By Leisha Wong
For any food lover suffering from wanderlust, the market is a must-stop destination when in a new country. To know the food of a country is to know it’s people, and that most authentic experience is most often found in the markets.
From fresh vegetables and herbs, fish and spice markets, to the more recent food market, these markets are dedicated to the simple mission of bringing authentic, fresh food to the diners. It is under these intentions that we launched Kingston Kitchen two years ago, in December 2011 at Hope Gardens.
Food has for so long been entrenched in the culture of Jamaica that it was almost surprising that nothing like this had been done before. Yes, there were food events that delivered stellar culinary experiences, and that also bought authentic food to the patrons, but what set Kings-ton Kitchen apart, was that we truly tried to draw in diners from all walks of life. From the bank teller, to the executives of the bank, Kingston Kitchen was just about good, affordable, locally-produced food, created by talented and creative culinary geniuses, some of whom had never cooked for anyone outside of their home kitchens.
With two sections to each market, we cater to all levels of culinary enthusiast. The restaurants, caterers, chefs and cafés set up in our Pop Up Kitchen area. These individual tents serve as temporary kitchens, and the chefs create a special menu for the day, often at discounted prices.
For those home cooks, and small-batch vendors, we created The Emporium. This large tent space made participation at Kingston Kitchen less daunting for those getting into this arena for the first time. It allows people a space to showcase their hidden talents to the wider crowd, and on a manageable scale. The Emporium is the heart of Kingston Kitchen. We love to share the success stories that have come from it. Kelly Lue’s pepper jelly started in The Emporium, as did Stush in the Bush. Both artisans can now be found in major supermarkets, with an ever-growing range of products.
With two hugely successful markets each year, Kingston Kitchen has also branched out to host premium dining events with its Signature Series – the first featuring international celebrity chef Roblé Ali, as well as online with their website, blog, and magazine. It is a true culinary lifestyle that promises to spread its arms even wider in 2014.