Cape Cod Times -
Take 10: Meet Chef Shrimpy
SOUTH YARMOUTH — It was the promise he made to his mother when he was 11 years old that drove Glenroy Burke from rural Jamaica to Cape Cod.
"It was the first time I saw my mother cry. She didn’t have enough food to feed all nine of us," Burke said. "I said 'mother, one day when I grow up I will go to the United States and own my own restaurant and get you all that you need in life.'"
Burke now owns The Jerk Café, a Jamaican restaurant in South Yarmouth. He is more commonly known as Chef Shrimpy, a nickname he got as a child for his resemblance to Richard "Shrimpy" Clarke, a Jamaican boxer. READ MORE...
Life's River Cross
Chef Shrimpy has been meeting up with several distinguished people to get the word out on his new book, Life's River Cross. The book has been very well received. The inspiration of this book comes through the realization of life circumstances. Glenroy Solomon Burke realized early as a boy what he could do to help his family. Here in his autobiographical work Life’s Rivers Cross, readers can get the kernels of wisdom stemming from hard work in making a dream come true. The author focused himself on one thing, and no matter the obstacles, made it the impetus to achieve.
He is the chef/owner of one of the most popular restaurants in Cape Cod, and here he recalls the long journey from his childhood in his native Jamaica to his traveling to the United States and fulfilling a promise he made to his mother to help her and their family have better lives.
Chef Shrimpy at the 2012 New England Food Show promoting his products
A Bond Across Borders
CapeCast: From Jamaica with spice!
On today's CapeCast: Meet Chef Shrimpy, master of Jamaican jerk cuisine, in a spicy video from the Jerk Café in South Yarmouth, perhaps the center of the jerk universe! READ MORE...
edible Cape Cod
Jerk. The word can both make the blood boil, and make the mouth water. Sure, we all know that person who perfectly embodies the term, whether it’s the guy who cuts you off in traffic, the woman that jumps the line at the deli or the kid that leads the mockery against you because of your “Mr. Zip” lunch box in first grade. Apparently, the heroic cartoon mascot of the postal service was not a cool choice in lunch boxes.
Jerk also has a wonderful ability to transport you to the beautiful island of Jamaica. There, along the A1 on the rocky northern coast of the island between rickety Cold Beer Joints are the heavenly puffs of smoke rising from the jerk stands that are not much more than four (mostly) complete walls and a corrugated tin roof. If the cost and effort to get yourself from your comfy home to a roadside jerk stand in Negril seems to be a bit much just for the sake of a plate of jerk chicken, I say you haven’t had proper jerk chicken.
A little closer to home, the place to find authentic jerk chicken or pork is from the skilled hands of Chef Shrimpy at The Jerk Café on Route 28 in South Yarmouth. That’s your sweet-and-spicy spot for the real deal. I suppose if you wanted to make it even more authentic, you could enjoy your jerk chicken while standing on the sidewalk along the roadway, but then you’d miss the cool Reggae tunes (with Shrimpy singing along) in the café.
The smoky, sweet sizzle of jerk is something not to be missed in life. Let’s get one thing straight on the subject: if you’re considering making a batch at home, authentic jerk chicken needs time and love to be prepared correctly. While the marinade is unique to each creator (and a closely guarded secret), it’s generally a blend of onions (both green and yellow), garlic, ginger, brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, allspice) and a scotch bonnet pepper for the heat. The chicken needs to marinate overnight. A mere hour or two won’t cut it. Next, you’ll want to smoke the chicken for a bit, and then cook it low and slow on indirect heat and then sear it to give the skin a crispy crunch.
If you’re starting to think that a flight to Jamaica sounds easier, fear not! Chef Shrimpy to the rescue! Bowing to popular demand, he’s packaged his secret jerk recipe that’s “Irie” (that’s Jamaican for powerful and pleasing) in a bottle. Lovers of jerk can order it right from his website. Shrimpy has invested the time and put in the love, and all that’s left is for you to work that marinade onto the chicken or pork, and let it sit. That could be the tough part: waiting. Let it sit for a night. Put it on the grill for an hour away from the heat, and you are there, mon! Jerk smoke filling the nose, Bob Marley’s Redemption Song filling the ears and you’re at that jerk stand. Sink your teeth into the crispy skin and juicy meat, tasting the perfect blend of spices, and the hot Jamaican sun is pinching at your cheeks. Next the sizzle of the scotch bonnet rolls in, tingling the tongue and lips and then you get it. It’s the product of the culinary crossroads that Jamaica has always been, right there in your spice cabinet whenever you want. Jamaica? Absolutely get there if you can. The beauty of the island and its people is something to be appreciated in person. A true Jamaican experience? Thanks to Chef Shrimpy at the Jerk Café and those heroes of the postal service, you can get it delivered right to your door! – Larry Egan
The Last Bite
Actor Sebastian Anklam Dines at the Jerk Cafe
German Actor Sebastian Anklam whose first feature film Cibe is expected to be released in early 2011 visited The Jerk Cafe in July before returning to his native Germany for the summer where he will shoot a new movie Der ganz grosse Traum des Konrad Koch and spend some time vacationing with friends and family before returning to his Cape Cod home in late August. He will be attending college in New York City in the fall where he will major in Film Acting.
Immigrants boost Cape service sector
Study finds that those who come to the Bay State launch businesses at a higher rate.
SOUTH YARMOUTH — Growing up in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Glenroy Burke had an ambition that sounds a lot like the classic American dream.
"Starting my own restaurant was a lifelong dream of mine from when I was 11 years old," he said.
So two years ago, Burke, or "Chef Shrimpy," as he likes to be called, opened the Jerk Café in South Yarmouth. And in so doing, he joined the ranks of immigrant entrepreneurs and workers that make up the backbone of Cape Cod's leisure and hospitality industry.
"The hospitality industry would have come to somewhat of a halt if we didn't enough offshore labor for the last 10 years," said Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. "It would have been severely disadvantaged, especially in the Outer Cape and the Islands."
A new study commissioned by the Immigrant Learning Center, a Malden-based group that promotes the importance of immigrants in American society, highlights the central role foreign-born workers and entrepreneurs play in the state's leisure and hospitality sectors.
Cape, Jamaica build ties through workers
At the recently opened Jerk Café, Glenroy Burke — or Chef Shrimpy, as he likes to be called — works the grill and greets customers cheerfully.
SOUTH YARMOUTH — At the recently opened Jerk Café, Glenroy Burke — or Chef Shrimpy, as he likes to be called — works the grill and greets customers cheerfully.
The menu above his head features dishes that recall his native Jamaica — jerk chicken, rice and beans — and some — cheeseburgers, pastrami — that hint at the 11 years he has lived in the United States.
"I first started on an H-2B at the Wequassett Inn," said Burke, who became a U.S. resident when he married an American woman. "Now I'm a citizen and a business owner."
Burke's restaurant, and his family, are just two examples of the connections that have been forged between Jamaica and Cape Cod in the 20 years that the island has been sending temporary workers to the area.
For many Cape employers who were unable to get H-2B visas for their accustomed Jamaican workers this year, the loss is emotional as well as financial.