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Corner Brook getting a Taste of Jamaica


Raymond Thomas is bringing the flavours and traditions of Jamaica to this province.

Restaurant owner Raymond Thomas says Navigate small business coaching was instrumental in getting his business off the ground.
Dorian Nijdam/The Western Star

Thomas hopes to open his new restaurant, Taste of Jamaica, later this summer on Broadway in Corner Brook.

He says some of the cuisine he’ll be serving may be more familiar than Newfoundlanders might expect. Because of the long history of trade between the two island nations, many of the foods that people here are used to eating at home will be present, albeit used in very different ways.

Much of the Caribbean relied on Newfoundland exports for sustenance for the better part of 300 years. Cod would be sent in oak barrels, which would be emptied and returned full of rum. This exchange brought Newfoundland its signature drink, screech, and Jamaica its national dish, ackee and saltfish. It is described as being somewhat similar to a cod omelet, but contains no eggs.

Of course, not all the fare will be comparable to traditional Newfoundland food. Though the exact menu won’t be developed until the chef arrives this fall. Jamaica is known for drawing culinary influences from all the nations it visited. Jamaican food is heavily spiced, and traditionally quite spicy. Thomas said the restaurant would be toning down the heat for the local audience.

In addition to Jamaican food, the restaurant will feature dishes from many other Caribbean nations, and other countries around the world. Thomas hopes to appeal to travellers, students and people with fond memories of the islands, though at the end of the day he wants his restaurant to be for everyone.

The head chef, Kirk Myers, is currently in Jamaica seeking a Canadian work permit, and was unavailable for comment. He expects to be in the country next month, and he and Thomas hope to have their doors open by the end of August.

Taste of Jamaica’s recipe for ackee and saltfish

Ingredients:

1 tin ackee

1 clove garlic

2 stalks green onion

1 medium yellow onion

2 springs thyme

1/2 pound salt cod, boiled and soaked overnight

4 tablespoons cooking oil

1. Break up salt cod into flakes.

2. Chop garlic, onion and herbs fine, mix with cod and saute in a pan.

3. Drain and add the ackee

4. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve with rice or bread.

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