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Vincentian owned restaurant making headlines in New York

Vincentian owned restaurant making headlines in New York


Vincentian entrepreneur Rawlston Williams and his restaurant ‘The Food Sermon’ will be featured on the cooking show ‘Holy and Hungry’ with host Sherri Shepherd on the New York Cooking Channel, this Sunday, September 27.

The restaurant has been the toast of food critics in New York, with The New York Times naming the restaurant, which has only been open for eight months, one of the top 30 places to eat in New York.{{more}}

It is located on the corner of Rogers Avenue and Sullivan Place, Brooklyn, New York.

“One key thing is that through all of this, I am constantly thinking of my country… I’m all about honouring my SVG, nothing more,” Williams said, adding that many traditions are vanishing from St Vincent and the Grenadines and we need to “get back to cooking,” along with innovation and using our imagination to challenge traditions.

Williams said the name of his restaurant was derived from the fact he studied theology, resulting in the sermon reference, which also alludes to everyone having a message/sermon. He said upon questioning himself, he realized that food was his message; he therefore arrived at the name ‘The Food Sermon’.

According to The New York Times, the 38-year-old theology school drop-out found salvation in the kitchen after learning how to cook from his aunt, former teacher Gloria Farrell here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, before being reunited with his parents in the United States.

“I knew that I loved to cook and I wanted to start cooking more often,” he said,

Having graduated from the French Culinary Institute with honours, Williams is greatly passionate about food and describes his dishes as a medley of American and island dishes. This wasn’t enough for the chef, who, driven by motivation, bought cookbooks and listened to the interviews of popular chefs in attempt to perfect the art.

“I look at other cuisine to see how certain elements could be applied to Caribbean food.”

His ‘Island Bowls’ are so far his most popular dishes. They are a mix of Caribbean flavours, composed of chickpeas, beans and rice, with the option of lamb, chicken, fish or tofu. Williams says that all meals cater to the person’s decision. “It’s a privilege when a customer accepts my offering and loves it… The fact that some accept something I’ve made with my hands and ingests it in their body is not something I take lightly,” he says, “so they are called ‘offerings’.”

Williams says he discovered the building where his restaurant is situated one day when he was being given a ticket for making a bad turn by the police, and as he glimpsed the storefront, he said “I love this place; one day it’ll be mine.”

At first, the building was supposed to be a kitchen that did a little catering and although persons were hired to help with the renovations, he and his family did most of the work for the duration of 2014.

One online blog described the restaurant as having a “homely” feeling, and Williams says that he wants customers to feel like they are coming to his place to have a meal. He further stated that most of the décor is custom-made, similar to the décor of his home.

Williams says that his chef inspiration comes from Eric Ripert, owner of the Manhattan restaurant ‘Le Bernardin’; Dorothy Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute and author of the book “Letters to Young Chef” Daniel Boulud.

“The ultimate satisfaction for me is having a good name in the end. I have a bunch of family members who lament about what they should have done when they were younger. I just want to work hard and do my best. It feels good to limp home in the night, lay down and do it all over again the next day.”(AS)