Michigan Restaurant Celebrates Jamaican Seasonal Hospitality Workers

The Aerie Restaurant and Lounge in Traverse City, Michigan, offered a four-course Jamaican meal on October 29, 2016, to honor the many Jamaican workers who travel to the city for seasonal employment in the hospitality industry. In 2016, the Grand Traverse Resort provided jobs for 80 Jamaicans, and the meal was designed as a tribute to their home culture. According to Chef Rose Marie Henry, she is pleased to represent her country and the other Jamaicans who work in the area. She has traveled to Traverse City since 2013 to work from May to November in the Aerie kitchen. Henry grew up in Jamaica and watched her mother cook for many weddings, birthdays, and extended family dinners. Cooking came to her naturally, and Henry says it is “in her” to cook as well. Two other Jamaican chefs, Lisa Lawrence and Kimberly Peddie have worked at the Grand Traverse Resort for four years, adding their island style to the menu. Jamaican cuisine has become a favorite choice for members of the Grand Traverse community. Diners at the celebratory meal had a choose between saltfish fritters and jerk chicken spring rolls that feature a spicy mix of cayenne, thyme, garlic and scotch bonnet peppers. Dessert options included Jamaican fruit cake, Tia Maria sponge cake and sweet potato pudding with a special sauce created by Peddie. All three chefs take pride in their cooking and their culture. They hope that sharing Jamaica’s cuisine with American diners will encourage them to visit the Caribbean country.