Growing up in East Kingston, Barrington Hutchinson paid close attention to his grandmother and sister's meal preparations in their kitchen. Luckily for him, they were great cooks and he was to follow in their footsteps. Like many youths in the neighbourhood, he would visit the nearby studio - Arrow. The musicians who would walk him home in the evenings got a taste of his cooking. They began combining their funds so Barrington could cook for them. It was then he realised he could make money with his culinary skills and make it his career.
His skills led him around the world touring as chef to reggae star Capleton. Hutchinson spent a decade in Ghana with Stewart Brown, reggae producer and founder of the African Star sound system. As fate would have it, Barrington aka 'Big Reuben', met his wife Ann, and they relocated to her native Belgium.
Once there, he decided to get a formal foundation in his already well-practised craft at the Elishout Culinary School. Another phase of their plan was to eventually run their own restaurant in Jamaica.
Their dream became a reality with the opening of Food Fountain vegetarian and seafood restaurant. Strategically located at 33 Burlington Avenue in the Eastwood Park Gardens community - the informal 'music strip' so called due to the proliferation of recording studios and record labels. The husband-and-wife team knew there were few healthy, home-cooked, vegetarian or fish offerings for the artistes who work in the area and have deliberately set their opening hours of (from 12 noon to 11pm) to accommodate the musicians' nocturnal lifestyle. On any given day (or night) you will see many of Jamaica's reggae artists enjoying a meal in the pristine, minimal space with its comfortable family style seating or popping in for a takeout pick up.
The Hutchinsons' slogan is, Eat healthy, eat fresh and live longer, and that certainly is a reflection of their rastafari lifestyle. Eating well at Food Fountain is not limited or boring as the extensive menu has many enticing choices. There's tofu in coconut curry sauce or with ackee or pineapple sauce. Whole fish are served up in a variety of dishes with choice of starch that ranges from: carrot rice, rice and peas, garden rice, fried rice, saffron rice or couscous. Ground provisions and roti are also available. Every entrée also includes the option of potato, yam or green salads, or mashed Irish. Popular items include fish balls in sweet and sour sauce and ital stew. There's also conch and shrimp items to choose from plus weekly specials. The chef works with whatever is in season, and Vibes was thrilled to enjoy breadfruit salad as one of our sides.
There's also a good selection of fresh pressed juices including moringa, pineapple blended with mango, passion or star fruits, carrot and beetroot, cucumber and callaloo.
They will officially open tomorrow, as the Conscious Reggae Party concert series relocates to make its home on Food Fountain's large, covered backyard patio. As Hutchinson's wife puts it, "At Food Fountain, music and food go together - it's a logical consequence. We love music and we love food, so why not bring them together."
They have kindly shared some recipes for you to eat clean and healthy at home.
Couscous salad with grilled shrimp
1 cup of couscous
2 cups water
1 sweet pepper
2 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt
6 shrimps, peeled & deveined
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Food Fountain seasoning
Single serving green beans
1. Boil two cups of water; add salt, seasoning and olive oil.
2. Add everything to one cup of couscous and soak until tender.
3. Chop tomato, sweet pepper and olives and mix with couscous.
4. Marinate shrimps in olive oil, garlic and salt for at least half and hour.
5. Grill shrimps until tender.
6. Serve with couscous and steamed green beans.
Brown-stewed fish with rice and peas
Rice and peas:
3 cups rice
1 cup red peas
5 cloves garlic
1 uncut Scotch bonnet pepper
3 stalks scallion
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp salt
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Rinse and sort beans and place in a stockpot.
2. Cover with several inches of water and soak overnight, or- bring to boil and boil gently for 3 minutes. Then remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit undisturbed for 1 hour.
3. Drain and rinse beans. Bring to a boil with water and coconut milk. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours or until beans are tender and creamy.
4. Add the thyme, scallion, garlic, Scotch bonnet pepper, uncooked rice and salt.
Check the level of liquid over the rice and make sure there is at least one inch of liquid (if not, you may add water).
5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until rice is tender.
1 single serving-sized whole fish, cleaned and scaled
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper
2 stalks scallion, chopped
sprig of thyme
1 tbs butter
oil for frying
2 tbs ketchup
1. Fry Fish lightly.
2. Sautée sliced seasonings in oil or butter.
3. Add water, ketchup. Add pepper and salt to taste.
4. Put the fish in a deep pot. Add sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
Steamed fish with vegetables and potatoes
3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup broccoli
1/4 cup cauliflower
1/4 cup string beans
1/4 cup okra
one onion, chopped
1 tbs butter
one medium sized fish, cleaned and scaled
Food Fountain seasoning
scallion and thyme
1. Boil potatoes and vegetables with seasoning until tender. Rinse under cold water to preserve colour and texture.
2. Melt butter in a pan and sautée the onion.
3. Add fish, scallion, thyme and seasoning.
4. Cover pan and cook until fish is tender and flakes.