Jamaica ‘Doubles’ on taste with Trini-inspired dishes from Tawah
It is no surprise that our island is synonymous with providing a melting pot of spices and flavours for palates all across the world. But every once in a while, dining calls for stepping outside of the lunch box and trying something different. Feeling for Trinidadian food? Try Tawah Catering Services.
The culinary doors officially opened in August of last year, and so far, the reception has been incredible. “We aim to bring Trini street food culture to Jamaica, and this was at the forefront of our minds when creating our menu. We’ve had customers travelling from Montego Bay and Mandeville just to try our food,” Sade Dunbar, one of the owners, told Food.
Signature items on the menu include the famous doubles, aloo, beef pies and pholourie, as well as ‘buss-up shut’ roti and tamarind chutney. The team is excited to entice palates with their familiar dishes with a unique twist. An instance of this is when customers pair the pholourie with fritters.
Dunbar joined feasting forces with business partner Akeen Matthews to make this dream a recipe for savoury success. Both medical doctors, the duo doubles as caterers, setting out on a mission of gastronomic proportions, satisfying an insatiable appetite for dishes boasting a Caribbean fusion.
Matthews was always a fan of flavour. Both his parents were chefs and established a catering business, so the love passed down to him. He recalled igniting that passion from as young as five years old. He kept his fire for food alive in the confines of his kitchen, opting to pursue a career in medicine.
But when he came to Jamaica in 2014, he realised that many didn’t know much about Trinidadian food. “I’ve always felt like Trinidadian culture was under-represented in Jamaica. Sharing culture through food was something I practised while in university with my Jamaican, Bajan and other Caribbean friends,” he explained.
During the pandemic, Matthews decided to dish out this cultural experience, providing food to colleagues at the hospital. The reception was so amazing that he decided to embark on the catering business with Dunbar. “Tawah is an extension of sharing Trinidadian culture, while learning more about Jamaican culture through food.”
Noting that some of the ingredients are difficult to source here in Jamaica, the pair jumped over this hurdle by taking the opportunity to substitute with similar and familiar flavour, further bridging the gap between the two vibrant cultures.
“Majority of our menu items are new to Jamaica and might be a challenge for some customers to appreciate initially. This gives us the benefit of teaching our customers more about our dishes, while creating an exciting experience of trying something for the first time,” Dunbar added.
Starting a business in the most challenging period the world has ever seen, the partners cushioned the initial blow by putting innovative measures in place to get their name out there and meet the demands of new and repeat customers. Adjusting opening hours, signing up with the E-commerce National Delivery System (ENDS) programme, while partnering with courier services such as Hugo, 7Krave and QuickCart, all proved to be smart moves on their part.
The two even branched out into catering for party events, such as I Love Soca. The electrifying energy was not only experienced in the very best in carnival music, but also reflected and tasted in the scrumptious offerings on display in the booth. “The doubles were a crowd favourite, and we completely sold out before the event was finished,” Dunbar added.
The hope is to fully carve out a niche in the next couple of years, creating a franchise so that the dishes can be accessible all across the island.
Until then, the team is looking forward to patrons enjoying the rich ‘Trini-Jam’ flavour at Fete Republic’s Night Carnival on May 21.
Tawah Catering is located at 26 Parkington Plaza. Contact via telephone at 876-648-1234 or via email: email@example.com for more information.