Lifestyle

Cocktails With... Winnette McIntosh Ambrose

Sunday, July 07, 2019

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Imagine our surprise when we found out that Cupcake Wars/Chopped champion and restaurateur Winnette McIntosh Ambrose would be joining us at the recent 50th Rum Bash for Professor John Paul Clarke. The mother and engineer-turned-entrepreneur, listed as Clarke's good friend, was on The Rock for the first time and brought several of her world-renowned macarons for the birthday boy. In between sips of Appleton Estate rum, a tête-à-tête with Ambrose unfolds...

 

Home is...

Where my family is! I live in Washington, DC, but for me, 'home' is Trinidad and Tobago.

 

What's your favourite thing to do in your hometown?

I grew up in east Trinidad. Tunapuna is the town where I spent my pre-teen to teen years. My parents still live there. My favourite thing to do in Tunapuna is probably walking down to the Tunapuna market to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables.

 

Little known facts about Tunapuna...

We have a massive number of Chinese restaurants per square mile. I am not sure what the exact number is, but every time I am home, it seems as though a new one is popping up!

 

Name one icon from Tunapuna...

Renowned West Indian historian CLR James was born in Tunapuna.

 

What do you love about James?

His inherent duality! He was as much known for his political advocacy as he was for his authorship of what some regard as the best book, on any sport, ever written: Beyond A Boundary, the world's seminal work on the sport of cricket.

 

You're en route to work. What are you usually listening to?

I usually walk to work and typically opt for a quiet, but brisk walk! However, we do drive our kids to school and they choose the entertainment! Typically, we listen to children's stories or songs in French.

 

MTA or Uber?

Uber.

 

Name your favourite place to stay in Jamaica, and why?

Believe it or not, this past May was my first time, ever, in Jamaica. We really enjoyed our stay at the Hyatt Ziva in Montego Bay.

 

Where do you go to relax and unwind?

In Europe, I love Paris. In Asia, Bali. In Trinidad, an escape to Tobago cannot be beat.

 

Who do you call for a good time in your hometown?

My cousins (Gillian and Arianne) or Marsha, one of my two best friends from high school.

 

What is your next big project at work?

Expansion into a new production space and retail café/restaurant.

 

What's that one thing you reference for inspiration, and why?

My travels around the world. Because there is nothing as eye-opening or perspective-changing as stepping out of your context and experiencing other cultures!

 

Who is your hero?

My maternal grandmother, Geraldine Fraser. At 24 years old, she left St Vincent, braving rough seas with her two young children, to join her husband in Trinidad. My grandfather died when she was in her early 40s, leaving my grandmother and their five children behind. Today, my family represents, in so many ways, the product of her decades-long investment in nurturing, educating and whole-heartedly supporting her family. Her priorities were clear: faith, compassion and education. She passed away at the age of 91, about one month before I defended my doctoral thesis.

 

I am the woman I am because...

...of how my parents raised me and ultimately because I find my worth, not in what I have accomplished, but in what Christ accomplished on the cross for me.

 

Cupcakes or macarons?

Why choose?! I go for the best of both worlds: The Sweet Lobby's signature MacTop, a cupcake topped with a macaron!

 

Heels or flats?

Heels in my dreams, flats in reality!

 

Coffee break or water break?

Water break!

 

Go-to restaurants in DC, and why?

Seki – amazing Japanese fare from a father-daughter team. Reminds me of my time living in Japan.

Himitsu: also Japanese-inspired

Barmini: phenomenal cocktails

Cane: a recently-opened spot featuring Caribbean street food! Owned by one of my two best friends from high school in Trinidad – Jeanine, and her brother Peter Prime. Hands-down the best Caribbean food in DC!

 

Share one piece of advice for a Cupcake Wars/Chopped competitor.

Stay true to the flavours and techniques you know well!! Do not try to be something that you are not just for the sake of competition! Be yourself in word and deed!


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