Mon | Sep 28, 2020

Get Reddi for fast feasting

Published:Thursday | July 23, 2020 | 12:19 AMKrysta Anderson/Staff Reporter
Stew peas with pig’s tail, anyone? Yes, please!
Stew peas with pig’s tail, anyone? Yes, please!

Cooking in COVID became a delightful pastime for families and friends. From ‘cheffing’ up old-time Jamaica favourites like peas soup, fried chicken and curried goat to new recipes involving shrimps, ribs and pastas. The delight, however, quickly turned into a nightmare as the pandemic progressed and made being inside the new norm.

Chef Mark Chong has decided to lend a helping hand to non-chefs and other persons who are overspending ‘pots’ of time in the kitchen by creating Reddi Meals. According to Chef Chong, the idea was born out of the need to provide his clientele with a delicious and convenient option for at-home dining. “I find that the typical Jamaican household is a lot busier than it used to be pre-COVID-19. With the restrictions placed on dining out, as well as schools being closed and the majority of the workforce now working from home, I thought that having Reddi Meals would encourage more family time at the dinner table,” he told Food.

He knows a thing or two about cooking. After all, he had a keen interest in culinary arts from an early age and could be found assisting family with meal preparations. “My household always prepared traditional Jamaican dishes, especially on a Sunday. It was exciting for me to spend most of the day helping with two to three protein breakfast, comprising ackee and salt fish, salt mackerel and maybe liver and onions with boiled ground provisions, fried dumplings and turned cornmeal with our country-style chocolate tea.”

REAL PASSION

Sunday dinners, for him, included traditional chicken with rice and peas, but also a pork and beef dish, carrot juice with a touch of brandy. Dessert was always a pudding or some other local sweet dish. Through hard work and dedication, he honed his chef skills and on the fast track to living his dream. But other goals got in the way, and Chong pursued accounting. After sitting at a desk for the first six months, he realised that culinary arts was his real passion.

So how does it work? The dishes are cooked, packaged in an airtight seal and stored in the freezer. And all that is required is you reheating the dish, to reduce cooking time. The variety offered in some of Jamaica’s favourites: oxtail and beans, curried goat and stew peas with pig’s tail. For the seafood lovers, he has curried or garlic shrimp, and the vegetarians can indulge in curried chickpeas and vegetarian stewed peas. Sides such as roasted breadfruit and rice and peas are also available. “The response has been great so far, and we see the product building, with people currently looking to us for their meals,” he added.

Since its success, he has opened a Reddi Meal retail outlet in Liguanea, and is already adding to the palate portfolio by having daily lunch service, providing smoothies, natural juices, coffee and signature preserves, namely mango chutneys, pineapple chutney, tomato-based sauces, and more.

So if you’re looking to satisfy hunger with authentic flavour, then get ‘Reddi’ to cater a feast from your own kitchen in no time! Follow @chefchongscatering on Instagram for more information.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com