Yvette Thompson’s earliest childhood memory of her being in the kitchen involves making oatmeal cookies with her late grandmother Orien Bodie because she could simply stir the cookie ingredients with a spoon and drop them to be baked. Today, Thompson does it all – cakes for weddings, birthdays as well as assorted pastries such as eclairs, cream puffs, mango mousse, tiramisu and gluten free and dairy free desserts. She also takes pride in having mastered Bahamian desserts and keeping the authenticity alive.
Thompson looks forward to the month of Bahamian Independence and taking to her kitchen to make quintessential Bahamian desserts and invited The Nassau Guardian into her kitchen which she refers to as her “emporium”, as she whipped up classic treats like boiled guava duff in the sack, coconut tart, pineapple tart, and the coconut Jimmy which she said is one of those desserts from her childhood that many have forgotten, but that is making a big comeback – and all in ode to the Bahamian Independence celebration. To wash it all down, she prepared a fever grass tea with ginger and a twist of lime.
For her, she said its extra special for her to whip up Bahamian treats in her kitchen which she refers to as “Yvette’s Emporium.”
“On July 10, 1973, I was at Clifford park dressed in my orange and white A.F. Adderley School uniform, marching for Independence – and that makes me excited every Independence to make Bahamian desserts.”
She was age 10 when she was allowed to make her first Bahamian dessert, which was a guava duff.
Thompson recalls saving her lunch money and taking to the kitchen to experiment and bake the things that she felt like making.
“When I was a child, I had a brother, [former Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Davy Rolle] who always said to me – ‘one day, you’re going to be a pastry chef’ – because I always liked making pastries.”
She perfected her skills and nothing escaped her. She did it all, coconut tart, pineapple … coconut Jimmy, a Bahamian dessert that showcases coconut in a dumpling application, and is boiled, which she said for a while was a forgotten treat, but is now making a comeback.
And she delights in putting her own twist to whatever she makes.
Thompson is hounded for her assorted pastries to which she puts her twist to make them extra special. An éclair could end up with coconut added to it.
Thompson has enjoyed cooking/baking lessons so much that she has taken a course at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating in Chicago, which she said allowed her to broaden her horizons when it came to the kitchen.
When not making treats, at the moment she takes pride in being a housewife and grandmother. And she takes a delight in keeping authentic Bahamian kitchen culture alive.