The first notable wave of eat-in Afro-Caribbean establishments emerged in the late 1960s, as youth of the Windrush generation started to come of age. These included political activist Frank Crichlow's Mangrove Restaurant in Notting Hill, which opened in 1968, and Dougie's Hideaway club and West Indian restaurant in Archway.
More than just restaurants and bars, these eateries were places of cultural importance that built strong bonds of friendship between customers.
From forerunners like Miss Henrys grocery store in Luton established in 1965, the times saw Black females not only helming back-of-house positions but very much in entrepreneurial positions of ownership. This was often a means of survival and financial independence as much as it was passion. Their intense knowledge of Caribbean food, honed from generational upbringing, provided many with an excellent enterprise opportunity.
From Ayanna’s to Rose’s Kitchen and Jade’s Takeaway in London, decades on, the UK now has a plethora of Black female owned food businesses. Travelling across the UK writing Belly Full: Caribbean Food in the UK – the following a just a handful of the wonderful characters encountered in the journey.
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Belly Full: Caribbean Food in the UK by Riaz Phillips published by Tezeta Press out now at Tezetapress.com