Today marks International Chef's Day, and with it also being Black History month, we decided to go a step further on an earlier piece that celebrates Black chef's in the hospitality industry. This time we caught up with three BOXPARK traders...
Matin and Michelle Miah
Meet Matin and Michelle Miah, Co-Founders of Rudie’s - a hip Jamaican joint serving banging authentic jerk and small plates with a contemporary twist.
The story of Rudie’s begins with Chief Rudebwoy Matin feeling frustrated about the lack of cool Jamacian spots to dine and hang out in London despite the huge Caribbean food scene. With a dream to open his own street food shack to make Caribbean food more accessible, Matin travelled across Jamaica with his wife Michelle to experience the unique island culture, food, drink and music.
During his time in Jamaica, he learnt how to cook ‘real jerk chicken’ by marinating it for 48 hours and cooking it fresh on the drum. Once he mastered the authentic jerk cooking method, Matin and Michelle launched their debut Rudie’s site in Dalston (September 2015) and their goal was to bring a great big slice of Jamaica to London’s streets, sharing their food, music and energy with local communities.
Three years later, Rudie’s second site opened in BOXPARK Shoreditch (January 2018) to be part of the young, urban and vibrant culture of East London.. After receiving such a great response from customers on their authentic Jerk, Matin went on to explore other foods from the Caribbean introducing some traditional dishes from his Trinidadian background such as roti and doubles.
Rudie’s has just announced it will be bringing their unique and authentic Jamaican flavours to Brixton for the launch of their third site in November. Having spent a lot of his childhood days in Brixton with her Jamaican grandma, Michella said this is a very special and personal launch for them.
MORE INFO ON RUDIE'S JERK SHACK
Meet Springer A.K.A ‘Big Mike’ - award-winning Caribbean Chef and Founder of Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen.
Millions of Brits across the country would have seen Michael Springer, the owner and chef of Croydon eaterie Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen, getting groovy during The X Factor advertisement breaks.
Michael Springer brings the best influences from the Caribbean islands to Croydon. With a nod from BBC’s ‘Ready Steady Cook’ star Ainsley Harriott, Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen offers the most authentic Caribbean cuisine - literally - from flaming mulled sorrel with Caribbean rum on top, Bajan fish cakes seasoned with top secret ingredients, and a shrimp and mussel coconut sauce - served in the shape of Barbados alongside plantain.
Big Mike has been running his kitchen for just under three years, previously located in Purley, you can now find him at BOXPARK Croydon. Some of his most popular dishes include Bajan fishcakes, BBQ Honey Chicken and Oxtail.
With Bajan descent, Big Mike believes music and cooking go hand-in-hand because you’ve got to have soul. He said he loves to dance but not to perspire, so he simply sticks to stepping while cooking - “I believe that there are two places that you sing – the shower and in the kitchen. I have certain music that I use to bake with because I know that I am grinding, kneading and need to have that passion going in there.”
“You cannot beat the happiness of combined cooking and singing. I like my music playing while I am in the kitchen – it’s my zone. I love food and people. I always say it’s your personality that sets the table and love is the main ingredient in making food taste great.”
Mike, 48, was crowned top takeaway chef at the British Takeaway Awards 2016, ranking among 13 regional winners - out of some 26,000.
MORE INFO ON BIG MIKE'S CALYPSO KITCHEN
Khamisi and Daniel
Meet Khamisi and Daniel, best friends from South East London & Founders of Drums & Flats, arguably the capital’s best chicken wings.
Growing up together in South East London, Khamisi Mckenzie & Daniel Opoku-Baah set up Drums & Flats in 2017, following a series of successful pop-ups, and events across the capital. Specialising in chicken wings, the duo's chemistry in the kitchen is based on 20 years of friendship, and a shared passion for feel-good food. Having started out testing recipes in their parents' kitchen's, Drums & Flats is currently based in Boxpark Wembley, and hosts a series of separate food and music related events.
Drums & Flats embodies the culture connected to the food, music and culture we grew up around, and the pride we have in being native south Londoners. Following a series of pop-ups across London, they opened their first permanent site in 2017, before opening up at BOXPARK Wembley in 2018.
Whilst many know the pair from their rise within London's pop-up restaurant scene, both their entrepreneurial journey's precede Drums & Flats. In 2012 Khamisi set up his own creative & branding agency, leading campaigns and managing events for a number of leading global brands. Whilst in 2013 Daniel launched his own mentoring company, supporting young people in London in both their education, and personal development. Their shared personal experiences, coupled with their varied professional, and educational backgrounds, which includes Masters degrees in both Media & Corporate Public Relations, and Neuroscience respectively, is what fuels the dynamic nature of their business ventures, and their desire to make a positive impact on their community.