Chef Dennis Osbourne: A man of exquisite taste
At the pivotal age of 16, a young Dennis Osbourne decided to follow in his mother’s footsteps and began baking. Not only did he fall in love with the process and presentation aspects that go into all things culinary, he was moved by the joy that his food brought to others. Today, this man of exquisite taste has his own catering company and is one of the most sought-after chefs in Kingston.
“When I was about 22 years old, I decided to turn my passion into a career. I already had a love for food and people would tell me that I could make money from this. So it was a win-win in my book. I’ve been soaring to new heights ever since,” Osbourne, more popularly known as Chef Junior, told Food.
Specialising in pan seared chicken breast, curried goat, jerked chicken, pastas (Alfredo and penne pasta) and cakes, wedding and character birthday cakes, this self-taught chef is also certified as a level 2 chef through the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET), under the HEART/NSTA Trust.
“I’ve been a chef for eight to 10 years now. It has been a great experience. I’ve met a lot of diplomats, prime ministers, and the governor general. I have worked at many events and within several industries and companies,” he shared.
For the first-ever Lobster Festival, he delivered twice baked potatoes with poached lobster, topped with garlic infused coconut oil and micro greens, corn tacos with fresh vegetables and poached lobster with garlic infused coconut oil topped with tomato and cheese, as well as lobster rolls with fresh parsley and sesame seed.
Chef Osbourne gave his attentive audience a live cooking show, firing it up with a flambé before dishing out the delectable delights to a long line. Persons who were at the event raved about the great taste and the good chef was pleased with his presentation.
As it relates to obstacles along the way, the challenge so far has had nothing to do with the culinary per se. The competition within the field, he says, has been real and he endeavours to stand out with his unique spin on flavour.
He attributed his success to his elevated taste in food, presentation and great customer service from his staff. The balance between the business and the kitchen is an achievable feat because he ensures that quality is always maintained and up to standard.
After his successful run at Denbigh and Lobster Fest, he hopes to establish his name even further and take his brand to the culinary competition world. “I want to be recognised as one of the top chefs in Jamaica. And I hope others calling on me for my catering services will do so because the food, quality and presentations are always on point. Whether the job is big or small, I will always execute to the best of my ability,” he added.
His advice to aspiring chefs is to follow your heart and live your dreams. “You don’t choose food; food chooses you. So put you’re all in it. Do not short-change a job. At the end of the day, what you put on the plate not only represents you but tells your story too. The quality you produce is what gives you the edge over others.”
While cooking is the ultimate art form, eating is definitely a necessity. Chef Osbourne’s top five dishes to indulge in are steamed fish, jerk chicken, jerk pork, shrimp or lobster pasta and curried goat.