The delicacies of the Caribbean island have been brought to the local culinary scene at Taste of Jamaica by chef Kirk Myers. The Jamaican-born certified executive chef of the Culinary Institute of America brought 14 years of experience with him to Newfoundland last year. He has been sharing it with customers at the Broadway restaurant since Raymond Thomas opened the doors last summer.
The fusion restaurant offers a mixture of authentic Jamaican cuisine and contemporary foods that has not just brought local customers in, but people from all over Newfoundland and Labrador. With its reputation growing — including establishing a partnership with the Jamaican Tourist board — the menu and the experience is starting to reach beyond the eastern province’s borders.
Taste of Jamaica in Corner Brook was featured in the March edition of Jamaica Eats, Jamaica’s first international food magazine. Editor-in-chief Grace Cameron wrote the two-page spread about the local restaurant and the people who brought it to fruition.
The exposure it will bring throughout the Caribbean, Europe and Canada is exciting for Myers and the staff.
“It was a great feeling knowing that we are a new restaurant, with a new concept and being the only one of its kind here in Newfoundland to be creating waves,” Myers said Tuesday, taking a break from the kitchen.
It was that concept that lured Myers — who was previously an executive sous chef with Disney Cruises, and whose career includes working for resorts such as Sandals, Iberostar, Superclubs and Rosehall — to Newfoundland.
His recipe for Rengle Tengle is included with the article. The dish uses Newfoundland ingredients to create a new spin on classic Jamaican food. Of course, the recipe uses cod.
“It’s a cool feeling,” he said of having his recipe published.
Myers said the offer from Thomas to do something that had never been done before was enough to bring him to Corner Brook. They shared a vision for fusion cuisine, and local customers are being rewarded.
“I am still moved by how people are receptive to it,” he said. “People have had misconceptions that Jamaican food is very hot and very spicy. Once they come here, they have noticed it is not.”
Myers describes the menu as full flavour, well-cooked meals that are beautiful in presentation and also healthy.
“People come from all over for the experience,” he said. “That is what we want to create. Not just another restaurant, but an experience when you come.”
A part of that experience can also be learning to cook these delicacies yourself. Taste of Jamaica is now offering cooking classes.