Street Food Saturdays
Armed with pots, pans and '500 letters behind her name', according to her friends, Simone Walker-Barrett takes to the street once every month to fill the air with the pungent aroma of some of Jamaica's most delicious dietary options.
Walker-Barrett, a certified culinary chef, chef de cuisine, certified executive chef and hospitality educator who lectures at the University of Technology, says she proudly wears her titles and regards teaching as her passion.
Colleague and friend, chef Leroy Myers, teams up with Walker-Barrett monthly as they unleash their extensive culinary expertise in Mount James district in Golden Spring, St Andrew, against a backdrop of beautiful scenery and lush vegetation.
Street Food Saturdays is Walker-Barrett's 'baby', and she is backed by her husband, who has long shared her passion for rural Jamaican cuisine. She told Food of their habit of travelling rural Jamaica and taste-testing every food joint they can find. After many long hours and full stomachs, she says they now have a favourite everything - from a jerk man to a coconut man.
"My passion has always been Jamaican cuisine," she told Food. "Historically in Jamaica, our traditional way of preparing food is frowned upon and, at times, even considered dirty. However, we wanted to show people that our food is a reflection of who we are as a people which is creative and resourceful."
The signature dish at Street Food Saturdays is glazed guava turkey neck, compliments of CPJ, and is the only mainstay on the menu. Other dishes on the menu are rotated to accommodate popular demand. At the last staging of the event, the foot-long festivals (literally 12 inches long) and corned pork were so popular, there seemed to be a plate on every table and in every hand.
According to Walker-Barrett, the event uses approximately 200 pounds of meat, including pork, chicken, pig talk, turkey neck, and fish, and serves more than 100 persons every month.
"The food I make is food I like to eat and would like to share. My husband and I always wanted to do something 'rootsy' and in a rustic setting. And since inception, the event has grown bigger and better," states Walker-Barrett.
And our conclusion after sampling the fare and the occasion. Delicious!