My name is Clarise Creary but I am affectionately called "Ms Cook JA". I have tried my hand at lots of different roles. My background is in counselling. I am also a trained playgroup leader. I have done a lot of community volunteering work for people with drug and alcohol dependcy in detox and rehab. I have taught children with learning needs to cook. When I was younger, I used to cook Caribbean food and sell it to local shops and clubs mainly in Hackney. I also ran a food stall in Jamaica, so I have catering and business experience.
After being a full-time carer for my mother for over 5 years (she sadly pass away in 2015) I was faced with unemployment. I knew that I loved cooking and thought about the memories I had shared with both my mum and grandmother, also the time they spent teaching me to cook! I was ready for a new challenge and wanted to share my skills with other people, so I decided to take the plunge and start a business providing traditional Caribbean catering service and cooking classes in my own cosy home kitchen here in London or in your home. My business is called "Grandma's Old Time Cooking". I cater for private functions and run Caribbean theme cooking workshops for events and organisation.
I did some research and found out that there are a lot of people with Caribbean heritage whose parents do not have the time to teach them how to make the recipes so traditions are getting lost. Then there are many European people who go to the Caribbean on holiday, they discover just how delicious Caribbean food is but find it daunting to try and recreate it for themselves.
It is these people that I wanted to share my passion with. Food is a great way of building bridges between generations and cultures, it is something we can all share and Enjoy! I said to myself - I do not care what culture you are! This is just about learning to cook and enjoying the food. I want to encourage people to find joy in everything about the process of cooking. I will even take them on guided mini shopping of Caribbean grocery shops so that they can have fun and feel comfortable discovering and buying the ingredients. I even give away some secrets tips, how to make sure you get, the freshest dry coconut's for example!