Caribbean Chef Helmi Smeulders


You often hear stories about people who leave their day jobs to pursue their dreams. Caribbean chef Helmi Smeulders did just that! Twenty years after she decided to venture into the culinary world, Helmi, a lawyer by trade and a chef by choice, is re-inventing the unique flavors of the Caribbean. Her style, creativity, imagination and continuous innovation have brought to life the modern Caribbean cuisine.

Between cooking classes, chef’s tables, dinners in the field and other culinary events Helmi finds time to travel the world; exploring the foods, cooking techniques and the latest trends. The love of travel is the thread running through Helmi’s story. It is what brought her to Curaçao, and it is what keeps her exploring the region; from Colombia to Trinidad and the Dominican Republic to Bonaire.

Helmi leads a culinary revolution by breaking down and applying new techniques to centuries-old recipes. Combined with her fierce belief in the quality of fresh and locally grown produce, the Caribbean kitchen is evolving from comfort to culinary, from traditional to modern.



The depth and breadth of Caribbean flavors are endless and Helmi is putting them on the map in a new light. To give you a first-hand experience Helmi hosts Caribbean cooking classes in her kitchen in Curaçao to teach and showcase the flavors and techniques of Caribbean cooking.


Prefer to sit back and relax? You can also join the Caribbean Chef in her kitchen for a Chef’s Table Experience. Helmi transforms her professional kitchen into a fine-dining restaurant – giving you a front-row seat for a feast of Caribbean delicacies. While the food is being prepped in front of you, matching wines flow abundantly. 


Once a month, Caribbean Chef Helmi Smeulders packs up her pots, pans, tables and chairs for a unique dinner at one of the plantations on Curaçao. An important part of this extraordinary culinary experience is to create more awareness for the local farmers, on an island where most things are imported. Guests enjoy a 4-course family-style dinner prepared with fresh produce from the field.


Join the Caribbean Cooking Holiday: a weeklong journey where foraging, cooking, eating and exploring are key. The program, created and led by Caribbean chef Helmi Smeulders, is filled with cooking classes, culinary hotspots, plantation visits, foraging in nature and experiencing island life off the beaten track. 


Chef Helmi Smeulders latest Caribbean cookbook is all about discovering the diversity and exploring the opportunities of Caribbean cuisine. Through the colorful recipes and stunning photography you will instantly find yourself on a Caribbean island, celebrating life in style with good food and loved ones.

This book offers plenty of culinary inspiration for those endless summer evenings, cozy family dinners or lazy days at the beach.

Modern Caribbean Flavors is one of the first cookbooks about the contemporary Caribbean kitchen. Besides delicious recipes, the book gives you a view into the authors island life, whether shes having a BBQ on the beach, dinner with friends in the garden or when buying tropical fruits at her neighbor’s plantation.

In this colorful and stylish book, Helmi shares her best recipes. Indulge yourself and cook with a dash of tropical passion!


“ Helmi Smeulders takes the Caribbean kitchen to a higher level.”
Jonnie & Thérèse Boer – 3- star Michelin restaurant De Librije

The day we spent with Helmi was the best day of our two weeks in Curacao. Helmi welcomed us into her beautifully spacious, bright kitchen with great warmth and hospitality. And best of all, we cooked. Really cooked. Abundant recipes and memories to take home to colder climes.”

Lauren on TripAdvisor about the Caribbean cooking class

“Chef Helmi Smeulders is the Curaçao queen of the Caribbean fusion kitchen”

Antilliaans Dagblad

A must go for foodies! What a great experience! Every time we go Helmi Smeulders surprises us with her creative take on modern Caribbean food. She cooks with local ingredients in an innovative way. The food is perfectly paired with the greatest wines. This is your chance to meet the locals and enjoy delicious food.”

Kristel on TripAdvisor about the Chefs Table


Helmi Smeulders brings food to life with the help of her camera. Most of the food photography and styling for her second cookbook Island Vibes the Joy of Caribbean Cooking, was done by herself – combining her passions with a honed sense of style.

Helmi’s food photos have been published in international magazines and newspapers. She works together with local and international restaurants, cookbook publishers and marketing agencies, working from her studio or on location.

Caribbean Chef Helmi Smeulders