VIDEO: 'Game Day Dog' at Tracks & Records
Tracks & Records
The upper deck dining room of Tracks & Records rolled out the welcome carpet last Tuesday evening to the Jamaica Observer Food Awards judging panel, introducing their adventurous palates to the sports bar's just-launched delicious range of hot dogs.
Created by the eatery's dynamic executive chef Rochelle Grindley -- who, as coincidence would have it, was a Food Awards scholarship recipient in 2008 — the five-selection hot dog menu that graced the table was impressive in its distinct variety of flavours, and satisfying for the hefty portion sizes.
Billed a 'Game Day Dog' limited-time offer promotion (slated to run for six weeks), the hot dogs, available in sweet and spicy, chilli, BBLT, Jam Dung Sloppy, and pigs in poncho options, blended classic American and Mexican culinary influences with hints of Jamaican cuisine evidenced by cubed ripe plantains in the Jam Dung Sloppy dog.
Between sips of Red Stripe draught beer and bites of sweet potato chips, both of which come with the $750 one-hot special, the judges expressed surprise that their appetites were quickly satiated by a single hot dog (mind you, the addition of veggies, cheeses and requisite trimmings clearly enhanced the experience) whereas at home, seconds or thirds would be necessitated.
The judges' tasting session concluded with servings of Scotch bonnet cheesecake and Guinness cookie and cream cheesecake from Tracks & Records dessert menu.
— Omar Tomlinson
ON THE RIGHT 'TRACK' WITH ROCHELLE
THURDAY LIFE: (TL) We're proud of the long association with the Jamaica Observer Food Awards as you were a scholarship recipient in 2008. How did being awarded the scholarship shape your culinary career?
Rochelle Grindley (RG): Being awarded the scholarship allowed me great insight on my culinary journey by assisting with the tuition and books to better equip me for the studies which I needed to complete, and mostly that of the management training received from Sandals Resorts International (SRI) where I was trained on several properties locally and internationally.
TL: You started at Tracks & Records as a sous-chef and were promoted to executive chef. What did the promotion mean to you, and how have you adjusted to the role?
RG: The promotion came as a shock, to be honest. I had given myself a timeline upon leaving the University of Technology opting to break barriers as a chef, and moreover a female chef paving the way for younger chefs. I had set a goal of attaining the position of executive chef within five years after graduating from school, and it became a reality that I had not seen coming so soon. I had assumed that I would have had to extend my timeline as it was drawing pretty near to the five-year mark.
TL: What's your culinary vision for the menu offerings at Tracks & Records?
RG: My culinary vision is to capture the true Jamaican ethnicity of our melting pot. Tracks and Records is envisioned under the branding of Usain Bolt, so what better way than to showcase the true Jamaica in the varied cuisines combined with an outburst of flavours? The menu has been changed since I've taken the reins and I must say it has been well received by the public.
TL: What advice would you impart to chef aspirants?
RG: I would definitely tell them to be guided by the philosophy " Keep focusing on your goals as distraction is at its highest when success is near". There have been times when I wanted to throw in the towel and do a regular nine to five, questioning whether this pain and heartache, these sleepless nights were all worth me attaining my goals because I'm doing a job for the passion and not the rewards. Each time I felt like that I had to find new inspiration to do greater, and I must say I'm happy I stayed in. There has to be love for what you do, pride and creativity, as those will be the true motivating factors to take you to the next level. Keep challenging oneself, as a challenge is what typically makes or breaks you.