Mon | May 16, 2022

Green Gourmet calling to everyone

Food start-up opts out of full vegan, focuses on ‘healthier living’

Published:Thursday | December 9, 2021 | 12:07 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
 There is a wide variety of toppings or add-ons for the build your own bowl or BYOB menu option from fruit salsas and sliced and diced vegetables to potato salad and nuts.
There is a wide variety of toppings or add-ons for the build your own bowl or BYOB menu option from fruit salsas and sliced and diced vegetables to potato salad and nuts.
The retro antique wall corded phone adds to the decor of Green Gourmet’s quiet and homely space at 75 Hope Road.
The retro antique wall corded phone adds to the decor of Green Gourmet’s quiet and homely space at 75 Hope Road.
This is a remix of the Skinny Lemonade that the restaurant tells every customer to give a try. The strawberry slices give it a twist but it is the agave nectar sweetener that makes it extra special.
This is a remix of the Skinny Lemonade that the restaurant tells every customer to give a try. The strawberry slices give it a twist but it is the agave nectar sweetener that makes it extra special.
Green Gourmet’s Manager Peter Mulling shows off the Caesar salad bowl with tofu as the protein, seasoned and fried to perfection. If you’re used to having chicken as your salad add-on, you won’t even miss a thing.
Green Gourmet’s Manager Peter Mulling shows off the Caesar salad bowl with tofu as the protein, seasoned and fried to perfection. If you’re used to having chicken as your salad add-on, you won’t even miss a thing.
The newest addition to the Green Gourmet menu is the snapper fish sandwich. It may not be your typical meal, served in a bowl, but you have the option to add some fries and make it a combo.
The newest addition to the Green Gourmet menu is the snapper fish sandwich. It may not be your typical meal, served in a bowl, but you have the option to add some fries and make it a combo.
The vegan stew bowl is a mixture of a three-bean stew and quinoa, but Green Gourmet doesn’t mind the adventurous customers who will add curried chickpeas and pineapple salsa, as it is seen here. And it only packs approximately 405 calories.
The vegan stew bowl is a mixture of a three-bean stew and quinoa, but Green Gourmet doesn’t mind the adventurous customers who will add curried chickpeas and pineapple salsa, as it is seen here. And it only packs approximately 405 calories.
Many persons do not like salmon because they believe it does not absorb a marinade like other fish, but in this teriyaki salmon bowl with the pumpkin rice as the base and fresh vegetables, all the flavours blend like a work of art.
Many persons do not like salmon because they believe it does not absorb a marinade like other fish, but in this teriyaki salmon bowl with the pumpkin rice as the base and fresh vegetables, all the flavours blend like a work of art.
A light salad bowl, with jerk or grilled chicken, avocados, lettuce, potato salad and tomato salsa is good for someone who is always on the move and easy to build.
A light salad bowl, with jerk or grilled chicken, avocados, lettuce, potato salad and tomato salsa is good for someone who is always on the move and easy to build.
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Local start-up Green Gourmet has a lot on its plate – correction – a lot in its bowls.

It’s one of the newest restaurants on the block, promoting a healthy lifestyle with a menu that offers a wide range of meals, most of which are primarily served in deep, round dishes.

“Our restaurant is more ingredient-based than recipe-based, meaning our goal is to use premium ingredients that sets our food apart from others in the marketplace. I think we are in our own space at the moment, and we are constantly working to perfect our offering within this space,” said Green Gourmet’s owner Damion Dixon in a recent interview with Food.

He added that the increased interest in adopting healthy eating habits or healthier living and the growth of commercial vegan eateries is owed to health concerns, the ongoing pandemic and even social media.

“As celebrities and influencers flaunt attractive bodies, it drives others, especially the younger generations, to follow suit. While health reasons or concerns [motivate] Gen X. The pandemic has also played a major part in the growth as it has forced us to eat healthier in order to build stronger immune systems to better tackle the virus.”

Hearing the name of his restaurant for the first time, one may be made to think of a menu that is primarily vegetarian or vegan, but Dixon decided not to take that route. Instead, the menu calls for everyone – from meat lovers to pescatarians and vegetarians. Green Gourmet’s ‘signature bowls’ are rich in health-promoting fats, fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein, which are usually a choice of jerked, grilled or herb-roasted chicken; pan-seared salmon; grilled shrimp; tuna; fried tofu; three-bean stew or curried chickpeas. These are paired with a base of rice or quinoa, fresh vegetables, toppings such as flax seeds, pecans and their enticing mango salsa, along with a noteworthy selection of salad dressings and sauces.

Dixon said the eatery is big on healthy options and alternatives. “We understand that not everyone is an ardent vegan or will eat healthy for an entire week, so we provide common favourites prepared with healthier alternatives like our fried chicken sandwich. This is made from chicken breast that is fried in olive oil,” he said.

That approach has done well for business, and the bowls are a nice touch.

“I chose the bowl concept to separate from the typical box food and introduce a different concept of eating. Our slogan, ‘Think outside the box,’ represents that concept, and the bowl also allows a better cosmetic look and highlights the variety of fillings we have on the menu,” he shared.

The highlight of the breakfast menu at Green Gourmet is the all-day breakfast burger – a raisin bread sandwich with potato hash, beef, caramelised onions and maple syrup, as well as the custom yoghurt bowls, which may be topped with granola and fruit.

It was a classic transformative moment from Dixon’s own health and the trajectory of his life that led him to choose a healthier lifestyle, said the former military man who was injured while on duty.

Dixon shared, “The concept came out of a need after being seriously injured. In and out of a hospital for four years, and unable to exercise, diet became extremely important to me. I chose to come back home to Jamaica to recover and found out that the options for fast and healthy were very limited. What you see on the menu is [from] a mixture of places I would eat on my travels throughout the US and Europe. And the ‘green lifestyle’ or healthier living market space is still wide open and continues to grow as our citizens continue to see the benefits of eating healthy.”

Manager Peter Mullings shared that the restaurant’s goal is to spread awareness of the benefits of taking up healthier eating habits but doing it in a fun and creative way. Green Gourmet is in the process of laying the groundwork for its salad bar at another location in Kingston and Green Gourmet Express in Clarendon to introduce the brand in the rural market space.

“Our meals are pioneering a shift into healthy but also fulfilling meal planning, fitting everything into a bowl, [is] one of our main focus. You, the customer, has the option to BYOB — build your own bowl — to match your dietary needs. We also have our cheat meal bowl similar to loaded fries, but it is still done in a way that is not unhealthy,” Mullings explained.

Through the eyes of Laurence Drysdale, a customer who sat down to indulge in its freshest addition to the burger list, the snapper fish sandwich, “there is room in everyone’s diet to make a change to healthier options even if it’s for a few days out of the week”.

“What strikes me about this particular sandwich from Green Gourmet is that I could taste all the flavours, the seasonings used on the fish, the fried plantain that blended so perfectly with it and the purple onions and the freshness of the lettuce and tomatoes along with the lemon aioli sauce … a balance of sweet, spicy, and zesty,” Drysdale shared.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com