“I started cooking when I came to Trinidad to live… I fell in love with the kitchen and cooking.” Cassilda Spencer sells home-cooked lunches to workers at companies by order. She shares her story, photos and contact information with readers.
My recipes are loaded with taste and love. I make home-cooked food like pelau, macaroni pie, fried rice, stewed chicken, coocoo, callaloo, corn soup, corn and pigtail, curried crab and dumpling, barbecue, cassava punch, sorrel juice and snacks for my son like colourful popcorn. I try not to cook with much salt and sometimes I don’t even add salt. I ensure that everything I cook is loaded with flavour and I put my heart into it. When I’m cooking, I just go to a really happy place.
Home-cooked food and my belly
As a teenager, I was the absolute last person you would find in a kitchen. I started cooking when I came to Trinidad to live. My mom wasn’t here to do it for me and since I was so accustomed to eating home-cooked food, I could not buy food every day.
At that time, my sister was also learning to cook but obviously she wasn’t as good as mom’s cooking… lolz. Anybody who knows me, knows that I love my belly. So, I started watching a lot of food channels like Food Network. I even watched a lot of Natasha’s Cooking on YouTube.
I remember calling my mom, my grandmother, Aunt Carlene, Aunty Philo, my cousin Ayanna and whoever answered and wasn’t busy and could tell me over the phone how to make whichever dish I felt for at the time. Many times, they had a good laugh but I didn’t care… lolz. I just wanted good food. Strangely enough, I fell in love with the kitchen and cooking.
Sale of home-cooked food
For a while, I thought about cooking food for sale, but I was really nervous, even though I basically threw small parties with friends and cooked. My sister kept telling me for the past two years to go to culinary school, some of my cousins even encouraged me, but I was so nervous and I’m not even sure why.
I usually cook every day and I dish out our food for work. Unknowing to me, my significant other would carry the extra bowl and sell it. After, his colleagues started asking for food to buy. So, one Sunday I got up to cook, he was already at work and he called to find out if I had cooked extra. I said well I always do.
He was like, “How many bowls extra?”
I was totally confused. That’s when he told me he had been selling my food all along and people were requesting it. I laughed so hard. That day, I got like 8 extra boxes because I always kept disposable containers at home in case anyone wanted food.
Support from my family
So far, I have been getting full support from my family. My sister is definitely my biggest supporter. She has been speaking about turning my home-cooked food into a business for so long, I’m thankful for her for having faith in me.
Popular home-cooked recipes
I always ask for feedback and I cherish them whether good or bad. It helps me to please my customers. Some of the recipes I do are enjoyed by my customers so much that they ask me to do it on a large scale. My dish of corn and pigtail is a popular one. A customer suggested that I add dumpling which I did and everyone loves that dish.
Contact me for home-cooked dishes
I plan to offer my customers the foods that I do just for myself. To boost my energy, I make cassava punch. Also, I will be offering sorrel juice, barbecue and curried crab and dumpling to bring a little taste of Tobago. If you would like to contact me, call:
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