Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Danzi Kitchen has tongues wagging in Clarendon

Published:Thursday | February 2, 2023 | 1:17 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Danzi’s golden brown fried chicken.
Danzi’s golden brown fried chicken.
The garlic shrimp scampi.
The garlic shrimp scampi.
The barbecued salmon is served in a bed of white rice.
The barbecued salmon is served in a bed of white rice.
The crusted paprika mac and cheese.
The crusted paprika mac and cheese.

The name Danzi Kitchen has been on the tongues of many food enthusiasts across May Pen in Clarendon.

Danzi Kitchen’s owner, restaurateur, 28-year-old Shericka Lewinson, told The Gleaner that after completing her degree in media and communication at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Manchester and venturing into the field, she soon realised that working a regular 9-5 job was not her for her.

Getting sound advice from a friend was a pivotal point in her life, and in 2017, she decided to tap into her entrepreneurial skills and pursue her passion for food by starting her own business.

‘’I always enjoyed cooking, so when a friend, after having a meal I prepared, suggested I go into the restaurant business, I did not hesitate. And here I am today, growing stronger every day,” shared an enthused Lewinson.

And after almost four years in the business, Lewinson said she is propelled by the positive feedback from her customers. Her clientèle has since grown to include several corporate events across the parish.

But amid the many highs, Lewinson shared there have also been some lows, however, “since the last quarter of 2022, Danzi Kitchen has been seeing a steady and increasing influx of business. Customer retention is high. We have loyal customers who have been with us since day one, and now the reach of the business has extended beyond the parish borders,’’ said Lewinson.

“I can’t even begin to relate the kind of work I put in on a daily basis for the main purpose of keeping my customers happy. From the kitchen to the market to the supermarket, to the bank, to the laptop, to the phone to the kitchen again ... but that’s what defines me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Asserting that food should be ‘’interesting”,’ Lewinson said she is tasked with creating new menu options, which she theorises is integral to the food business.

“When I am in the kitchen, it’s not just the sauces, but my creative juices are flowing as well. I am always trying new things, making improvements here and there as I go along. I like to have at least one new item on the menu board every day,” said the young chef, who recently released two products, Danzi spicy dip sauce, and the Danzi all-purpose seasoning.

The Danzi kitchen menu features crusty paprika mac and cheese, sorrel glazed barbecue wings, honey barbecued pigtail, Danzi sweet corn pasta, sweet carrot sour veggie fish fillet, with Danzi natural juices made from sorrel, June plum, and beetroot and carrot.

“The crowd favourite is our Danzi spicy dip chicken made with our own Danzi spicy dip sauce. The colonel’s secret consists of eleven herbs and spices. Chef Danzi’s secret is the Danzi spicy dip sauce. The Danzi spicy dip consists of Scotch bonnet pepper, assorted natural flavours, and the perfect consistency and texture for the sophisticated palate,” Lewinson told The Gleaner.

Lewinson cites top-tier customer service as a contributing factor to her business’ success.

“My mantra is ‘customer satisfaction is our mission,’ and that’s something we are serious about. Consistently putting my skills, experience, my creativity, and a generous amount of love into my meal preparation, our mission of customer satisfaction is invariably accomplished. My customers taste the love,” she said.

Lewinson, mother of one, said her business has also allowed her to make a positive impact through charity. She said the name of her business was strategically chosen to reflect her life as a humanitarian and a philanthropist.

“Apart from the desire to make Danzi Kitchen into a household name, I want to be able to make a difference in the lives of people who have similar challenging experiences I had as a child. A Google search of ‘Danzi’ shows: ‘Danzi is a name that hints you are a humanitarian and generous individual. Turning our world to be a better place to live fascinates you. Use your creative and artistic talents to promote a cause,’ and for the last four years, every summer, either on my own or with a partner, I have been hosting back-to-school treats for the children of the community that I am from. I would like to be able to do more of this for more children. I want to live up to my name. That’s my motivation,” Lewinson said.

Referencing marketing as key, Lewinson says her video series, ‘Chef Danzi: outside in the wild’, which features her cooking in the mountains, along river banks, and other picturesque venues, has been a big boost to her business. The young entrepreneur said atop her priority list is to make a greater impact across Clarendon through charity.

Danzi Kitchen can be found on Instagram at @danzi_kitchen.