Top Chef Alums and James Beard Nominees, Chef Janine Booth and Chef Jeff Mclnnis are a powerhouse husband and wife culinary team with restaurants throughout the US. After getting to taste their delicious food at Trova Coastal Kitchen at the Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort in Humacao, Puerto Rico, we decided to sit down with Chef Janine and chat about their food, Puerto Rico, her skincare brand and more!
Tell us a little about yourself?
Jeff was born in Florida while I was born in Australia! We are both chefs, we have restaurants all over the US from Miami, Puerto Rico, Indianapolis and our first restaurant was born in NYC. We have three little girls, Daisy, Sunny and Bryce who love to spend time in PR just like us! We all love to travel, eat good food and experience different cultures.
You have restaurants at both Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort and Wyndham Grand Rio Mar in Puerto Rico – what brought you to the island?
We have always loved the island life and Puerto Rico is a magical one! We first were invited to the island in 2017 to do a pop-up version of our restaurant brand Root & Bone at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar. It was such a success that we were invited to create Roots Coastal Kitchen, a concept specifically for the gorgeous property and since we had loved spending time in Puerto Rico so much it was a no brainer! Six years later we feel so blessed to have opened our second restaurant in PR, Trova Coastal Kitchen in the recently renovated Wyndham Palmas. Both areas of the island are so beautiful and have wonderful offerings, from the beaches, mountains, rainforests, activities and culture.
Describe how the culture influenced your menus and the aesthetic of your restaurants in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is such a gorgeously unique place! A mix of locals, visitors and it’s no wonder why we are seeing more and more people from the mainland US that have chosen to call the island home. Both of our restaurants have a coastal, beach side, sun soaked vibe and our menus reflect this, along with a representation of the melting pot of cultures and local ingredients.
Name three items on the menu at Trova Coastal Kitchen that you will always recommend.
Trova Coastal Kitchen has an exciting and eclectic menu with so many fun, bright and flavor packed dishes. Our falafel is made fresh daily using tons of fresh herbs which make these little nuggets of goodness bright green on the inside; paired with our house made hummus and tahini this is definitely a favorite amongst guests. The saffron Love Rice is a personal favorite, traditionally served at Persian weddings is layered with a complex flavor profile and textures of candied carrots, raisins, pomegranate and fresh herbs; this rice is set and heated in a cast iron pan creating a crispy and golden crust. The perfect way to finish a meal is with our island panna cotta with local mango and crispy kataifi.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you are in Puerto Rico (besides eating at your restaurants)?
We love to explore the local waterfalls in the El Yunque rainforest, swim and walk along the vast beaches and drink a cocktail by the pool at either of the Wyndham properties. You can’t go wrong with any of these options!
We heard you also have a wellness brand, Sunny Side Up Lifestyle, can you tell us about how it came to be? What’s your favorite product?
Sunny Side Up technically began when I started making hand scrubs for our guests for our restaurants. Each of our restaurants in Miami have a different recipe (Stiltsville Fish Bar – coconut key lime, Mitalia Kitchen + bar – meyer lemon + olive oil, Root & Bone – lemon, mint + sweet tea). We had such great feedback from the guests that we started selling the hand scrubs in the restaurants and they were a hit! Through COVID when all of the restaurants were shut down and I was pregnant with our third daughter Daisy, (and going a little crazy at home) I decided to create a whole line of natural skin care products that smell and feel amazing, from cleansing oils, body oils, hand and body scrubs and face masks and name it Sunny Side Up. It’s hard to pick a favorite product but the hand and body scrubs are pretty wonderful if you like to exfoliate and moisturize at the same time, The Dive Deep cleansing oil is great at the end of a long day to take off every last bit of make-up and the Glow Oil is the perfect all over face and body nourishment after a warm shower.