HOW IT ALL BEGAN...
My name is Barrington Douglas. I wasn't great at school, but from the age of 12 I had a passion and flair for cooking. As my mum only had sons, and I was the only one interested in cooking, she took it upon herself to teach me as if I was an honorary daughter...
28 years later, and at 40 years old I decided to quit a well paid job, took my savings of 21 years and invested them into my lifelong dream of opening a Caribbean restaurant. I founded the restaurant on a small side street in Huddersfield, decided on the name Discovery Bay and the dream became a reality in 2006.
After only one month, Discovery Bay was awarded second place in Yorkshire's Best Ethnic Restaurant 2006. In 2007 we were asked to cater for an event at Harewood House to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery, catering for three and a half thousand people - a huge task for such a fledgling business - the preparation alone took two whole weeks!
The event was a resounding success and we attracted a lot of positive media attention as a result. The following year I went on to win Yorkshire Black Entrepreneur of the Year 2008, presented by Chris Akabusi MBE and then to record "Rhodes around the Caribbean" with Optomen as a guest of Gary Rhodes which aired in April 2009 on UKTV Food.
Optomen were looking for two sous chefs to accompany Gary on his tour of eight Caribbean islands - from Jamaica to Tobago - in a programme which aimed to reveal the region’s rich culinary and cultural tradition. This was a career defining moment for me. I got the chance to cook with some of the Caribbean's top chefs and I also discovered many new recipes which I adapted for the menu back home.
With the restaurant going from strength to strength, in 2009 we were chosen to appear in the Americas section for Gordon Ramsey’s F Word 2010. From a shortlist of 10,000 restaurants, Discovery Bay made it all the way to the top 18. The experience of taking part in this competition was amazing and a true recognition of the quality Caribbean food we serve at Discovery Bay.
Again, our food at both of these events was extremely well received and continued to reinforce our reputation for fantastic Caribbean Food.
WHY BARRINGTONS FOODS ?
After years of cooking Caribbean food for a mainly localised market, Barringtons Foods is a natural progression for me. It is the opportunity to bring Afro-Caribbean flavours to the whole of the UK Food market, to introduce fresh ideas and to bring something new.
We all know Indian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and French food, but Afro-Caribbean is much less well known here. This is surprising given that people from the Caribbean have been living in the UK for over 60 years. Caribbean food is exciting for everybody, it's appeal is universal and there's much more to it than just the spicy hot flavours. It's time people knew about it !
Barringtons Foods is the culmination of all I have learned over the years. Using what I have picked up from my mother, from running the restaurant, and from working with great chefs like Gary Rhodes et al, I have been able to produce my own range of Caribbean food products that everyone can enjoy at home.
For me, doing things a little differently has helped to bring Caribbean Food forward, so for the initial launch of Barringtons Foods, I have picked some of my favourite Caribbean flavours and combined them with British cuisine to give them a unique new-world twist.
I have created a range of pies (including the legendary Jerk Pork Pie), sauces, chutneys and rubs which will be available for you to buy from your local independent food retailer.
The range provides a perfect introduction to Caribbean food for those who haven't experienced it before (as well as those who love it already), allowing you to add Caribbean flavours to barbecues, grills, steak, chips, sandwiches or salads, and the many other meals you enjoy every day.
I've put my heart, soul and passion into Barringtons, and into giving Caribbean food the recognition it deserves. I really hope you can taste it ! The ball is rolling now, so watch out for the next taste sensation in a shop near you..!