BY: ALYSSA MAHADEO
Fusion cuisine is a beautiful marriage between flavors and culture. In order to keep their food creations new, fresh and exciting chefs have been experimenting with fusion cuisine in search of just the right combination of spices to make every meal a culinary experience.
Fredrick Roberts was born and raised in St. Thomas, Jamaica, exposed as a youth to authentic Jamaican style home cooking. He was a frequent patron in his grandmother’s kitchen and she taught him how to make Jamaican style comfort food, like her famous pepper pot soup, a thick stew of beef tripe, vegetables, pepper and other seasonings.
At the age of ten, Fredrick migrated to Canada. While attending Westway Secondary High School he did a lot of chef work on different movie sets while working for a catering company called Studio Catering. After graduation, he headed into the culinary program at Humber College, completing his apprenticeship with as a part of their culinary team earning gold and silver medals for the best platters and food presentation.
After college, Fredrick dove headfirst into the world of food. Already familiar with the industry having worked in it through high school and college, the sky was the limit for what he could achieve. He worked as the executive chef at the Mississauga Board of Trade and was an executive sou-chef with Clublink a Golf Resort in Milton for a number of years. Fredrick loved cooking and it was important to him that customers left his restaurant stomachs full and appetites satisfied.
“My favorite thing about being a chef is seeing the plates come back to the kitchen empty,” he shares. “I get a sense of satisfaction from seeing those empty plates because I know that people enjoyed their meal and it’s very rewarding.”
Prior to opening Freddy’s Kitchen, Fredrick worked at two other restaurants called Flavours Take-Out and Catering located in Mississauga, and Blue Mountain Bistro a fine dining restaurant located in the heart of downtown Toronto.
“I realized after working in the industry for a while that I was comfortable going off and doing something on my own” Fredrick says.
“As with most things, for a while there was a lot of trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t, but after a while, things started picking up, I began to get more calls for catering at events and weddings and from there it evolved.”
Throughout his many years of learning the culinary craft, Fredrick is grateful to the teachers that he to guide him along the way. They were very encouraging of the effort that he dedicated to becoming a chef, and they always told him that there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t do as long as he set his mind to it.
“My teachers always told me that whatever I want, I can achieve in the culinary field, and through me, I have the potential to do great things. I tip my hat off to them for giving me that respect.” Fredrick says.
Freddy’s Kitchen in Mississauga opened six years ago, and since returning to Mississauga he says the restaurant has been well received by many of the patrons that visit. Their food is a fusion culinary experience many of their dishes are international with a Caribbean influence.
Their menu is quite diverse offering unique and flavourful dishes like Calaloo Lasagna, Oxtail Linguini with cream sauce, Jerk Chicken Cannelloni, Ackee and Codfish Bruschetta, Spicy Ginger Onion Lobster and even Calaoo Quiche.”
“I do my best to flex my creativity with every dish I create and stay one step ahead of everyone else” Fredrick explains.
There really isn’t anything that Fredrick won’t try, recounting one time at his previous position with Clublinks at the opening of the new Golf Course Rattlesnake Point. “They had asked me what I wanted to do, and left me to my own creative abilities so I thought about what could be exciting, and decided to create a rattlesnake dish in commemoration of the course.”
Rattlesnake isn’t the only delicacy that he’s experimented with. At each annual Jerk Fest, Fredrick is eager to share some of his new creations with the public. He was one of the first people that came up with the idea to jerk something other than chicken, giving out samples of jerk alligator, jerk kangaroo and even jerk camel! Just to name a few.
“I’m always going crazy with the new ideas that I have, some people don’t know what to think, while others are brave enough to try it, it’s all a matter of pallet and perspective.” he says.
At Freddy’s Kitchen, you won’t find anything too out of this world in the main entrees that they offer, however, Fredrick is hoping to feature some of the unique dishes such as jerk kangaroo to those who are brave enough to try them.
“When you come into Freddy’s you’re going to see your typical curry goat, jerk chicken, and oxtail,” Fredrick explains. “However apart from that guests are encouraged to try our roasted pepper and garlic seared tuna, or sample our tamarind glazed seared salmon with mango salsa, very popular on a night out.”
Apart from your typical Jamaica Caribbean style restaurant, Freddy’s Kitchen also promises something different. They are not your average Jamaican restaurant, their chef’s creativity and ability to combine flavors is evident in the dishes they offer.
“Our staff is very warm and friendly, we strive to provide excellent customer service and aim to offer something that will please everyone.”
At Freddy’s Kitchen they want to keep things interesting and when patrons visit them it’s not to experience contemporary Jamaican cuisine. In the future, they hope to open another location, or possibly look into opening up a banquet hall. They are always looking to tackle new adventures, branch out and expand their horizons.
“I encourage everyone that visits to open their minds and experience one of the featured dishes of the week; boring doesn’t cut it, and it always pays to stay relevant and interesting.”