Sun | Jun 16, 2024

Kamila’s Kitchen takes root in the heart of the city

Second location now open at Market Place

Published:Thursday | May 16, 2024 | 12:08 AMShanel Lemmie/Staff Reporter
On her 40th birthday, Kamila McDonald celebrates by opening a second Kamila’s Kitchen at Market Place on 67 Constant Spring Road.
On her 40th birthday, Kamila McDonald celebrates by opening a second Kamila’s Kitchen at Market Place on 67 Constant Spring Road.
With nutrition as the top priority, McDonald has an in-store ‘Farmacy’ to pull from.
With nutrition as the top priority, McDonald has an in-store ‘Farmacy’ to pull from.
Made with their very own vegan cheese recipe, the plant-based nachos are a Kamila’s Kitchen crowd favourite.
Made with their very own vegan cheese recipe, the plant-based nachos are a Kamila’s Kitchen crowd favourite.
The opening day special featured sweet and sour jerked tofu with seasoned quinoa and a ‘Wake Up & Live’ salad on the side.
The opening day special featured sweet and sour jerked tofu with seasoned quinoa and a ‘Wake Up & Live’ salad on the side.
Supporting Kamila on opening day, the McDonalds were out in full force. From left: Dr Kerida McDonald, Errol ‘Chakula’ McDonald, and Kadiya McDonald.
Supporting Kamila on opening day, the McDonalds were out in full force. From left: Dr Kerida McDonald, Errol ‘Chakula’ McDonald, and Kadiya McDonald.
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Since embarking on her weight loss journey several years ago, every facet of Kamila McDonald’s life has been dedicated to promoting wellness. Through her restaurant, Kamila’s Kitchen, she has been able to provide ital meals amidst the beautiful backdrop of Jack’s Hill, St Andrew. Now as she celebrates her 40th birthday, the cultural multi-hyphenate is bringing destination dining to the city with a second brick and mortar at Market Place on Constant Spring Road.

Catching up with Food on their opening day on Tuesday, McDonald said while a more central location was always a goal of hers, the timing was just an act of providence.

“Obviously, in the back of my head, at one point in life, I wanted to be on the flat, you know, because that just means impacting more people and bringing health to more and more people; getting the volume that we weren’t able to get up on the hill on an ongoing basis. But I wasn’t expecting it to be now, because we were still kind of situated up at the hilltop where lots of tourists come in, and we’d still get volume, but in a very different way.”

She went on, “So when I got the call for such an incredible location, I feel like I just had to jump in the deep end; and here we are, learning to swim and juggling the two things.”

With a team that has been acquainted for less than a week, she says the coming days will just be a testament to their ability to synergise.

With a daily new special, smoothie and juice, McDonald says this new location will boast all the serenity of their Reggae Mountain home with the speed of city dinning.

“We’ll keep it grounded with the nutrients and keep the ingredients right, because our farm-to-fork philosophy is very important to us; but as to what we can expect different, I would say the speed. Then we’ll have our meal plans and our corporate wellness programme. Deliveries will all happen here. So, same menu; lots of new items that you’ve never seen before.”

With every seat filled on launch day, McDonald’s mother, Kerida, along with her sister and father, were there to show their support. Kerida expressed her optimism about the future of Kamila’s Kitchen.

“I am anticipating with faith that this is going to have the volume that we would not get on the hill. That’s gonna be destination dining, and this is grab and go. So by the first day’s turnout, I can only think this is gonna be a kind of community that’s looking forward. That for me is the greatest thing, that the type of people who want this are the people who are kind of connected to a community of like-mindedness.”

Seemingly confirming her hypothesis about the type of customers the restaurant will attract, David Atkinson stopped in on his lunch break to have the day’s special: the sweet and sour jerked tofu with seasoned quinoa and a ‘Wake Up & Live’ salad on the side. After cleaning his plate, he told Food, “Since this year, I’ve been eating quite a bit [better], basically because I just wanted a change. I was tired of the rice and peas and chicken or burgers and fries, so it’s good doing this.”

Categorising the meal and scenery as “fabulous”, he said, “I like it, and I’m coming back for more.”

Standing at the helm of this new vessel, McDonald says her position in life in this moment is where she feels most fulfilled.

Looking back at her journey she said, “It’s not that long ago, even though it has been quite a few years, that I was going through my own struggles, and so I remember how lonely it felt. I remember how much I didn’t love the food that I was eating. I remember feeling like I didn’t have a community to connect to. So what keeps me going is just wanting to be there for people who may be going through the same things. Even if it’s not weight, but health. Even if it’s not that you’re going through anything, but you just want support to change your life so that you can be healthier, that gets me out of the bed every morning. It makes me want to jump up and show people how tasty and delicious and just yummy it can be.”

Passion pouring out of her, she said of the new Kamila’s Kitchen, “You can just expect an explosion of wellness and a celebration of flavours.”

shanel.lemmie@gleanerjm.com