Flavors of the Isle story began in the city of Detroit, MI. My name is Ebony Pickens and I was born to a Liberian (West African) father and an Afro-American mother. I was later raised by a Jamaican stepfather, which helped expand my horizon into the culinary world! As a little girl my stepfather would allow me to experience the wonderful flavors of his homeland, Jamaica, by allowing me to be his junior assistant in the kitchen. My stepfather was like a mad scientist, whipping and tasting for perfection. We 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 grandmother 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. After growing into a young woman and spending one year in college, I realized I was missing the love of cooking, so I enrolled into Culinary Art School.
My maternal grandfather Perin Griffin II was a chef in the U.S. Army. Although my grandfather was born and raised in 96, South Carolina he traveled the world learning new techniques and cuisines, which he would share with his family in Detroit. Unfortunately, I was not able to experience the culinary joys with him however I was very fortunate that he wrote down his recipes. My grandfather's BBQ Sauce recipe is the base development of our Original Jerk Sauce with our Jerk Seasoning added.
We have developed our homemade Jerk Seasoning and Jerk sauces, which highlights the unique flavors of our menu. With our menu you will experience the Flavors of the Isle American Soul Food and Jamaican cuisine.