There are several things that connect Barbadians living outside of the island to their homeland. Right after travelling home for Crop Over and the appreciation of our music comes Bajan food. We love food! Don’t matter wherever you live in this world there is someone in your city that can hook you up with some of your favourite dishes.
Toronto, being one of the most multicultural cities in the world and only 5 and a bit hours from home, is no different. Over the years there have been reoccurring vendors at summer festivals and other events but nothing year round that looked to satisfy the rabid demands of Bajans abroad as well as friends of the island. Many of this audience uses food to maintain a connection to a place they may have vacationed been married or taken a honeymoon.
Enter The Bajan Kitchen in Toronto. “The idea for The Bajan Kitchen arose from our own frustrations of not having any Barbados on the water or any other opportunity to enjoy great Bajan cuisine because of Covid-19 of course, so we decided to have our own socially distanced pop-up event for Independence weekend 2020”, says founder Fabian Mayers.
So far the pop up events have been well attended by eager patrons who preorder their dishes and then pick up at one of several locations around the GTA. The menu ranges from fish cakes, souse, grilled fish and other items like rice and stew and sweetbread.
With the increased demand, the obvious next step for Mayers and his team of skilled Barbadian chefs is to transition form pop-up to brick and mortar. “Bajan cuisine deserves much more respect and admiration than we think it commands here in the GTA, our Caribbean brothers and sisters have made the leap to establish their cuisines and we intend to do the same for Barbados!” Lately they have even run a test on the popular delivery service Uber Eats to customers in the Downtown core.
It you are in Toronto, stay glued to their Instagram account @thebajankitchen_ca and website www.bajankitchen.ca for event listing and their menu. Don’t be surprised if your picks aren’t available if you wait to the last minute. The most popular items can sell out in a few hours – so order early!