Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
Jamaica Macaroni, located inside the number two Valentine Drive compound of family-run businesses, recently received grant funding from the European Union to enhance its warehouse, acquire new fixtures, and assist on the company's journey to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification. Owners of the Marco Polo brand of products, Jamaica Macaroni, also co-brands for several leading Jamaican companies.
James Chen, managing director, told The Gleaner that the factory has been in operation since 1965. "We plan to expand and already have the drawings for an additional warehouse; we have received grant funding from the European Union to modernise, as regulations for operating a business such as this change with the times," he said. The factory operates two shifts - night and day over a 24-hour period, and employs 35 persons.
The range of products made at Jamaica Macaroni include: macaroni stick, spaghetti, elbow macaroni, lasagne, fettuccine, spiral macaroni, shell macaroni, veggie rigati and macaroni and cheese dinners.
So, the atmosphere was festive last week Tuesday, when Island Grill, Purity Bakery, Jamaica Macaroni and Patta Kake Bakers, in collaboration with Rainforest Seafoods, Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning, CB Chicken and Copperwood pork, hosted a Chinese New Year Jamaican-style luncheon for Chinese Ambassador Zheng Quingdian and a delegation from the embassy. Consolidated Bakeries provided the rolls.
The group used the luncheon to showcase its products - and a good idea, too, as many are still savouring the delicious lasagne bolognese, expertly made by James Chen.
The celebratory Chinese New Year's Day cake was expertly created by Patta Kake, which also supplied cupcakes for dessert. The rest of the menu items came from the recently established Island Grill catering service. The Jamaican menu was specially requested by Ambassador Zheng Quingdian and embassy staff who did not return to their homeland for the annual two-week celebration.