Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Toast to love and flavour

New Mandeville hotspot offering delightful, decadent taste

Published:Thursday | January 11, 2024 | 12:09 AMKrysta Anderson/Staff Reporter
Meet the magic behind Toast Restaurant, co-owners and couple Cassandra ‘Chef Cassie’ Thomas (left) and Jason Whyte.
Meet the magic behind Toast Restaurant, co-owners and couple Cassandra ‘Chef Cassie’ Thomas (left) and Jason Whyte.
Buffalo wings with a tangy sauce.
Buffalo wings with a tangy sauce.
Seasons come and seasons go, but these succulent short ribs will remain a staple on the menu.
Seasons come and seasons go, but these succulent short ribs will remain a staple on the menu.
Let’s ‘Toast’ to a cup of heart-warming hot chocolate.
Let’s ‘Toast’ to a cup of heart-warming hot chocolate.
Let the good times roll with this sushi variety from Toast Restaurant.
Let the good times roll with this sushi variety from Toast Restaurant.
Dive right into this heavenly curried grouper. Your taste buds will thank you.
Dive right into this heavenly curried grouper. Your taste buds will thank you.
Take an epicurean tour with this Mexican chicken bowl.
Take an epicurean tour with this Mexican chicken bowl.
Say hello to this scrumptious salmon pesto pasta.
Say hello to this scrumptious salmon pesto pasta.
For the steak lovers, sink your teeth into this filet mignon and enjoy every bite of the delightful dish.
For the steak lovers, sink your teeth into this filet mignon and enjoy every bite of the delightful dish.
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Raise your glass! There’s a new restaurant on the island dedicated to fusing international flavours with local spices. Built on the foundation of love, this art of indulgence was a pipe dream of one couple that became a delightfully and decadent reality in the cool parish of Manchester. Its name: Toast Restaurant.

Celebrating good food, good wine and a good time, Toast has been enticing taste buds since its grand opening in August 2022, offering a diverse menu to foodies.

“We do authentic Buffalo chicken with a tangy sauce. People love our pastas; we do authentic Alfredo pastas that would rival those out of Italy. The Cajun shrimp and chicken pasta is a big deal. Our lamb chops are amazing. The salmon is cooked to perfection; Chef Cassie ensures that this is the case,” co-owner of Toast Restaurant, Jason Whyte, told Food.

This venture is the brainchild of Whyte and his fiancée, Cassandra ‘Chef Cassie’ Thomas, ignited by an ambitious vision. “We met in college. She studied culinary arts and gained work experience at esteemed hotels overseas. When she came back to Jamaica, I promised her a restaurant. I got the opportunity and she was a bit nervous wondering if it was going to work. I told her to just trust the process,” he said.

Thomas struggled to find a suitable job on her return to the island. So this was the chance of a lifetime. Whyte, an architectural draftsman by profession, got to work, constructing this savoury meets sweet innovation from the ground up. “I designed the building and then I went in and decorated, putting in all the amenities, like lighting. And left everything that had to do with the kitchen to my fiancée. There, she was able to get her creative juices flowing and curate unforgettable culinary experiences.”

With the desire to create a casual fine dining restaurant, all that was missing was the name. A brainstorm session and a bottle of wine later, ‘Toast’ was selected and the rest is history. “I took up the wine bottle and started reading the back. I saw toast on it. I said it to her and she said, ‘that was it’,” he added.

Since the opening, Whyte admitted that there has been a mixed reaction from diners. While the majority have expressed joy about this new adventure into food, others, particularly those who reside in the parish, have questioned the taste lineage.

“A lot of people are not used to the type of dishes of this nature. We focus on Italian and American dishes with a ‘tupse’ of Jamaican. This difference has been eye-opening in a positive and negative light. But we continue to push forward, motivated by the opportunity to change our menu every six months. If a dish is a hit, then it stays; if it doesn’t do well, then it goes. And our regular customers are never bored,” he explained.

Before they knew it, the news of their location began spreading like wildfire and the duo made way for jam-packed nights, filling the niche for restaurants at sundown. The relaxing yet sophisticated chic décor makes the location most inviting. Guests make it their point of duty to swing over for a Toast photo-op.

As for the refined taste, taking the epicurean tour into fresh produce and authentic herbs and seasoning will have you exploring and unlocking an exquisite chapter, just for your palate.

The significant growth thus far came as a shock to Whyte, but he remains grateful for the love and support received from both near and far.

“It has been an incredibly surreal journey and our hope is to have two more locations; one in Ocho Rios and another in Kingston. Surprisingly, we have quite a number of foodies visiting from Kingston, saying that the dining experience was worth the drive,” Whyte highlighted.

So whether it’s spending quality family time, catching up with friends, a business meeting or a romantic date night, let’s propose a toast to love and flavour.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com