Often times, the chef profession is a difficult one to make a name for yourself as many careers in the cooking and baking business fails in the first year of startup. Well this is not the case for one chef who has chartered his path from the first months of starting up his business, to now owning a renowned restaurant in a very prominent part of Kingston, Jamaica.
Chef Brian Lumley has never given up on his long dream in becoming a chef, and now that he has accomplished that dream he basks in the glory and gives back in his restaurant to the customers and the children who have similar aspirations.
Both internationally and locally acclaimed, Lumley has been called the ‘gourmet prodigy’ in the culinary landscape. His inspiration has always been his mother, as she first taught him the ‘tricks of the trade’. From there he studied at Heart Academy in Runaway Bay and later graduated at Level Two of the programme by the Culinary Institute of America and became a certified ‘Chef de Cuisine’. He spiraled upwards by working at Evita’s, an Italian Restaurant in Jamaica, alongside his other works in the field at other restaurants. However, Lumley believed that the greatest contribution to his profession was in 2009 when he worked for the French Ambassador as personal chef.
He established Foodie Focused, being the Managing Director and he hosted his first event, Foodies Lyme, which received tremendous reviews from ‘foodists’ throughout Jamaica. Novia McDonald – Whyte, lifestyle editor, reviewed the event in the Jamaica Observer stating that it was an “important innovation in the local culinary landscape”.
Since then he has won the Taste of Jamaica’s Chef of the Year Award in 2008. A year later he collaborated with the Jamaica National culinary team in 2009 and went to Puerto Rico’s staging of the Taste of the Caribbean, where they won a team gold medal and Lumley won a bronze. He then was inspired to enter the Jamaica Observer Food Awards for two consecutive years (2010-2011), alongside his sister, in which he was nominated for the two awards Chef of the Year and Caterer of the Year.
In 2010, he kept close to the Taste of Jamaica competition where he received the Hans Schenk prize for “Most Innovative Use of Caribbean Ingredients” in addition, another personal silver medal. He also honorably won the Chef on the Rise in 2012 after entering to showcase his talents once again at the same Observer Food Awards. He also won the same Taste of Jamaica’s Chef of the Year Award again in 2012, making him the youngest chef to ever win the high-status award, both times.
Lumley continued his projects with his sister, thus the inception of ‘Budding Chefs’ in Summer 2012. In this venture, he appealed for the participation of children between the ages of four and twelve to be involved in a culinary workshop where they would be taught how to make recipes on their own in the kitchen, and be budding chefs.
As a result of persons catching on to his passion and seeing how invested he was in his profession, he made many television, magazine and newspaper appearances. He was featured in the local newspapers ‘Jamaica Gleaner’ and ‘Jamaica Observer’ and interviewed numerous times on ‘Smile Jamaica’, ‘Buzz Magazine’, ‘On a Personal Note’, ‘ College Lifestyle’ to name a few.
Alas, he won the “Caribbean Chef of the Year” Award in 2013 at the Taste of the Caribbean’s regional culinary showcase, an award not won by a Jamaican citizen since 1999. With all this recognition was the foundation, along with support, on which he opened his first restaurant the notable ‘689 by Brian Lumley’ in the same year. His services include catering for weddings, private dinner and classes, bridal and baby showers, corporate events and speaking engagements.
His menu is a combination of Italian, French, Asian cuisines to which he adds his unique Caribbean style and ‘Jamaican flare’. His warm persona is not only seen in his cooking, but when he engages with the customers who come into his restaurant daily to taste his distinct and creative dishes.
His newest goal which he strives to achieve everyday is to become an Executive Chef and work alongside top chefs in Europe. With his determination he is certainly not far off.
By Alexandra Daley