FROM ST. LUCIA TO MANHATTAN, FROM MANHATTAN TO ASHEVILLE…
Esther Francis Joseph is an entrepreneur, Naturopathic Doctor, published author, world traveler and restaurateur. Born on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, she is a dog lover, a consummate business woman, and is health-conscious and has a life-long love of food.
Esther’s recipes are inspired by her memories of St. Lucia and the family dishes that helped keep her hopeful despite a hard and impoverished childhood. Her earliest professional aspiration was to become a chef and open up her own St. Lucian soul food restaurant. She graduated from Monroe College St. Lucia to further her dream with a degree in Hospitality Management.
Moving to Brooklyn in her teens, she went on to get a certificate in Restaurant Management from New York Food and Hotel Management School. One summer, Esther started a landscaping project with a friend in Manhattan. That project grew into a thriving 54-employee company. During that time, she also graduated from NYU with a BA in International Affairs, traveled extensively across three continents, and published three books: Memories of Hell, Visions of Heaven: A Story of Survival, Transformation and Hope; The Disciple’s Way; and Not A Secret Just Forgotten.
Esther went on to earn a Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) degree from Trinity School of Natural Health. Her lifelong interest in health and nutrition complements her passion for the essence of true soul food:
“It’s important to balance the enjoyment of tasty foods and eating healthy. Soul Food shouldn’t kill you. That’s why salads are so important in St. Lucian Cuisine. Our St. Lucian term “Food on a Plate” is actually a reference to the sides that come with the island’s main dishes. In St. Lucia it’s typically cucumber, tomato and avocado salads are always served on the side as well as fiber and nutrient rich yams and sweet potatoes.”
Esther moved to Asheville in 2011 and bought a small farm in Candler where she develops her green thumb and entertains the idea of raising goats. In the fall of 2016, Esther purchased the restaurant, Lex 18, and transformed it into Western North Carolina’s only St. Lucian-owned Caribbean restaurant, Calypso. Her passion for healthy soul food and island craft cocktails has been refreshingly embraced by the local community. Calypso features the amazing cultural diversity of St. Lucian cuisine inspired by French, African, and East Indian (West Indies) culture. Calypso’s famous rotis, bakes, curries, goat, and fish dishes are a distinctive variety.