Barking market trader opens Caribbean restaurant
- Credit: Vickie Flores
A former market trader has seen his dreams of setting up a permanent Caribbean restaurant become a reality.
Jason Omotoye, 33, of Gurdwara Way, Barking, started out as a casual stall-holder in Barking Market, selling an array of authentic cuisine from the West Indies.
Now he runs Lokono, in Linton Road – formerly home to Sandwich Box – and sells a range of meals, cakes and juices,
“I really struggled to find quick, freshly-made healthy food,” Jason explained.
“All I could find was Nando’s and cheap fried chicken shops, so I was quite upset and started up a food stall providing affordable, fresh good food.
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“We started getting plenty of interest and we’re now able to cook full-time from a permanent base.
“People don’t seem to mind spending £100 on clothes to look good on the outside, but aren’t bothered about being good on the inside, [instead] spending £1 on fried chicken.”
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He and chef buddy Germain Dolor, 32, focus on cooking fresh produce and don’t use a freezer – instead buying everything in the mornings.
“We’re supposed to be open until 9pm, but we’ve been completely selling out by 4pm most days,” Jason added.
The pair have even created a healthy energy drink, comprising of coriander, mint and ginger.
Through their restaurant, they also hope to train others in the art of cooking good quality, fresh food.
Originally from north London, Jason ended up in Barking due to a shopping trip – after racing across the capital for a pair of size eight Nike Air Rift trainers.
“I went to JD in Tottenham but they said the only pair of those trainers left were in the Barking store,” he explained.
“When I came here I saw a record stall in the market and wanted to get involved with that myself. Gradually things began to take off and I ended up living here.”