He is the go-to chef of Jamaica, catering to celebrities and royalty alike as they holiday on the stunning isle known as the jewel of the Caribbean.
Voted Caribbean Chef of the Year three times over, internationally acclaimed Chef Collin Brown is one of the world’s most enthusiastic ambassadors of authentic Caribbean cuisine.
Jamaica has long been the playground of the rich and famous and when the rich and famous are in town, Collin is always busy. During the last year he has catered parties for Katy Perry, Beyonce, and the Crown Prince of Saudi
Arabia and America’s best known dynasty – the Rockerfellers to name a few. All his celebrity clients have one thing in common, the desire to experience an authentic taste of Jamaica.
To mark Notting Hill Carnival weekend we catch up with Chef Collin Brown:
When you first brought Caribbean cuisine to the UK how did you think people would respond to the flavours? Curried goat and ackee and saltfish or example?
I didn’t think, I just knew the food was super, super good so I just needed to find a way to open people’s minds to it. When I arrived in the UK in 1997 the attitude towards ethnic food was very different to what it is now. UK consumers can’t get enough of international cuisine and trendy street food now.
What is your greatest memory of Notting Hill carnival?
Where on earth did so many people come from?
Jamaican food is known for its lively and sometimes spicy flavour. For those just looking to add a little sunshine to their food what would you recommend? Jerk all the way! (Chef Collin Brown’s Jerk Chicken available for publication)
Are you a spicy man yourself? What’s the hottest you can handle?
I love spice but I think people misunderstand the whole spice issue. It’s not about using the hottest spices, it is all about how to balance spice in your dishes to maximise flavour and bring out the best in the ingredients.
When you started Jamaican Patty Co. was it a challenge going from a restaurant to a street food concept? Or perhaps it was liberating?
Jamaican food is street food, it’s just for Europeans to get it we had to meet them half way so I took it to the public in a very modern form. I am passionate about fresh produce and quality ingredients, which are both essential to achieve a real Jamaica flavour. When consulting on the menu for the Jamaican Patty Co. I insisted that every single patty is freshly baked in store, just like they are in Jamaica. The founder Theresa Roberts was 100 per cent on board with this as she is incredibly passionate about customers experiencing an authentic taste of Jamaica.
What is your number one drink to relax on the beach with?
You’ve cooked for Katy Perry and Beyonce to name a few, what do you think it is about your food and the experience that appeals to them so much?
Jamaican food is a well-loved food the world over. If you balance it well and present it beautifully, the sky is the limit.
Have you got any other plans for projects In the UK?
I have put an excellent range of products together for the UK and European market. They are already perfectly balanced, so the end user looks and feels like a chef when they use them. Jamaica has never had a chef put an authentic range together, so itis something I am very proud of and looking forward to launching soon. It has always been my dream to make authentic Jamaican food accessible and easy for consumers to enjoy on a regular basis, because the food is so insanely good.
What is your favourite music to crank up when you’re cooking?
I listen to Sizzla, a lot!
What are your Notting Hill Carnival survival tips?
Abide by the rules and PARTY!!! For some Caribbean flavour this Notting Hill Carnival, try Big Up Fruit Punch Energy Drink and Island Sun West Indian Style Hot Pepper Sauce, both available in selected Tesco stores.
Chef Collin Brown’s Ultimate Jerk Chicken
1/4 of chicken
2 rings of Scotch Bonnet pepper
2 sprigs of spring onion
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of pimento
1 tablespoon of wet jerk seasoning
2 tablespoons of all purpose seasoning
4 tablespoons of jerk BBQ sauce
4 tablespoons of sweet chilli dip
2 tablespoons of jerk marinade
4 tablespoons of water
Chop or blend onion, Scotch Bonnet pepper, fresh thyme and pimento then mix in wet jerk seasoning. Use the marinade to season the chicken and grill for 45 min. (For extra succulence you can marinade the chicken for three hours in the fridge)
To make jerk sauce:
Place marinade in bowl, add jerk BBQ sauce, sweet chilli dip and water. Drizzle over the chicken and serve.