Reggae Delights - The Independent Tees Collective

6 Feb 2021

While lockdown was a bit of a nightmare for a lot of us, for some people, it came as a blessing in disguise. If it wasn't for lockdown, the business in today's Independent Tees Collective post might not have been brought into the world (which would've been a real tragedy for the local area!). This is another one for the foodies, so grab your stretchy pants and cutlery for this feast!

Today, we're chatting about Reggae Delights, an Ingleby Barwick-based biz that specialises in homecooked Jamaican food. Basically, if you love anything jerk, BBQ or curried, you're going to love this business, but there may be one or two things on their menu that you might be new to. They've certainly introduced me to lots of new foods and flavours, so I'm very excited to be sharing them with you all!

Hello! Let's start with a bit of an introduction. Who are you and what is your business all about?

We are Michael and Jen, a husband and wife team! Michael is the talent - Jamaican born and bred, and lived on Teesside for 10 years. He's worked in pubs and restaurants across the region, but has always loved cooking traditional Jamaican food at home for family and friends.

Jen is the admin, social media, orders, packing and delivery pro. She's a teacher by day and a Reggae Delights supporter by night. Our business is about sharing traditional, homecooked Jamaican food to the people of Teesside!

Where did the inspiration for Reggae Delights come from? What made you want to kickstart it?

Lockdown number one! After Michael had painted the kitchen and tidied up the garden, he was bored. Sat with a glass of rum, he asked whether Jen thought people would buy some Jamaican sweet treats (peanut cake, grater cake, coconut drops). I said that we could only try, so he spent a couple of weeks trying recipes on Jen, our daughter and the neighbours.

The neighbours were so impressed, so we offered a sweet treat box to our friends with tons of interest. Then came the patties and the main meals, and we've gradually added to our 'menu' as we've gone on.

Tell us a bit about your bestselling dish or meal!

Our bestseller is probably curry goat with rice 'n' peas, or the jerk chicken with rice 'n' peas and sweet 'n' sour gravy. Our range of patties are also a big hit too! All of them are as traditional as possible with us importing spices from Jamaica.

What do you enjoy most about running Reggae Delights?

Michael: I love sharing Jamaican food with people who may have never eaten it before, then reading the reviews and thanks when it has impressed them. Repeat customers fill me with pride too, because I know I'm doing something right!

Jen: I have loved supporting my husband to work towards his dream of wanting to share his passion of the food from his childhood with our local community. I really enjoy engaging with customers and all the people I have got to know through our little venture.

What has been Reggae Delights' biggest achievement so far?

Being able to share Michael's love of traditional Jamaican food with so many people in the area. The way that people have reacted to the food has been mind blowing! Thinking that people talk about our food and our business is just incredible!

What do you love about the Teesside independent scene?

How supportive businesses are of each other. Sharing posts, commenting, even collaborating has been brilliant. We had no idea how many local businesses were around and feeling part of something is amazing.

What's next for Reggae Delights?

To continue to grow, gain new customers and even more regulars! More and more people sharing our passion is always the dream. Eventually, we'd love for Reggae Delights to be Michael's full-time job, so we hope to keep working and developing over 2021.

And finally, recommend one other Teesside independent to us!

It's got to be The Next Meal for beautiful, fresh Italian cooking on your doorstep.

If you're fancying a bit of heat and Caribbean sunshine in your next dish, make sure you check out Reggae Delights on Facebook and Instagram. They've got a fantastically flavoursome menu with new specials dropping a couple of times a week, so give them a follow to be in the loop. They're also the loveliest people in the world, so never hesitate to ask questions!

Make sure you check back next week for another incredible Tees independent!

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