Jamaican Andre James is the founder and CEO of Jerky’s: Cozinha Caribenha, the first company to serve authentic Jamaican food in Brazil. He was inspired to start the company when he moved to São Paulo and discovered that he could not find Jamaican food there. This did not surprise him too much as in a country with a population totaling some 211 million people, fewer than 200 Jamaicans live there. So he decided that he would be the person to introduce Brazil to the deliciousness of Jamaican cuisine.
James was born in Kingston and attended Campion College. He moved to Brazil in 2010 to take advantage of a scholarship presented to him by the Brazilian government to study dentistry at the University of São Paulo.
Over the 11 years James has lived in Brazil, he has noticed that there are significant similarities in Brazilian food and Jamaican food that would make the island’s flavors popular in the South American country. There are also differences: while Brazilian food uses many of the same elements as Jamaican cuisine, Jamaican dishes offer a different and dynamic approach through the use of different herbs and seasonings. James believed that Brazilians would appreciate a Jamaican take on their traditional dishes.
Jerky´s: Cozinha Caribenha is a fast-casual restaurant that specializes in jerk cuisine. The restaurant came together through the combined efforts of Brazilian, Jamaican and American investors. The company’s goal is to become Brazil’s next restaurant chain. James and his investors are excited to give Brazilians a dining experience and flavors they have never had before. They want to change the gastronomic landscape both in the city of São Paulo and ultimately in the country of Brazil in general.
“The response by Brazilians since we have opened have been extremely good. They are very much pleased and amazed by the multiple layers of flavors present in Jamaican cuisine.” James told the Jamaicans.com team.
Jerky´s: Cozinha Caribenha faced particular challenges when it launched in July of 2020 right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the continuing restrictions have forced the company to rethink its original strategies and plans for expansion. Despite these challenges, however, the restaurant has received extremely positive feedback from its clients and customers as it navigates new ways to survive during this difficult period.
As a startup company, Jerky´s: Cozinha Caribenha is open to angel investments and welcomes any support that may add value to its mission.