Words and Photos by Erin MacLeod
Tropical climate, lush, green mountains, and access to the ocean make Jamaica a paradise for tourists, but also a tasty destination for folks who love food. Jacqui Sinclair, Melanie Miller and Leisha Wong made this fact deliciously clear, with the first edition of their Kingston Kitchen pop-up food events this past Sunday afternoon. They call it an “artisan open-air food court and food market series,” but it’s also a magazine and a concept. The women behind Kingston Kitchen (the slogan to which is “Love Yuh Like Cook Food”) want to encourage Jamaicans to appreciate the local flavors of the island—especially when working with local ingredients.
Kingston Kitchen began as an idea bandied about on Twitter, but has become so much more, well, flavorful. Sinclair, chef and columnist for the Jamaica Observer, journalist Wong and event planner Miller brought together the right combination of skills and abilities to draw legions of hungry Kingstonians to Hope Botanical Gardens on a Sunday afternoon.
From scotch bonnet pepper sauces, fall-off-the-bone ribs and spicy shrimp to moist vegan chocolate cake and sorrel chutney to ice cream from Crazy Jim, the Kingston Kitchen kick-off event had something tasty for everyone. The $300 JA ($3.50US) entry fee was a small price to pay to have such a wide range of food: Hellshire fried fish (from Aunt Merle’s) and Blue Mountain coffee are normally not in such close proximity. And it was interesting to see traditional treats like Christmas cake from Nicole’s alongside creative recipes like saltfish curry dip and spicy cucumber soup courtesy of Eat Caribbean author Virginia Burke.
The next event in the series will be in February, same time, same place…until then, do as Kingston Kitchenettes command: Eat Good.