Meet: Ras Jahson. Founder of vegan ‘rastaurant’ and craft shop Zionly Manna, who’ll be performing at our JAM ON RYE festival on the Peckham Levels  SE15-Sessions stage on 28 May.

“I don’t work I get up and serve. It’s about being humble – make sure your heart has reached a pitch, is pulsing at the right rate – I’m here to flow with the universe, and leave a lasting cool”.

Jahson, holding his favourite record down at his craft shop in Peckham Indoor market last week when we went to visit.

Meet: “the Rastafarian Entrepreneur Bringing Vegan Caribbean Food to London”.  He’ll be taking to the @peckhamlevels “local talent stage” with a mix of music performances, talks on reggae and on #ital vegan food at JAM ON RYE and we went down to his book shop & vegan cafe last Friday to talk to him.  Were there for nearly two hours talking  (!) – what an incredible man. His shops in Peckham Market represent everything he loves and are his life – books, music and food. ” I live every day as a new day. I have no menus, no recipes, I treat each day as a blank canvas and be creative”. He doesn’t employ chefs but only young people who want to be creative – and hopes to open a vegan community kitchen in the not too distant future. Above:  Jahson holding his favourite record down at his store stuffed full of African antiques, books and records; and on the back – his sound from when he used to play.

Here’s some of the delicious vegan food he serves at his cafe next door to the craft shop (he plans to open a THIRD shop / vegan ice cream parlour in June), – a box of  vegan dumplings and Ethiopian stews with some homemade tamarind ginger juice and scotch bonnet hot sauce which we took over to Peckham Rye for a picnic. Oh and he’s doing a “dumplingz dip ‘n dance” night down on 24th. We’re definitely going.

We grabbed a few moments to ask Jahson a few #JAMONRYE related questions. See what he said below:

Story behind ‘Zionly Manna’

Zionly is the prefix to all our companies. It’s due to the birth of my daughter which gave birth ot the will to create unique busines formats that create employment and inspiration.

Story behind your music 

Music. The one that has most influence on my consciousness.

Have you always been vegan?

Over 25 years. I’m 47. It takes a conscious mind to employ WILL.

How and when did you get into food and why did you open a cafe?

I’ve been cooking since 9 years old. Mum sets the pot in the morning. I will come from school and finish the job. The style of cooking is Zionly Manna is a product of two matriarchs. My mother and my grandmother. The flavour is from my love of travel and experience – West Africa, Ethiopia, Caribbean and a study of the body desires. 

Favourite song?

The song that lifts my spirit at the moment most needed

What does reggae mean to you?

A voice with freedom of expression and the birth of mine

Who are you most looking forward to performing alongside at JAM ON RYE? 

In the presence of creative minds and beautiful souls is what I’m looking most forward to experiencing. 

Favourite spot in Peckham?

I grew up in North Peckham Estate. In the 70s and 80s Peckham is my favourite spot. It is full of childhood memories every day. IMAGINE THAT


The place where Peckham Levels is used to be a cinema of where I saw the Superman movie. They then knocked it down and build the first Sainsbury Superstore.. Where I had to do the shopping! But could skateboard in the park.