This Chef Really, Really Wants You to Eat Iguanas

Illustration by Hunter French. "In Cayman, we have a lot of diversity," says chef and longtime Grand Cayman resident Thomas Tennant. "Lots of people are willing to try forward-thinking things and they’re not afraid of a challenge or stigma." That mindset makes the Cayman Islands the ideal home for Tennant’s Tomfoodery Kitchen , a culinary concept offering the standard gamut of cooking demos and private catering—and also green iguana rillettes. This dish is part of a larger effort to eradicate environmentally destructive invasive species by transforming them into dishes with mainstream appeal. "Speculations on how they got here vary, but the green iguana is a serious problem," says Tennant about the scaly-tailed enemy of the state. "The main issue is that they can populate really quickly, take over spaces that the indigenous iguanas need, and destroy vegetation because they eat so much. Eat and poop, that’s all they do." The issue has real human implications, too. "Economically, it’s very damaging," Tennant emphasizes. " If you don’t have flowers you don’t get fruit, and if you don’t have fruit and produce you don’t have sustainable agriculture. You just don’t. How is a farmer going to live if all these iguanas […]

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