Life
JM | Aug 4, 2022

Jamaica’s online ‘Master Chef’: Rameish Desouzan shares his story and dream of opening new restaurant

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

author
Rameish Desouzan jerking chicken on a jerk pan.

If you have ever been on Jamaican food TikTok, the name Rameish Desouza should be familiar to you. The social media influencer is making his name in the food industry with his unique dishes.

Known for his creative spin on classic Jamaican dishes, the self-proclaimed Jamaican master chef has captured the attention of more than 130,000 followers on the platform.

Now he aspires to take these dishes from viewers’ screens to their plates.

Recently he told with Our Today that his big dream is to open a restaurant where he can share all of his creations with Jamaica.

He added that his “ultimate goal is to make my self better and to generate income”.

But, with creative dishes like lychee porridge and ackee ice-cream, the question looms as to where it all began.

At the young age of seven, Desouzan recalls always being in the kitchen. However, it was his curiosity that led him to create such unique dishes.

“As a youth, when you nuh know nothing, you just always try put things together. Probably mix up some curry and mackerel,” said a smiling Desouzan.

He recalls always having a passion for experimenting and decided to channel it through his cooking. Though his experiments were not always perfect, he persevered until he mastered them.

He recalls that “the first couple dish them I made never taste good at all. But me did love experiment so me just always a try ’til me get it right”.

A Rameish Desouzan creation: Soursop festival.

This led him to pursue cooking chicken gizzard. But, as his experimental mind would have it, he would curry or brown stew the gizzard. His first few attempts were unsuccessful but, after a few tries, at the age of 10, he perfected brown stew gizzard.

“Mi did happy when me finally get it right. Because sometimes it would be too tough or it rubbery but eventually me did get it.”

Cooking was not always his passion

Growing up, his family owned a restaurant, called Night Chef, that was very popular in his community.

Oddly enough, though he now wishes to open his own restaurant, he did not like working at the family’s establishment.

Night Chef Restaurant.

For his contribution, Rameish would often have to wash pots and fry chicken, but he did not enjoy these tasks, labeling them “tiring”.

“When mi did younger, mi never really like fry chicken and stuff. I did not really have a choice at that time. It was just something that I was forced to do,” he explained.

Rameish clarified that he has great love for his parents, but, growing up he found it hard to understand their point of view.

On many school nights he would have to stay up for hours and always complained about being tired for school. But this was his family’s main source of income at the time.

Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed due to violence after seven years of operation. After the violence had subsided, his family tried to reopen the business but the support had dropped.

Passion rekindled

Though he did not enjoy working in the family business, he eventually rekindled his relationship with the kitchen and started his YouTube channel.

He explained that this time it was different because he was pursuing his dream and not being forced to cook by his family.

While watching YouTube videos, he dreamed of having his own cooking show. So he started his own channel to share his recipes and the rest is history.

As his self-titled channel grew, he sought to venture on to other platforms for more exposure.

Initially, TikTok was not on the radar. Rameish labelled the app ‘childish’, but his opinion changed when he saw his role models Gordon Ramsay and Nick DiGiovanni on the app.

A life of challenges

Rameish was faced with many challenges over his lifetime, but he is determined to make his mark.

He shared that his mother, Angella, is visually impaired due to Glaucoma, a condition that started five years ago. His father, Ogar, is the main source of income for their household but he makes contributions where possible.

Growing up, he too had medical issues. Rameish experienced many seizures that drastically affected him physically and mentally.

Young Rameish Desouzan.

The first instance he recalls was while playing with a friend in the third grade. At the time, he could not identify them as seizures but he knew that something was wrong.

“Me and one of my friend them did a talk and me just space out. Mi couldn’t talk or move… nothing. Me just did a stare inna space for like two minutes. Mi friend did shake me and a try get me fi talk but I couldn’t. When it ended I just pretended like I was playing a prank on him.”

The seizures had stopped momentarily, returning again in the eight grade.

As his condition worsened, he struggled to keep up with his school life and dropped out of Ascot High school in 2016.

Science failed but God prevailed

After science had failed him several times, a hopeful Rameish turned to several churches seeking relief. But, the seizures continued.

Feeling defeated, he struggled to find the will to continue his search for healing. But, decided to try again one last time and ventured to the Braeton Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Braeton Seven Day Adventist Church

He ventured to the church, where the members gathered around him and prayed.

A few weeks later, he was talking with his mom, Angella and aunt when he had a slighty strange feeling that he often associated with seizures.

He recalls bracing for the impact, but nothing came. Now he is seizure free.

“Weh God do, nobody can undo. Me see for myself weh God can do ’cause him heal me and me nah turn back,” said Rameish.

Currently, he has a GoFund me account that is solely for this restaurant and encourages supporters to donate where possible.

“As you go along in your journey, the right people and things will fall in place so I just trust that everything will work itself out,” said a determined Rameish.

Donations can be made here.

Comments

What To Read Next