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RoodonFood Interviews: ReCaFo | Real Caribbean Food

Red Peas Soup Via ReCafo

Carribean food comes from the soul. Simple ingredients like red peas and rice, ackee or jerk chicken put a smile on your face and make you feel irie to use the Jamaican patois. ReCaFo, is a successful distributor of Carribean food and starting yesterday, November 11th purveyors of a brand new restaurant in Long Island City, Queens called ReCaFo | Real Caribbean Food.

What first caught my eye are the amazing recipes and pictures on the site including red peas soup, curry goat, and oxtail. The Director of Marketing, Dave Smith was nice enough to do an email interview with me about what makes ReCaFo special and Carribean food.

ReCaFo Foods on WordPress: features stories about the Carribean and glorious recipes.
ReCaFo Store: Check out their sauces and food goods
ReCaFo Food Shack is located in the Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY

RoodonFood (R): How is Jamaican food different than other Caribbean foods? Grenada is famous for oil down. What are some dishes famous from Jamaica?
Dave Smith (DS): Jamaica’s motto is “Out of many, one people” this is transferred throughout the culture in many ways, through dance, music, and food. Jamaican cuisine provides and eclectic mix of several ethnicities including but not limited to Indian,
Chinese, European, and mostly African. Jamaica was the largest slave colony of the British Empire thus there was the need to have variety for the local folks. Some famous Jamaican dishes are Jerk which is 100% Jamaican (examples of Jerk dishes are Jerk Chicken, Pork,
Fish, etc.) curried goat, oxtail and of course the national dish which is ackee with salted Alaskan codfish.

R: ReCaFo is a successful Caribbean packaged goods business. What made you decide to open the restaurant now? Why did you choose Long Island City for your restaurant?
DS: ReCaFo started in April 2013; our aim is to offer Caribbean food to everyone a part from Caribbean nationals thus making the cuisine the next big thing in line with Italian/French cuisine. We decided to open a physical location as a second phase of our business plan. People who have tasted our food loved it, and those who have not, are eager to try it, so our restaurant provides our customers with that gastronomic experience of tasting real Caribbean food first hand. Long Island City was chosen because it is the perfect place to reach our target market.

R: What do you predict will be your best selling item?
DS: We predict that our best selling items will be our mouthwatering Jerk chicken and Jamaican patties in the prepared foods category. Our packaged goods provide a delectable range of products, such as our Reggae Jerk Sauce and the Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce which has received rave reviews, but our other products such as the Island Heat Hot Sauce, Jamaican Sweet & Spicy Sauce and our Reggae Jerk BBQ Sauce are also popular.

R: Are you a family business? What part of Jamaica do you hail from?
DS: ReCaFo is owned and operated by two close friends and business partners. David Wisdom is the Owner/C.E.O. and hails from the parish of St. James (Montego Bay) located on the North West tip of the island. Dave Smith is the Director of Marketing and hails from the parish of Manchester (Mandeville) located in Central Jamaica.

R: You mention on the website that many claim to offer “real” Caribbean food but don’t. What makes ReCaFo’s authentic?
DS: All our ingredients are sourced through a certified Caribbean distributor who imports the authentic ingredients from Jamaica. Other restaurants and manufacturers use regular supermarket seasonings that have never seen the light of day much less the tropical Jamaican sun, making their products unauthentic.

R: What is the secret to good jerk seasoning?
DS: The secret to good jerk seasoning is…. If we tell you then it won’t be a secret ;).

R: What are some vegetarian or vegan friendly options?
DS: Some vegetarian or vegan friendly options that we provide are:
-Jamaican Veggie Chunks which includes vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, and callaloo that are prepared with spices such as ginger, all spice and a hint of pepper for added flavor.
-Vegetable Patties which are made using the same method as any other patty and vegetables and spices are added and folded inside the crust.
-Tofu which is marinated in jerk seasoning and steamed with other spices.
-Ital Stew which is an organic stew which includes Jamaican yams, vegetables and spices.

R: How many people can the new restaurant seat?
DS: The owners of Chelsea Markets in Manhattan are creating a clone in Long Island City at the Falchi Building. While the building is undergoing renovations we will temporarily occupy one of five spaces in an area named “The Food Box.” Little customer seating will be available during this period. Upon completion we hope to occupy a bigger area.

R: What can people expect when they walk into ReCaFo Food Shack? What’s the atmosphere like?
DS: Our intent will be to have an atmosphere that is reminiscent of the Caribbean. As you walk through the door you are greeted with arched palm trees, bamboo type tables and seats, the walls coming alive with the warm blue of the Caribbean Sea, the bartender serving up a colorful Bob Marley (one of the best drinks on the island), the sound of sweet reggae music, and just a warm vibe that immediately takes you away to the islands. However, due to the current space availability, you can expect this relaxing atmosphere in our future locations.

ReCaFo Food Shack is located in the Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY

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