'Papa Gus': Serving tasty dishes
FALMOUTH, Trelawny — For the past 37 years, ex-Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier Augustus Josephs, has been toiling day and night preparing meals for his countless customers.
The business, Papa Gus Restaurant, Bar and Guest Rooms, started in his native Wakefield, Trelawny community as a bamboo shack, has evolved over the years and is now a benchmark restaurant in Falmouth, the parish capital.
Josephs, who goes by the moniker 'Papa Gus' (PG) recalls that after he decided to establish his operations at the present location at the then swampy Foreshore Road, he was severely ridiculed.
"When I came here and I dumped this swamp a lot of people laughed at me. They said a mi, alligator and mosquito going stay down here. But I had a plan. Now, I am sorry I never take up more (dump more land). I sorry. Yeah, very sorry," Papa Gus muttered.
The ex-military man said he was inspired to start cooking from the age of 13, by his guardian Bell O'gilvie who used natural seasoning to prepare her meals.
In fact, whether preparing jerk chicken, brown stew fish, steam fish, curry goat, stew goat with red peas, fry chicken, stew chicken, stew peas with chicken, stew goat with chicken, steam vegetable, stew conch, octopus with broad beans, Papa Gus uses his natural seasoning blends.
Another secret to his longevity in business is his keenness on customer service.
"I always educate my staff that customers make you and customers break you. I also tell them if you have a problem with any customer, just give them a smile and walk in the kitchen and say Papa Gus, I have a little problem with a customer out here. I will walk out of the kitchen and deal with my customer because customers put me where I am today," the philosophical cook argued.
He further noted: "I work day and night in my business. I don't leave my business. I care for people and I have a passion for people.
He also expressed his strong faith in God.
"I am on a bus on a journey and when that bus stop at the stoplight and the driver tells me to come off, I have to come off and who is that driver, God Almighty," said a pensive Papa Gus.
OW: How do you cope in this economically challenging time?
PG: Well, I am the head chef. If I had another person as a head chef I would have to pay him so right now what I am really doing is paying myself.
OW: What would be your advice to a young person going into business?
PG: You must have a plan. You can make a plan for 40 years down the road although you are totally ignorant to the next moment. But you still have to make a plan.
OW: Do you plan to develop further?
PG: Yes! God willing I plan to put up some more rooms upstairs when I finish those that are being constructed. Whether you believe it or not, anywhere ship dock you got to have rooms. Because even the ship crew members want rooms to hang out until they ready to return to the ships.
OW: How do you deal with the competition?
PG: I don't watch competition. Just serve the purpose that you come to serve. Don't think about competition just do what you are supposed to do.