Taste of Jamaica Fusion Restaurant Brings Jerk Chicken and authentic Jamaican Cuisine to Corner Brook
If you have ever visited the island of Jamaica, there is a pretty good chance that you have tasted jerk chicken. Now residents of Corner Brook, NL have an opportunity to taste authentic Jamaican jerk chicken thanks to the newly opened restaurant – Taste of Jamaica – and its owner Raymond Thomas. As a native of Jamaica, Thomas discovered the connection between his new home of Newfoundland and his homeland Jamaica. He decided to bring the cuisine and culture of where he grew up to the small Canadian province of Newfoundland through a contemporary fusion restaurant that he aptly named “Taste of Jamaica”.
“Jerk” refers to the way in which meat, whether it is chicken, beef or pork is both seasoned and cooked and this has become one of the specialty styles of cooking famous in Jamaica. This cooking style generally involves using a marinade or some form of rub that combines a variety of peppers and ingredients. Once the meat is marinated, it is generally slow cooked and smoked, allowing the flavours to be captured and absorbed into the meat. This technique for preparing food has its history in the Peruvian word “charqui” which represents dried strips of meat that resembles what many call traditional jerky throughout the world. The Jamaican technique expanded the process to include poking holes in the meat so that the spices and marinade could permeate the meat.
Jerk cooking can be traced to early settlers of Jamaica. The Arawak indians settled Jamaica over 2500 years ago from South America and they used similar techniques to both smoke and dry meat in the sun or over fire. This allowed the beef to not only be preserved and taken on hunting expeditions, it could be eaten as it was or placed in water and reconstituted by boiling. After Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain, African slaves were brought to Jamaica and some of these slaves escaped to the Blue Mountains of Jamaica to avoid recapture. Here they learned to hunt and prepare meat using salt, peppers and other spices to preserve the meat. The meat was then placed into leaves and when ready to cook, it was placed on a fire, hot rocks or barbecued over wooden lattice. It is this process of using different spices that has evolved over the years into the process of “jerk” we know today.
Taste of Jamaica’s executive chef, Kirk Myers, is an expert in preparing jerk meats, specializing in chicken, pork and fish. His custom spices and marinade bring out the flavours of the meat and adds a bit of extra kick while highlighting the different meats. Whether you like it mild or spicy hot, Taste of Jamaica will deliver this famous authentic Jamaican dish for you!