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The True Story of Jamaican Jerk: Cooking and Caribbean Culture

Discover a taste for Jamaica with an introduction to authentic jerk cooking and its history.

415 enrolled on this course

A place with pieces of well seasoned jerk chicken

The True Story of Jamaican Jerk: Cooking and Caribbean Culture

415 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Explore Jamaican cuisine and how it is situated in a wider cultural context

Jerk is a style of cooking that originated in Jamaica but has become popular the world over. With its unique blend of spices used to marinade meat, fish, and vegetables, each mouthful conjures up an authentic taste of the Caribbean.

On this three-week course, you’ll gain a fascinating insight into the cultural heritage of this delicious food, guided by an experts from The University of the West Indies.

Discover the connection between Jamaican jerk food and the cultural heritage and history of the Caribbean

On this course, you’ll learn how jerk originated as a cooking method and explore how jerk seasoning developed over the centuries into the marinade we recognise today.

Examine Jamaican culture and sustainability with experts from the University of the West Indies

You’ll explore what factors led to the evolution of jerk’s flavours and ingredients, and discuss how the concepts of truth, authenticity, appropriation, creativity, and sustainability have impacted our understanding of Jamaican food.

With this knowledge, you’ll gain an appreciation of the importance of jerk food within Caribbean culture.

Perfect your own Jamaican jerk seasoning recipe and prepare delicious Caribbean food

Whether you’re a maverick in the kitchen or prefer tried and tested recipes, this course will allow you to showcase your cooking credentials.

By developing your own jerk seasoning or preparing jerked food from authentic ingredients, you’ll learn to make delicious meals, whether you prefer the classic jerk chicken or your tastes are more experimental.

By the end of this course, you’ll understand jerk cooking’s rich history in the context of Jamaican and Caribbean culture. You’ll have also gained the confidence to try your hand at cooking Jamaican jerk food for yourself whether at home or professionally.

What topics will you cover?

Culture and Heritage: Examining Truth, Authenticity, Creativity and Sustainability

Jerk: From Taino to Maroon to the General Jamaican Experience

What Is Jerk Today?

Make Your Own Jerk

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Assess the relationship among truth, authenticity, creativity and sustainability with respect to Jamaican Jerk
  • Discuss the value of cultural sustainability to small states
  • Situate the practice of jerking within the context of Jamaican cultural heritage
  • Create an original recipe for a jerked food
  • Prepare a jerked food using an existing recipe
  • Present evidence of the jerked food (a description, recipe or image)

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in Caribbean food and culture. The course would benefit chefs, cooks or workers in the hospitality sector, as well as anyone with a personal connection to the Caribbean.

No prior knowledge is necessary, simply an interest in jerk and Jamaican food and the wider culture.

Who will you learn with?

I'm passionate about the history of Jamaican food. I converted that passion into a Master of Arts degree in Heritage Studies and more recently, a PhD in History. Both studies relate to Jamaican food.

Who developed the course?

The University of the West Indies

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is the Caribbean’s premier, higher education institution. One of only two regional universities in the world, it comprises five campuses across the English-speaking Caribbean and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. The UWI stands among the top 1.5% of universities globally, following Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022.

  • Established

  • Location

    The West Indies

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 25 Mar 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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