The seminar convener announces a coffee break and you think “yawn,” another platter of soggy bread with tuna or cheese and some plain old cupcakes! But if Delarese Mills has anything do with it, you’ll be left yearning for more. Think delectable wraps and savoury chips instead!
Breadfruit, a frequent addition to Jamaica’s world renowned national dish, is a tabletop favourite when roasted or fried and Mrs. Mills has sought to capitalize on this by using it, as well as dasheen to make chips, a unique offering on the coffee break menu. It’s one of the skills the Operations Supervisor at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s Incubator and Resource Centre passes on to participants in her Coffee Break Workshop.
Known for its dominance in innovation, the JBDC ensures that participants leave with ideas for an impressive and extraordinary menu. “Everyone is doing the same thing. We want our participants to get creative in thinking about what they can do to provide a unique and unforgettable experience, so we train them in a practical and fun way to wow their clients through utilizing local and available ingredients to develop new offerings,” she noted.
Kerry-Ann Joiles, operator the Silver Bowl Restaurant in Angels Plaza, Spanish Town says “we were very impressed by the fresh ideas that Mrs. Mills exposed us to, which helped us to revamp our business in terms of our menu offerings in that category and we even transferred some of the knowledge to cocktail parties and so on. Our clients were happy with the unique items on our menu like the breadfruit and dasheen chips. Once we grasped the concept of colours and textures in wraps, we were able to customize it with various fillings like peas and beans for vegetarians and that also wowed our clients, as they kept asking what they were made of. If our clients are happy, it means more business for us,” she said.
Coffee breaks are an integral feature of corporate events and therefore a viable business source for food service providers. With this in mind, the Coffee Break Workshop primarily targets entrepreneurs in the industry to enhance their skills and earning power. Mrs. Mills also recommends the workshop for Administrative Support Staff who normally prepare the refreshments for meetings in corporate entities.
At the end of the eight-day workshop (March 14 – 23), participants will have been fully immersed and should be able to produce a variety of foods, hot & cold beverages, as well as apply key supporting elements. “Portion control skills allow the restauranteurs to maximize on profits by serving the right amount of food to customers. Serving the right amount can drive a business, while serving too much or too little can destroy a business,” she explained.
Supporting elements include costing & pricing and hygiene. “The way you dress for a catered function says a lot about you and your business; some caterers choose to wear a chef’s jacket or a branded shirt. We want our graduates to present a complete package to their clients so we strongly enforce branding in terms of business name, logo and product packaging,” she said.
Participants also receive a Coffee Break book containing recipes, as well as supporting topics like nutrition and food preparation. Wake up and smell the new coffee break!
DASHEEN CHIPS W/ SMOKED HERRING DIP
- 2lbs Dasheen
- 2 quarts Water
- 2 tbsp. kosher or Sea Salt
- 2 cups Vegetable/ Coconut Oil
- Wash & peel dasheen
- Cut dasheen into halves, then use a mandolin to cut thin slices
- In large bowl, place the dasheen in 2 quarts of water (enough to cover the slices) and add 1 tbsp. of salt
- Soak for about 15-20 mins
- Remove the dasheen and pat dry
- Using a medium to large frying pan, add the 2 cups of oil and heat to 180 ̊C
- Place dasheen slices in heated oil
- Fry for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown
- Drain & sprinkle with a pinch of salt while the chips are still hot
- Serve with Smoked Herring Dip
Smoked Herring Dip
- 4 oz. Cream Cheese
- 1 tbsp. Sour Cream or Cow’s Milk 2-3 tbsp. Spicy Solomon Grundy Pinch of Cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, add Cream Cheese and Sour Cream or Milk
- Use a fork and cream the mixture until smooth
- Add the Herring and pinch of Cinnamon to the mixture and cream for 1 minute
- Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes, then cover with cling wrap in the refrigerator
- Serve with Chips