By Faye-Chantelle Mondesir
The Launch of a Transformational Publication
Orlando Satchell, Saint Lucian-based British expatriate and international chef specialising in Caribbean cuisine, is one of a hundred black voices speaking about the age-old plague of racism in Great Britain. ‘Still Breathing - 100 Black Voices on Racism, 100 Ways to Change The Narrative’ is a collection of racially unjust and demoralising experiences of prominent professionals with a connection to the United Kingdom residing worldwide. These socially established and esteemed speakers made their contributions to this compilation as global activists, with the hope of racism becoming a social setback of the past.
The Minds and Voices Behind The Book
Authored and edited by Suzette Llewellyn of the popular British soap opera EastEnders and Suzanne Packer of the BBC medical drama Casualty — the aim is to enlighten readers about the harsh reality of racism conveyed through the contributors’ personal encounters. Its timely release is highly significant, emerging as a most welcome breath of fresh air — in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, among other unlawful and purposeless murders of black people.
The Catalyst of This Masterpiece
The book successfully makes a very bold, loud and crystal-clear statement against irrational racial violence worldwide, offering everyone personal insight and an intimate perspective on this abuse. The unfortunate demise of 46-year-old black man George Perry Floyd on May 25th of 2020, captured the attention of people globally. Outraged bystanders witnessed Floyd’s untimely murder while being arrested.
The Impact of An Untimely Slaying
Captured on camera, this appalling footage went viral via social media. The rest of the world, having been emotionally affected — engaged in protests in the expression of their disapproval, astonishment, sadness and anger. This was triggered by both the reality and frustration of this incident being yet another heinous act against humanity.
A Transitional Moment In History
What qualified the Floyd incident as outstanding and different, was the presence of witnesses, coupled with the fact that the act was captured on camera — availing footage which would later be utilised as evidence in court. The notion that this was not the first and would not be the last — is what drove the world to intently focus on the eradication of these injustices against black people and the crude curtailing of their lives. Orlando Satchell, an English-born chef of over 40 years, resident in Saint Lucia — has since made his contribution to this British publication to assist in the quest to accomplish this.
The Prominent People Who Spoke Out
The collection of contributors include musicians, members of Parliament, poets, artists (including Saint Lucian-born Fiona Compton, former late Saint Lucian Prime Minister John Compton’s daughter), athletes, civil servants, doctors, lawyers among other prominent social figures. Highlighting individual accounts of the Windrush period, subsequent workplace experiences and racial riots, this assembly of encounters are education-focused, with the dual intent of providing relatability to readers. This life-changing and mind transforming book offers the hope of breaking the cycle to achieve a more uplifting, all-inclusive future in Great Britain and by extension, worldwide.
Relatable Stories For The Reader
The interesting and life-changing piece provides readers with the opportunity to view life from the position of the speakers themselves, being better positioned to relate to such inhumane behaviour and change their approach toward their counterparts. It aims to sensitise readers, drawing awareness to these common dispiriting encounters.
History of a Culinary Celebrity
Still cooking for well over 40 years, the celebrity chef who is internationally connected, thought it his societal and civic duty to share his experiences about racial divides for several reasons. As a young chef commencing his culinary journey, he was treated indifferently. Having been born in Birmingham, England and being the offspring of black Caribbean parents, Chef Orlando was raised in an environment of mixed ethnicity.
A Famous Black Chef’s First Racist Encounter
His first employment opportunity in England was at a hotel. There, he was the only employee of colour. This made him the recipient of some ridicule and verbal abuse, being called discriminatory names by his colleagues. Chef Orlando further shares an astonishing experience with readers which occurred while still in Britain.
Orlando Satchell’s Racial Breakthrough
Having later migrated to Saint Lucia to work at a famous five-star hotel, he highlights the initial transitional challenge of inclusiveness as part of the team. Chef Orlando later settled on-island to establish his business, Orlando’s Restaurant & Bar. He has since welcomed and hosted customers from around the world, eliminating the racial divide by using cuisine, multifaceted conversation and excellent hospitality as catalysts.
A Must-Read of the 21st Century
This ground-breaking book is a must-read publication of the century. I strongly believe everyone should have in their possession a copy, because the value of this literature far exceeds its engaging and fascinating accounts shared by the contributors, changing the former racial narrative.
‘Still Breathing’ can help transform mindsets and overall perception of life — also positively impact people’s receptivity toward others of different races, cultures and nationalities. While this riveting book makes waves globally, the ‘Celebrity Chef’ continues to cook up a storm in Orlando’s Restaurant & Bar kitchen, keeping his customers of varying colours and cultural backgrounds fully satisfied with his world-class Caribbean cuisine.
Words from Chef Orlando Satchell
The talented Caribbean Chef is happy to be an inspiration to many globally as a contributor. ‘Still Breathing’ aims to create a world of respect for all, with its speakers having provided a clear understanding of the importance of this attribute in society. “This book was accelerated because of George Floyd, the timing allowed us to observe injustices around the world. Racism is not defined by sports, acting or other career choices, it is an institution which transcends globally and is often conquered by one’s ability to supersede one’s racial or cultural position,” affirms the culinary veteran.
The Silver Lining
The hardcopy book will be available directly from Chef Orlando or currently ordered online, available in both ebook and audiobook formats. Proceeds go to the Ashdon Jazz Academy and will transform the lives of vulnerable young women in Britain. The academy is a charity founded by Tricia Muirhead, after her 14-year-old daughter Ashton Muirhead ended her life due to pressures at school, racism and identity challenges.