Chef Jhanelle Guy finds home in the kitchen
If good food is the foundation of happiness, Jhanelle Guy has found the secret ingredients, herbs and spices. Marred by traumatic life events, this young food entrepreneur went from catastrophe to building a culinary enterprise.
The self-taught chef opened Jhanelle’s Kitchen in October 2020 and has already developed quite a menu for her foodie customers. Some of her signature dishes include wings and tacos. “There is a special raving for my wings because of the immense flavours they get when they bite into the wings. The spicy wings have the right amount of heat. It doesn’t overpower the other flavours; the barbecue wings are coated in a sweet and savoury sauce, and the original wings have a crunchy outer layer with another flavour layered underneath,” she told Food.
Before starting her business, Guy lost her home to fire just months before her final Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination exam. “I had lost everything. It felt like everything I worked for vanished in a blink of an eye. I still had my food and nutrition practicals to complete, and my teacher made sure of that,” she said.
SAVED BY CASSAVA FRUIT CAKE
Through trial and error, she made five attempts at baking a cassava fruit cake. The exercise not only taught her patience, but it also provided the most zen feeling. In the end, her valiant efforts paid off. She received a grade one in her examinations, placing seventh in Jamaica and eighth in the Caribbean. The icing on the cake was that she discovered her calling and embarked on an exciting cooking journey.
“This was the push that I didn’t know I needed. I started to adopt an open mind towards my passion and learned to embrace it. I am also motivated by my parents as they made sure I wasn’t left without the resources I needed to pursue my passion,” she revealed.
Guy comes from a family that loves the kitchen, and they are all passionate about cooking and creating new dishes. “My family is always the first to encourage me in every aspect and provide me with feedback and support during my failures along the way.”
So how exactly did her kitchen become a tasty reality? Fresh out of high school, Guy began working a nine to five but had the desire for more. After brainstorming with a friend, the suggestion was made to create a pop-up kitchen once or twice a month and build on that excitement. “That same night, at around 2 a.m., we drafted the menu. I had done no form of research on cost, I didn’t know where I would get the money to fund or the customers from, but I created a quick logo, an Instagram page, posted the menu and started to promote it,” she declared. The rest was Jhanelle’s Kitchen.
Currently in university pursuing a degree in tourism and hospitality management, she hopes to further her studies overseas and become a certified chef. Additionally, the good chef is working towards creating a cookbook and opening a physical location in St Catherine.
“I strive to give my foodies the best, leave them satisfied and wanting more. I hope to release individuals from the shackles of fried chicken and rice and peas Sunday to Sunday and introduce them to new and unique meals that are exquisite in flavour, enticing your palate in the process,” she added.
Grateful for the amazing feedback from the pop-up kitchen, she hosted a ‘Brekki’ Edition on June 2 and is looking forward to Taco Tuesday on June 15.
Jhanelle’s Kitchen is on Instagram at @cookingwithjhanelle.