Hanging out with the latest batch of inKERBators, there’s a familiar face… one of KERB’s own has decided to take the plunge and take their tasty side hustle to the next level. Introducing Caydie, and her food business, Jerk & Lobster!

Tell us a little bit about you Caydie…

I’m Caydie, Sales & Events Manager at Seven Dials Market. I’ve been working for KERB for a year and a half now, looking after all things bookings, private hire and business development at our flagship food hall in Covent Garden. I’m Caribbean (Jamaican and Grenadian) and grew up in Fulham, West London, but now live in Hammersmith.

Where does your love of food come from?

I come from a very foodie background, my Mum is a chef and I have been cooking since I was 5 or 6. As a child, I loved food! It was my dream to have a stall on Portobello or at Carnival, and I used to chat with my cousin about the menu and what we’d serve. In 2018 whilst working as an Office Manager, I decided to take the plunge and apply for a stall at Carnival – and I got in! Sadly, my cousin then passed away. So in the midst of grieving, I took Jerk & Lobster to Notting Hill Carnival. And it was a mess! I had no idea what I was doing. On the first day I was so late, I missed getting in. But on the second day I arrived early, and it was incredible. We had large queues and everyone was loving our food. We even had a few customers who brought seconds.

What came next for Jerk & Lobster?

After that, I went back to my day job and forgot all about it. But my friends and family didn’t. They were constantly cussing me asking me when I’d be cooking again. So I gave in, and on the weekends I started building my Instagram and Snapchat, and within about a month my family, friends and new customers had managed to spread the word and I managed to quickly grow a really big customer base. A bit too quickly! 

I would start cooking on Friday night, and cook all through the weekend… I was running the business from my Mum’s kitchen, but it was growing and I soon wanted to quit my job. I took the plunge just before lockdown in 2019, which you’d think was the worst timing ever, but actually worked in my favour. The restaurants weren’t open, but my kitchen was! I started promoting my menu for takeaway from my Mum’s kitchen, and soon had a big queue of cars outside waiting for their food. My Mum started getting a little annoyed and worried about what the neighbours would think, “it’s not a nightclub Caydie!” she would yell. 

From takeaways to private event gigs…

I carried on, and as the COVID restrictions lifted I started getting private event enquiries. My first catering job was actually for Warner Brothers Music! I was so scared, but I’ve been brought up helping my Mum with her own private catering jobs as a waitress, and so I took the job. My Mum came with me to show me how to do it, and she gave me the confidence to do it myself. So I did more, cooking for some pretty high profile clients like rappers and footballers!

I soon outgrew my Mum’s kitchen so I got my own place, and joined KERB (taking a job at Seven Dials Market) to give me that bit of extra financial stability. The business went on the back burner, and the last year just whizzed by! 

God put me in the right place though, working every day in the heart of a street food business like KERB. Watching all the new traders move into Seven Dials Market and do so well – it’s really inspiring. 

The KERB team have been nagging me to join the inKERBator all year, and my family told me I’d be crazy not to take the opportunity. I’m good at cooking, but I don’t have the business knowledge yet, so the inKERBator felt like the right step to take, allowing me to grow and also learn on the way. . 

What has the inKERBator programme been like so far for you?

It’s been so informative. In fact, some of the sessions have been so eye opening, that I’ve left and had a little cry! I thought my business was where it needed to be, but the inKERBator is really showing me that I have so much learning to do. As well as fixing things I’ve done wrong – and getting my admin straight! I’m three weeks in and I’ve learnt so much already. 

I’m so happy I went for it. My only public-facing trading experience was Notting Hill Carnival, and street trading is so different. Now I just need to implement all the learnings! 

Jerk & Lobster serving up jerk chicken

What are your hopes and dreams for Jerk & Lobster?

I would love to have a permanent site. Maybe not bricks and mortar, but a commercial kitchen that would allow me to cook in bigger volumes and take on those bigger private events! I’d also love to be a private international chef, and travel beyond the UK. Cooking for intimate events, but all over the world.

Perhaps a Jerk & Lobster at Seven Dials Market…?

That would be an incredible opportunity!

What is it like being a young Black female entrepreneur in the world of food?

At first, I was nervous that people wouldn’t receive my food well – because I’ve only cooked for family and friends in the past who are used to Caribbean food and flavours! What surprised me most is how diverse my clients are. Turns out, everyone loves Caribbean soul food! It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it’s very rewarding. My food really puts a smile on people’s faces, and so it’s great knowing that’s what i’m putting my time and energy into.

In the future, I would love to be able to hire a team, and give other young people from diverse backgrounds opportunities that they might not get otherwise. 

Which Black women in food inspire you?

I have to say my Granny, Mum and Auntie Julie! They are the ones who taught me how to cook. People often say I’ve got my Granny’s hands – I don’t cook like a young person. That’s a huge compliment to me! 

I’m also really inspired by other Black food entrepreneurs who started their businesses around the same time as me. Brands like Patois Food. I don’t know them, but I feel so proud of them!

Leave us drooling… what is Jerk & Lobster’s signature dish?

The seafood boil! Snow crab, lobster, king prawns, king crab and fresh corn, cooked in all the Caribbean spices (scotch bonnet, thyme, pimento). 

But of course, we’re also well known for our jerk. I get most of my seasonings from back home, and make my family bring it over in their suitcases when they visit! Using those fresh seasonings makes it taste more authentic. And the final thing is that we use a jerk pan, with pimento leaves in the fire. That really infuses the meat with extra flavour. 

Jerk & Lobster at KERB Market

Describe Jerk & Lobster’s menu in three words…

Tasty, spicy, soulfood!

Follow Caydie’s journey (and her delicious food) at @jerkandlobster.