'Mello Vibes' for Dean Hamilton
Desrick “Dean” Hamilton and his wife, Tameka (Photo: Kevin Jackson)

It's been a rough journey for Desrick "Dean" Hamilton but thanks to events like retro party series Mello Vibes, he has several loyal customers for his jerk chicken business.

When the latest edition of Mello Vibes takes place on January 28 at the Mas Camp in St Andrew, Hamilton said he will ensure that his customers are catered to in style.

"I knew how to cook. I learnt from my grandmother and my mother but I learnt to do jerk chicken along the way by a close friend and over time, I enhanced my skills," he told the Jamaica Observer.

"I used to sell jerk chicken on the street side and one day I saw the promoters of Mello Vibes and approached them to sell at their event. This was from the mid-2000s when Mas Camp was still on Oxford Road. I have to give the promoters a lot of thanks because from those times until now, I know I can go to that event and take care of my bills and my children. The support has really been good and I have been able to develop a rapport with customers at events over the years," he continued.

In addition to Mello Vibes, Hamilton has showcased his culinary skills at Marco Polo, Funfest, Footloose, Yesterday, and Dream Weekend.

"I enjoy seeing people having fun while I am providing a service to them at the same time," he said.

Hamilton entered the CB PAN Chicken competition in 2017 in which he represented Kingston and St Andrew. Although he didn't secure a place in the grand finals, the experience has been a rewarding one.

"After I entered the competition, I got a lot of calls to cater at events. Thanks to the support of Alicia Bogues at CB and Kemoi Burke who used to work there, they always look out for me and whenever an opportunity comes up, they contact me," he said as he got emotional during the interview.

In September last year, Hamilton opened his restaurant D&T Crunchy Munchy which is situated on Chisholm Avenue off Maxfield Avenue in Kingston. The business employs eight persons who also assist with selling jerk chicken, jerk pork and soups at parties and events.

"I feel proud of myself to know that all these workers are looking at me for the support, so they can take care of themselves. They reside in nearby communities, so I am giving them an opportunity to enhance their lives," said Hamilton.

Kevin Jackson

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