Born in Jamaica Virginia Burke grew up learning to cook from her mother, but her interest and expertise with the food of the land was sharpened by her work. This involved creating artwork for labels and branding for a community based sauce and spice company in rural Jamaica. She developed a number of simple recipes and travelled throughout North America and Europe to introduce the delicious flavours and cuisine of her homeland to the uninitiated.
Walker’sWood was the first company to export Jerk Seasoning and Virginia’s mission was to
work with foreign chefs and foodies, teaching them how to properly use the spices and cooking techniques to get it right. Over 20 years, she reached out through lively cooking shows on television, (for example Food Network, ABC, ITV), on radio, (Martha Stewart Living Radio) and through print media interviews and presentations (NYT, Washington Post, MACO). Her work with journalists included photo shoots, articles with recipe development for publications (Bon Appetit, Chile Pepper, National Geographic Traveller). She did cooking demonstrations for supermarket promotions, guest appearances at festivals like Food & Wine (Aspen Co.), (St. Lucia Food & Rum) and international food shows like BBC Good Food (Birmingham), SIAL (Paris), and Fancy Food (NYC).
She is the author of 2 cookbooks “Walker’sWood Caribbean Kitchen” and “Eat Caribbean” both published by Simon & Schuster UK. In preparation, she explored several Caribbean islands to develop a broader understanding of how this Afrocentric cuisine developed and diverged under British, French, Spanish, Dutch, Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Indigenous influences throughout the region.
Her latest passion is taking her deeper into Jamaica’s food heritage.