Food

Lessons on Perserverance, Drizzled with Laughter and Love

Applaud it!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

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Eight Mountain View Primary School Grade Four students recently enjoyed a spectacular lunch curated by chef/patron of Broken Plate Damion Stewart and hosted by Lasco Group of Companies founder, chairman and CEO Lascelles Chin. “This is an opportunity,” explained Applaud It! conceptualiser and Jamaica Observer Senior Associate Editor, Lifestyle & Social Content Novia McDonald-Whyte, “for you to meet Mr Lascelles Chin exactly where he is and for him to meet you. He will share his journey to the top with you and I want you to feel free to ask him as many questions as you would like. In addition, Chef Damion Stewart will also share his journey as he introduces you to the menu he has prepared for you this afternoon.”

With the adorable, bubbly group of students comfortably seated at the table talking about their love of Lasco Food Drink and hanging on to his every word, Chin commended the students for their awareness. “I certainly was not as engaging at your age,” shared the business titan. He charged them to dream big as he himself did, despite growing up as a poor boy. “Let me tell you how poor I was! I had one pair of shoes and if I ever go and kick stones and be rude, I would have to walk barefoot,” he said. The students were surprised to hear how the company — which manufactures their favourite Lasco Vanilla Food Drink — actually got its start. “I started that company with £175... [it doesn't sound like a lot of money today, but it was back then]; in half of a rented house because I could not afford to rent a whole house and I had an old car,” Chin explained. “When you go to school now, you need to have hope and ambition... you could be where I am now,” he stressed. The students, who shared dreams of becoming teachers, doctors and lawyers, attentively listened to Chin's sage advice. The iconic businessman and philanthropist continued, “Whatever you choose to be or do, become an authority on it and you will enjoy what you do. Oftentimes, it's not all about money. It is important to choose a career that you can make money from, but in case that does not happen, do the best you can with the hand that you are served. That's the only way to enjoy life.”

Stewart not only introduced the menu but used his own story to further motivate the children.

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech Ja) alumnus recounted how he knew that he wanted to be a chef from as early as 10, but was told it was not a suitable career path. Becoming a doctor or lawyer he was told, would be better options. Stewart nonetheless followed his passion and pursued culinary studies. “I knew my journey; I knew what I wanted to be so I continued and I persevered,” said Stewart. After graduating with a BSc in Culinary Arts Management, gaining experience overseas, then building his name locally as a corporate chef, Stewart moved into the entrepreneurial lane and is now the head chef and co-principal of Broken Plate Restaurant.

Lunch commenced with a roasted vegetable bisque served in an ultra-mod soup plate, raising a few brows. Soon, however, the soup's vivid colour and rich consistency were receiving favourable nods. The “pinned” fish taco with fresh pineapple pico de gallo, avocado crema and garlic aioli was a fun take on the traditional Mexican dish and was relished by the students who methodically removed the miniature clothespins prior to enjoying the soft and hard tacos.

With the replacement of the steak knife to make it easier for students to manipulate the main course students readied for the chef's grilled lamb rack with sides of sweet potato croquette, sautéed fresh market vegetables with a mint yoghurt dressing. It was a veritable tour de force with all appreciating its flavour and tenderness.

Lunch was brought to a delicious close with 'Winter has fallen', a dessert of oreo, peanut butter and cherry truffles topped with blueberries.


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