Gluten-free Gourmet Cuisine with Kingdom’s Kitchen
What do soy sauce, pasta, ice cream, and ketchup all have in common? They are all popular food items incorporated in the modern Jamaican diet and are sources of gluten-rich foods. For a growing number of Jamaicans, this is not encouraging news as there has been a steady increase of persons being diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten intolerance sometimes associated with autoimmune illnesses such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, where sufferers experience inexplicable symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, and fatigue.
"A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten and is primarily used to treat celiac disease.
"Gluten is found in grains such as wheat and barley, which causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease." (Source: Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in...).
Adapting to a new diet can be filled with trepidation as gluten is not always listed as an ingredient in products, which makes it difficult to plan meals and reap the rewards of a gluten-free diet. Paired with a fast-paced lifestyle, this process can be frustrating at best. Since 2013, one entrepreneur has successfully crafted a niche market to solve these issues by establishing a delivery-only catering service called Kingdom's Kitchen that serves up dishes such as veggie quiches, three-cheese beef lasagna, and sticky pork chops made fresh daily.
Ronald King, managing director, describes his passion for the culinary arts, which started during his childhood, growing up in his island home Barbados: "My mother was a caterer for 30 years and made it a point of duty to teach her boys to help themselves in the kitchen. When my wife was experiencing myriad health issues some years ago, we found that gluten-free food would alleviate her symptoms and I thought that Jamaica had the perfect market size to start a business to help others like her who were seeking gluten-free fare without sacrificing flavour," said King.
The gluten-free industry is a multibillion-dollar per year business in North America, and local retail operators have seen an increase in awareness for low-gluten and gluten-free options. "Over the past five years, we have definitely seen an increase in demand from our customers, as well as an increase in more options for gluten-free products from foreign suppliers. Local manufacturers I've seen are also capitalising on this trend," stated Patrick Lee, director, Lee's Food Fair Group of Stores.
Shainee from Kingston, who recently discovered that she was one of many people with a gluten intolerance after following an elimination diet with her doctor, discovered the source of much of her physical discomfort was because she was consuming gluten-rich foods: "By sticking to a low-gluten diet, I have seen a drastic reduction in my symptoms, and these days, I feel so much better."
Kingdom's Kitchen can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/QuicheKing. If you would like to recreate one of their most popular gluten-free dishes at home, see below for a step-by-step recipe for their Sticky Pork Chops with Mash.
Kingdom's Kitchen Sticky Pork Chops with Mash
1/2tsp ginger (chopped)
1 clove ggarlic (chopped)
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
11/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
4 boneless Copperwood pork chops
21/2 tbsp butter (melted)
2tbsp 2% milk
sea salt and pepper (to taste)
5-6 Irish potatoes
1. Place potatoes in a saucepan with the rosemary and 1 quart of water and sea salt. Cover and bring to the boil, then lower and let simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. Pour off water, add butter, and 2 per cent milk. Stir and crush until evenly mashed.
2. Mix garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and Dijon mustard in a bowl.
3. Heat griddle pan and add seasoned Copperwood pork chops. Cook on each side for 10 mins on a medium fire.
4. With pork chops properly sealed, place in baking dish with liquid from frying, along with olive oil, ginger, and rosemary, and apple cider vinegar. Pour in liquid with a little water until the level of the liquid is just below the height of the pork chops. Cover pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. When finished, place decoratively on mound of mashed potatoes and pour the honey on the two.
Serves 4-6 person.