Little Ochie for
Jamaica - The Gleaner -
Thursday, November 27, 1997
Tired of the
imported fast food parade? You are not alone.
The North American gourmet glut is not always
‘easy to stomach’, as some Jamaicans would say.
For those who are
fed up (pardon the pun), it’s a fairly short
journey from the French fried nausea to a deep
nostalgia for the "home cooked", plateful.
People are yearning
for our traditional dishes and the yearning, for
some , is strong enough to send them on trips
deep into the heart of the country for roasted
yam and fish, boiled and peppered shrimp, fried,
escoveitched fish and bammy, spit-roasted
chicken and jerked pork to break the monotony.
Their favorite destinations are the eating
hideaways where the food is combined with a
superior location and a clean atmosphere.
Little Ochi, in the
out-of-the way district of Alligator Pond, is
one of these. Miles from the nearest town of
Mandeville, it is, nevertheless, the spot where
the who’s who of Manchester and St. Elizabeth go
to eat seafood – a la Jamaique – and let their
hair down in the strong winds that harass that
area of the South coast.
As the proprietor
of the venue, Everald ‘Blackie’ Christian, puts
it like this: "People come here because Little
Ochi is in a class by itself. The air that comes
off the sea is just enough", he boasts.
The lumber and
thatched structures of his restaurant hug a
silver sand beach where the sea breaks with
playful ferocity along the shore . But ‘Blackie’
warns: ‘This no white tablecloth and black tie
service’, as the men he employs finish scrubbing
great and shining ‘pudding pans’ under a gushing
Inside the main
building – a wooden bungalow- four chefs are at
work around the ‘Operation Base’, the kitchen
and the heart of the business. The chefs are all
men with years of experience in working magic
with a blazing pimento-wood fire and a large
skillet. ‘The pimento wood seasons the pot from
the bottom up,’ ‘Blackie’ reveals.
All together, they
turn out a seemingly endless supply of fish and
other seafood, prepared in the way the customers
request, after pointing out what they want from
the freezers conspicuously set in the dining
They may have their
fish roasted over an open flame, baked in foil
wrappings, steamed, or escoveitched. Lobster is
prepared in garlic butter sauce, or curried,
roasted, barbequed or simply boiled and served
with fresh vegetables and lime juice.
menu is completed with conch and octopus
prepared as stew , a curry dish, or barbequed,
brown stewed or fried. Bammy or festivals is
offered as accompaniments to all