I Ricardo Campbell as Chef Ricardo was born in the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica W.I. I grew up in and around the busy hotels and restaurants of O
cho Rios, one of Jamaica’s main tourist resort areas. Growing up as a young boy I had a keen interest in cooking. I spent a lot of time watching my elders cook many different dishes, especially my grandmother and father who loved cooking. My interest grew into a passion, after leaving school. I applied to be a kitchen assistant doing basic kitchen duties like preparing vegetables. Due to my eagerness I was given the opportunity to help prepare simple dishes like ackee and salt fish, rice and peas and brown stew chicken.
After a short period I was making these dishes independently. I stayed in this restaurant for two years and moved on to work in one of the top hotel resorts where I excelled and progressed into becoming a range chef. My duties included cooking, temperature control officer and ensuring sure that the presentation of the dishes was maintained to a high standard. I remained in this employment for ten years, during which time I also attended college for two years and obtained a chef certificate. Further to this I did a two year NVQ certificate in chef. I also have a landscaping certificate. I made many contacts during this time and I realised that there were more opportunities to study in London. Although this was not an easy decision for me I moved to London in 2008.
Since my arrival I have worked in many London restaurant’s which has given me the opportunity to improve my skills as a chef, and to make the most of my many new experiences. I quickly got a permanent job in an after school project and stayed there for 6months until a chef position became available in an international residential private school. My duties included cooking three a la carte meals daily for the children and staff. We also had to organise and cater for functions such as graduations, children’s parties and Christmas dinner for the whole school community.
I worked here for two years and during this time I obtained certificates in the catering industry. Before leaving in my last few months I started to work on setting up my own business. In the autumn off 2010 I opened up a small restaurant / takeaway called Chef Ricardo’s Caribbean diner. Although this was an extremely difficult time due to the pressures of opening and establishing ones own business, my customers and family gave me a lot of encouragement and support which made me very enthusiastic. During this time I thought about producing my own sauces. I began to experiment, eventually inventing my own sauce recipes i.e. Caribbean sunshine BBQ, Caribbean jerk, brown stew and curry jerk. Due to personal reasons and family commitments the restaurant ceased trading. I have used this as an opportunity to work hard at developing my other business ideas.