deck to marry the vastness of international flavors with local ingredients. The kick off event, a Rum & Recess Bonfire, included skewered and chargrilled local shrimp, chopped kale salad and braised oxtail dumplings. To wash it down, the McBride sisters own selections of Black Girl Magic wines and rum tastings as the sun set. The celebration was full of beachside bliss, artisan rum, and even a live cooking demo where Chef JJ broke down a locally caught Caribbean fish-of-the-day which was quickly transformed into blue coconut milk ceviche. While the partnership was a no-brainer for the chef whose menu draws upon the Caribbean flavors present in his own upbringing, the white sand and crystal blue skies felty like a natural accompaniment.
A follow up Beach Party at Leon’s on Meads Bay kept the party going with yakitori-style nibbles and signature cocktails. Stellar views paired with stellar food and plenty of spaces to linger until way past sunset. Sunday brought a sit-down family-style Southern Soulful Brunch with rum punch cocktails and signature Chef JJ Johnson dishes.
The award winning Chef JJ Johnson’s work has resulted in a James Beard Award for Best Author as well as Zagat 30 under 30 and a double stint as Best New Restaurant of the Year Winner in Esquire Magazine. He’s now making moves to expand his Fieldtrip brand with new outposts of his restaurant and a line of sauces and available on retail. You can find Fieldtrip in its original incarnation on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, Rockefeller Center and the Jacx office complex in Long Island City.