Trinidadian bringing new tastes to Jamaica
When Misir Ramberran moved to Jamaica from Trinidad and Tobago, the last thing on his mind was to start up another cafe.
Back home, Ramberran operated a vegan farm to table cafe in the Queen's Park Oval which specialised in fusion food from the diasporas. Leaving his home country with his two daughters to support his wife as a stay at home father while she worked, he swiftly got caught up here with one of his great loves, food.
"I came up here to introduce Jamaica to the food cultural side of Trinidad. I migrated to the country last April and really and ... the opportunity arose to take over a cafe in downtown and since then, the country has been absolutely incredible in terms of accepting the variety that we offer," he said.
He told THE WEEKEND STAR that since bringing those flavours to the Caribbean, starting with his cafe back home, he has received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback.
"It was mainly based around supporting locals. We had no can openers in the cafe, we had no microwave, we used all natural ingredients. We did farm to table, we did local artisans like bread and sauces and sausage, everything local. I incorporated different parts of the world into Trinidad cuisine but I used the ingredients available in the country. So I might use Asian style of cooking but use local ingredients," he explained. Some of his speciality dishes are Trinidadian street food like doubles, rundung, jerk chicken fajitas, escovietch fish pasta, and other local and international flavours, which he serves at Wholesome Cafe in downtown Kingston, as well as at his pop-up restaurant Misir's Trini Flavas at the Kingston Night Market on Hillcrest Avenue, St Andrew.
While he is now getting positive feedback, initially he had to trick people into thinking they were getting the food they were used eating.
"The names of my meals would have been the names of Jamaican meals, so I would have breadfruit rundung, but I cooked it completely different. So when people came, they ordered it because they know it, it was something they were familiar with. But when they got it, on the other hand, it took a little getting used to. But we've gotten great feedback, a lot of returning customers and then people started asking, 'Can I have the rundung but can you make it the way you make it?'"
Ramberran said that since moving to Jamaica and falling in love with the island, he is making it his personal mission to introduce a more diverse type of cuisine to the nation.
"I want Jamaicans to know about it (Misir's Trini Flavas), I want to get that feedback. I want people to experience the culture and understand it, so I'm working extremely hard now to educate people. But instead of doing it over social media, we do a lot of taste testing and product testing to the population. We want to encourage a new type of cuisine in the country using Jamaican ingredients, that's the most important part," he said.