To say that Bartlett’s Kitchen’s talented young Sous Chef, Stephanie Guzman, is passionate about her heritage, would be a serious understatement. When Stephanie isn’t working hard to make all of your favorite prepared foods at the Farm, she is spending time with her extended family on Nantucket cooking foods and sharing traditions that remind them of home. A longtime veteran of the Bartlett’s kitchen we look forward to Stephanie’s delicious Dominican cooking, whenever the inspiration strikes. You may even have tasted Stephanie’s Dominican influence our Friday night Chicken Dinners; Adobo marinated birds flavored with sour orange and garlic, served with fragrant rice and beans on the side or her outrageously good Chimi-Burger, topped with roasted tomatoes and salsa roja. This week, the Dominican Republic is celebrating their Independence day, and Stephanie has pulled out all the stops with five consecutive days of Dominican lunch specials  at the Farm (click here to see the menu). We hope you will try some of her great specials this week! Below, Stephanie gives us a little history behind the traditions:

“In the month of February, the Dominican Republic holds its annual Carnival dating back to the year 1520, when people used to dress as Moors and Christians after Spanish conquistadors brought the traditions over from Europe. February was established as the month of Carnival when the Dominican Republic gained its independence on February 27, 1844. The largest festivities are always held on the 27th with parades all over the country, the most extravagant taking place in  the capital city of Santo Domingo. Over the years, Carnival has evolved from a religious celebration of Lent, into a colorful celebration of culture and heritage. Every town has its own unique traditions and characters, but there are four major characters that appear throughout every Carnival-

Diablo Cojuelo “Limping Devil”- The carnival’s leading character. This “limping devil” wears a colorful cloaked suit adorned with small mirrors, rattles, ribbons, and cowbells, and a scary colorful mask. . A Dominican tale claims that the mask is meant to represent the Spaniards who came to the island and enslaved and whipped the natives.

Roba la Gallina “Hen Robber”-  A man dressed up in an extravagant, layered dress, with large-sized breasts and exaggerated posterior, and carrying an oversized purse. He parades in the streets with an open parasol, stopping at the stores begging for his chicks–the town’s young people–who follow along behind him in the parade.

Los Tiznaos- Represent the enslaved Africans.

Los Tainos- Represent the native of Dominican Origin.

This year’s celebrations were cancelled for the first time because of Covid, though many people are sad to miss one of our greatest traditions, we are happy that we can help protect our fellow neighbor.”