Flavors of the Isle is your island oasis of Jamaican soul food, frozen cocktails, and retail sales of our Jerk Sauces and Spice Blends! Hi, my name is Ebony Williams, and my story began in the city of Detroit, Michigan where I was born to a Liberian (West African) father and an Afro-American mother. I was later raised by my Jamaican stepfather, who allowed me to experience the wonderful flavors of his homeland, Jamaica. As a little girl I was his junior chef. In the kitchen my stepfather was like a mad scientist, whipping and tasting for perfection. He would visit Jamaica yearly and bring home spices, root vegetables, fruits, and local delicacies to enjoy throughout the year. My stepfather and I would spend hours in the kitchen trying to replicate the flavors of Jamaican dishes and after great practice we mastered the wonderful flavors of home! Alongside of my culinary experience with my stepfather I had the privilege of spending quality time with my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother, whom we called "Big Mamma". My Grandma and Big Mamma taught me all the family's soul food recipes, mostly bakeries and canning techniques. Which allowed me a priceless experience in the culinary world!
My first professional training began by watching Chef Martin Yan on PBS, which allowed me to perform my first family meal at the tender age of nine years old. Although it was one of the worse meals I have ever made. I never felt discouraged by my parents because although my inexperience showed, they still pretended to eat every bad meal by eating the meals in their bedroom.
Between the ages of 16 to 24, I gave birth to two beautiful boys, completed High School, went to Culinary Arts School, and landed a career in Information Technology as a Business Analyst. Also, during this time, I was homeless, married, divorced and then homeless again. I was able to become financially stable and later bought a home for my children and me. I worked as an IT Business Analyst for over 20 years and raised my sons, now I can focus on my passions in life!
In my kitchen, I rediscovered my dream and decided to turn my passion for cooking into a business. I started my catering company in 2012, Flavors of the Isle, which is me on a plate! While using my childhood memories of Jamaican cuisine, I have developed our homemade Jerk Rub, which is used on all our jerk dishes. With the help of my maternal grandfather Perin Griffin II, whom was a chef as well, leaving behind his BBQ sauce recipe after his death, I have developed our Jerk BBQ Sauces. Our products Flavors of the Isle Original Jerk Rub, Original Jerk BBQ Sauce, Hot Jerk BBQ Sauce, and our NEW All-purpose Jamaican Curry Spice Blend are the center of our business flavors and are available for purchase in our restaurant or online monthly subscriptions, coming soon. We are unmatched because our flavors, style and personality are deeply rooted in the spices of my Jamaican and American Southern heritage.
After moving to the greater Cincinnati’s area in year 2000, I notice there were very few ethnic eateries and I wanted to contribute to solving this problem. After outgrowing my home kitchen, I moved the business into an incubator kitchen called Findlay Kitchen in 2018, located in the Over the Rhine, downtown Cincinnati area. After joining Findlay Kitchen, my business expanded. We have been afforded the opportunity of feeding thousands and expanding from an at-home catering business to a popular street food and ghost kitchen business to now a brick-and-mortar restaurant and bar, located at 1807 Elm St. Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. I can now confidently say Flavors of the Isle is now part of the Greater Cincinnati ethnic eateries and bars!