Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
Add business savvy to fine food and that embodies renowned chef Robert Joseph. He has just added another restaurant, Robbie's Kitchen in Rose Hall, St James, to his list of accomplishments. The idea, according to him, is to revolutionise the dining experience for locals and tourists alike.
Prior to this new venture, Joseph successfully built a credible reputation of culinary excellence with his Seahorse Grill, located on the same property as the Montego Bay Yacht Club. He hopes to generate the same success with Robbie's Kitchen, located at Half Moon Village.
"I want locals to feel a part of the cuisine and ambience, and this is what we have done with both Robbie's Kitchen and Seahorse Grill. Persons in the Rose Hall area have always asked when am I coming to that side of the town, so I have answered the call and now I am here!" gushed Joseph.
The contrast of intimacy and openness of the new restaurant's location adds a welcome change to the dining experience in Montego Bay. This, he said, peaked his interest about this particular location.
"It is safe, has the parking and the ambience similar to Seahorse Grill, which is first class. The most important change I have made is to the entire menu to reflect our local cuisine with an international appeal at an affordable cost," Joseph pointed out.
Half Moon, a Rock resort, known then as the Prince of Wales, was by name and nature geared towards tourists with its English pub veneer.
Following the deal he struck with the hotel group, the restaurateur has sought to inject new life into this location, including locals in the mix.
"Of course, I am now more busy operating two restaurants", he chuckled, "but with the right team in place anything is possible, and the staff, some of whom stayed on when it changed hands, are excited about the new change and the difference they have seen, and they want to see it grow as much as I do"
Cooking is never a bore for this chef who has been in the business for over 30 years . He loves the freedom to be creative with food and helping to inspire positive changes in his staff. Right now, he is extremely happy at what he does, and would not trade this for any other job, even though he is kept on his toes for many more hours than the average worker.