Young MoBay chef realises dream of opening own business
Young chef Jordan Reid

MONTEGO BAY, St James — His grandmother was the main recipe.

Jordan Reid used to bake puddings and traditional Christmas cake with Daisy, his paternal grandmother, at the age of 10 and that has shaped who he is today.

After 16 years of nurturing his love for food and pastries 26-year-old Reid has jumped heart first into opening a pastry outlet, Chef Jordan's, in this western Jamaica city.

Beaming with pride as he explained how he nurtured his love for gastronomy throughout his teenage years, Reid, a past student of Herbert Morrison Technical High School in this parish, told the Jamaica Observer that the venture was the icing on the cake for all his hard work.

"I recently opened a pastry store in Montego Bay at the Baywest Plaza. That is a new venture that I just embarked on — it is my new baby. It is my first storefront, even though I have been selling pastries for a while," he said, pointing out that he has been cooking and baking professionally for approximately eight years.

Shrimp kebabs done by young chef Jordan Reid

Reid went on to state that after completing high school he decided to pursue further education in the culinary arts. That, he thought, would have been a 'piece of cake'. However, he had to devote many years to his dream of one day becoming a chef.

"After high school I went to [the Montego Bay] Community College where I spent a couple months, but I left and went to [HEART/NSTA Trust] where I did a course," Reid told the Sunday Observer.

Acknowledging that many people might question his decision to step away from community college, Reid explained that he believes he found the "better fit" in the culinary arts programmes being offered at the HEART institution.

"I personally feel like I couldn't get what I wanted from the community college course; I felt like HEART Trust had a better course. A professor there by the name of Randy Plummer took me under his wings and taught me everything that he could, with what he had to teach, so he also guided me along the way. HEART Trust was a better fit because it was more hands-on, and that is how I learn," Reid elaborated.

Some of Chef Jordan's tasty doughnuts

With 18 months of training at the institute under his belt Reid then went on to the Canada-based Centennial College to complete a culinary management course, before "coming back home and giving myself back to the industry to learn and adapt".

In continuing his journey with the culinary arts Reid told the Sunday Observer that he decided to bring his skills and knowledge to the tourism sector. However, that was shortlived as he has always felt like he needed more.

That, he said, was the starting point of his personal chef and baking career as he took a leap of faith and bet on himself.

"I was initially working in the hotel and restaurant industry but I wasn't getting what I really wanted from that either, in terms of fulfilment when it came on to how far I could actually go and the capacity to learn," he said.

Chef Jordan's "famous" glazed doughnuts

Reid continued, "I have a skill that I feel is very unique because I am a very good chef and also a very good baker — which I got to understand (while at Centennial College) is a rare combination so I decided to capitalise on that. I created a business concept around it, and that's what Chef Jordan's was made from."

Young in age but not in wisdom, Reid also believes that through the teachings of his grandmother and those he acquired in formal education, he has what it takes to make an impact in the local culinary industry with his sweet treats.

He pointed out that his donuts have already become a crowd favourite among his customers.

"Our donuts are probably the best in the west for sure — people have come into the country for it, travelled from out of town to come get it, and it is something that has been doing well," said Reid.

One of Chef Jordan's many tasty treats, cheesecake

His other sweet treats are also worth the hype, Reid quickly pointed out.

"I also do cheesecakes, which are our next best-seller. Customers can also get cinnamon rolls, garlic rolls, specialty breads, and we also do smaller items like tarts," the young chef said.

Nowadays, Reid might be as busy as popcorn on a skillet, however he is relishing the fact that he is living his dream. He told the Sunday Observer that his passion for food ensures that he provides the best quality to his customers.

"I try to source the best materials to make sure that I give my customers quality ingredients that they wouldn't normally get from mass production bakeries. All of our goods are artisan; made by young, passionate bakers who are using the best-quality products possible," he said.

Young St James chef Jordan Reid showcasing some of the meals he has prepared.

"All of the skills that I have learned over the years — self-taught and otherwise — I put them into these pastries to get the best products," Reid assured.

Already known for providing quality products in and around Montego Bay, Reid told the Sunday Observer that he is determined to build a brand that is recognisable across the island.

"I want to allow people all over Jamaica to experience our famous doughnuts, cheesecakes and other pastries that we have here in Montego Bay," he told the Sunday Observer.

Chef Jordan Reid during a private catering

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