Author Mary Ellen Jones in her book, daily life on the nineteenth century American Frontier cited quite an interesting and relevant cowboy quote,”Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule or a cook.” Relevant because it was revealed today by the respected chef Solomon Smith, proprietor of the famous Brixton Food Kitchen while in full flow of his food presentation at the Caribbean Food Festival, that he puts the drink Grace Might Malt in his curry goat for additional flavour and taste.
Given the scarcely known context of the American cowboy quote when a cook was unchallenged when he used his Colt .45 pistol to stir navy beans and fired it several times to clear it out; and from all accounts the unlikelihood of chef Solomon being challenged or ridiculed in public about his approach to cooking, the relevance of the cowboy reference is clear. Nonetheless the crowd was enamoured by him, his cool, collected and engaging playful style was an instant draw. Patrons were literally stumbling over each other to get a taste of the samples being carried around by Grace Foods staff.
This was the final day of the two day Caribbean Food Festival held at the symbolic Windrush Square, Brixton south London as part of the Grace Foods UK Caribbean Food Week due to conclude on Monday 29th August.
Though the temperature was somewhat cooler than yesterday with slight overcast, the crowds returned in their numbers as anticipated. Many were seduced by the soothing sounds of the Coconut Watering Hole Steel band that boasted a repertoire of most of the memorable folk and calypso classics by Sparrow, Arrow, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires and others. Many passers-by were rendered helpless to the combination of the sweet steelpan tunes and the strong smell of curry goat and were seen edging slavishly toward the enclosure. For those who had never visited the Caribbean it was an experience too risky to ignore while for those who had actually visited, the decision to succumb to temptation was an absolute ‘no-brainer’.
Yesterday’s vibe was good as the event settled in and patrons walked and talked about the concept unconsciously helping to create a unique character for the event at that location; but today’s experience was, in the author’s opinion, much more relaxed as stall holders were more confident and comfortable with the general surroundings including the Brixton psyche. Today saw many groups of family and friends who were destined to sample everything on offer particularly from the food demonstrations.
When asked about her overall impression of the event, Grace Foods UK marketing manager, Nyree Chambers answered confidently, “I think it went very well and I’m encouraged for the future of Caribbean Food Festival.”