You won’t be acquainted with Haitian delicacies, however in Seattle, we’re fortunate to have Jusmaine Maitre (nicknamed Juju) as a culinary information to Haitian meals along with her new enterprise, Juju’s Caribbean Kitchen. At 26, she launched the state’s solely Haitian catering enterprise, in the course of a pandemic, no much less.
Figuring out of a commissary kitchen in Tukwila, she affords a rotating menu each Friday and Saturday, in addition to each different Monday — a restricted schedule as she nonetheless holds a day job as a dental assistant. The purpose for her enterprise is straightforward.
“I wish to introduce Haitian tradition to non-Haitians and provides Haitians right here a style of house,” mentioned Maitre.
Maitre moved to Washington from the Caribbean, the place she discovered few Haitian eating places within the area. She additionally did not have household right here however did have her mom’s recipes, which grew to become the idea of her menu. The meals Maitre cooks is Haitian Creole, a delicacies born from a number of cultural influences on Haiti, together with African, French, indigenous Taíno, Spanish, and Arab cuisines.
Her menu consists of lots of the cornerstone dishes in Haiti, from Griot (pronounced gree-oh), citrus-marinated after which fried pork shoulder that’s thought-about the nationwide dish of the island, to tassot, a crispy fried goat dish.
She serves these dishes with Djon Djon rice (Haitian-style rice and beans), fried plantains, and Pikliz, a spicy pickled cabbage condiment laced with scotch bonnets. The mixture of citrus and chile echoes all through lots of her dishes, including brightness to her Fritay or fried meals, like her complete fried fish and Haitian-style fried hen.
One other menu gem is the Legume, a standard vegetable stew. Her rendition features a rainbow of greens: eggplant, papaya, chayote, carrot, cabbage and spinach, with the choice to have it with beef and goat or seafood. The menu additionally consists of spaghetti.
“Haitians usually eat spaghetti for breakfast, however they make it a little bit otherwise. They use tomato paste and hotdogs; serve it with a boiled egg on the facet or a banana,” mentioned Maitre.
It won’t be the spaghetti you are used to in Seattle, however it’s beloved in Haiti and certain the results of American meals like hotdogs and pasta merchandise being launched to the island throughout U.S. occupation.
Whereas Maitre realized to prepare dinner from her mom, she realized about working a restaurant via the business. Her first job in highschool was in a Chinese language restaurant within the Virgin Islands, and from there, she would go on to work almost each place in a restaurant, from server to bartender, meals prep to supervisor. She took a detour from meals to turn out to be a dental assistant however was furloughed in the beginning of the pandemic and determined to make use of the time on her fingers to pursue her dream of opening her personal restaurant.
The undertaking started with simply making meals for associates. Then posts of her meals on Instagram began to elicit feedback about the place folks may order what they have been seeing. That was sufficient encouragement for her to seek out area at a commissary kitchen.
At present, she is doing solely takeout by pre-order, however she goals to have her personal brick and mortar sometime. Within the meantime, she is taking culinary administration courses and internet hosting pop-ups to unfold the phrase about her meals, hoping that quickly everybody will likely be acquainted with the dishes of her house nation.
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