February 2023

Callaloo fritters to curry goat – local families get to cook Jamaican dishes with expert chef in university training kitchens

By Melanie Hall

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University College Birmingham’s training kitchens provided the backdrop for a community culture cooking session where more than 70 families got to roll up their sleeves and learn how to make Jamaican dishes with an expert chef.

Let’s Get Culture Cooking with Families, delivered by 2 Much Passion CIC as part of a Bring it on Brum! food festival, gave local people the chance to master a range of Caribbean food with Chef Dane from Dane’s Caribbean Catering, inspired by his place of birth.

Crucially, it was the perfect opportunity to inspire the next generation of chefs from Birmingham at the training ground of everyone from Michelin Star restaurant founder Brad Carter to MasterChef champ Dan Lee.

"These young people are the next generation of chefs and this is the perfect platform to start that journey"

Vanessa Kelly Managing Director, 2 Much Passion CIC

The day started with a demonstration of Jamaican corned beef and rice, vegetable soup and saltfish and callaloo fritters, followed by a lunch of authentic curry goat with rice and vegetables or chickpea curry in the University’s award-winning Restaurant at Birmingham College of Food in Summer Row.

The families then got to recreate all the dishes in a real hands-on, interactive session in the University’s commercial training kitchens, along with healthy fruit and vegetable options to encourage them to eat more healthy foods. 

At the end, everyone was presented with a Jamaican food box and recipe booklet to carry on the experience at home.

The families were given cooking demonstrations by Chef Dane from Dane's Caribbean Catering

Vanessa Kelly, managing director of 2 Much Passion CIC, said it was a fabulous day that got families making scrumptious, multicultural food.

“We are committed to teaching and creating mouth-watering projects which take learners on a journey of culinary skills, but also real-life cooking that will impact their health and wellbeing,” she said.

“To be able to host this event in the beautiful restaurant and commercial kitchens at Birmingham College of Food was an amazing experience for them and fantastic fun.

“Feedback was excellent, with families not being able to fault it, just wishing they had more time. These young people are the next generation of chefs and this is the perfect platform to start that journey.”

In pictures: Let's Get Culture Cooking with Families at Summer Row

Kali Davidson, head of Birmingham College of Food, said: “We were really proud to get behind this project, working with the community and opening up our fantastic facilities to show our support.

“It was a brilliant day with so many families embracing the initiative and Dane was a true star.

“We look forward to working with more community organisations on projects which have such a positive impact, and welcome the opportunity to speak to anyone who has any ideas.”

Dane was the perfect pick as demonstration chef for the day.

By the age of 10, he had learned to roll dumplings and other basic dishes with his mother and vowed to one day launch his own food business and propel Jamaican food into the mainstream.

Today, Dane’s Caribbean Catering hosts both private functions and corporate events with a menu featuring traditional Jamaican fare with a twist, all prepared using the freshest of locally sourced ingredients.

Bring it on Brum! is funded by Birmingham City Council and runs a series of ‘Come and Try’ and family food festival events over the school holidays.

2 Much Passion CIC is available to book and partner with community groups to bring their mobile cooking school to the community.

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