Sat | Sep 22, 2018

A healthy treat with Island Secret Taste

Published:Thursday | April 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie/Gleaner Writer
From left: Kevin Whyte, head chef Leon Francis, Monique Edwards and Shamar Christobol make up the team for Island Secret Taste.
Leon Francis tends to his Appleton herb roasted jerked chicken on on the grill.
Owner and Head Chef Leon Francis shows off his tasty creation — stuffed chicken breast and tossed salad.
Enjoy a jerked chicken wrap served with a toss salad delivered right to your door.
Enjoy savory herbed smoked pork chops with a serving of creamy mashed potatoes.
Make lunch healthy again with stuffed chicken breast, served with baked potato and steam vegetables.
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There are many hidden gems scattered across the island with remarkable culinary artists who are experts at formulating the perfect flavour. The exclusivity associated with these locations have encouraged many from far and wide to embark on a gastronomic quest for the best-tasting food in Jamaica. While searching every nook and cranny in downtown Kingston, Food visited Island Secret Taste, owned by chef Leon Francis.

Island Secret Taste is a recent project created by Francis that focuses on producing healthy food. "Island Secret Taste is the addition of Jamaican flavours to gourmet food," said operations manager Monique Edwards. Island Secret Taste is no ordinary cook shop that serves the traditional Jamaican favourites. They offer a variety of delicacies such as coconut chicken pasta, Appleton jerk chicken, herb smoked pork chops, stuffed chicken breast with kale.

These are served with mashed sweet potato, tossed salad, broccoli and cauliflower and baked Irish potato, among other things. Island Secret Taste also does breakfast which includes vegetarian omelettes, porridge and even healthy shakes.

Francis is certified by the HEART Trust NTA Boys Town on Collie Smith Drive. He proudly talks about having level one two and three certifications in food preparation, food and beverage, food decor, and bartending.

The young entrepreneur explained that food is a seller wherever you go. "The techniques that I have acquired from HEART gives me the ability to always produce quality food, vibrant displays and to keep a clean environment," said Francis. The venture started when a group of members from the Grace Ministry Workshop decided to become their own employers.

Hailing from the heart of downtown Kingston, Francis sees himself as an inspiration to his peers and other inner-city youths.

"We have provided employment to persons within the area," said Francis. He also explained it has been a struggle getting the youths to focus on the craft and learn the different techniques with handling food. Francis prides himself on educating and teaching persons on how to eat cleaner and healthier. "Our tagline is healthy food, healthy mood," he said.

"We do not use oil or fry. We only do healthy food," said Francis who has also provided catering services for the Jamaica Teachers Association, Kingston Public Hospital and several other businesses within the metropolitan area. "We do not plan to stop only at the inner city, we are destined to go far and branch off into different locations," declared Francis.

For more information on Island Secret Taste, visit their Instagram @islandsecrettaste or call 876-830-4302.

latara.boodie@gleanerjm.com