Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Brilliant Back Yard

Antonio Smith is a local food hero in Newport, and totally committed to his hometown.

This year Antonio demonstrated that commitment by becoming the main sponsor of the Newport Food Festival, doing a demonstration and serving up some damn fine food on the streets.

His company The Back Yard Company makes and sells authentic Jerk Sauces, with no artificial ingredients, for the real taste of Jamaica. Of his main rival, a sauce with a passing reference to the main musical genre of the Caribbean island, he says “It’s good for barbecue, but it ain’t Jerk”.

So how does a Jamaican come to be making the UK’s most authentic sauces in a small Welsh City?

Jamaican by birth Antonio has spent nearly all of his life in Newport and started using his Grandmother and Great Grandmother’s recipes to make his own sauces. As the business expanded he had to move production to the Food Centre Wales, in Hebron, but is keen to bring it back home. Newport City Council should get behind him and find suitable premises in town.

The name Back Yard Company is a direct tribute to Antonio’s Great Grandmother who never used the kitchen of her house but always cooked in the back yard. Using three stones and log wood she cooked often using a Dutch oven. As Antonio says Just listen to Bob Marley, he sums up Jamaican Cooking in No woman no cry:And then Georgie would make the fire light, Log wood burnin' through the night, Then we would cook corn meal porridge
Of which I'll share with you.
And here's the proof.

To make an authentic Jerk Sauce there are three essential ingredients, Thyme. Allspice and Scotch Bonnet peppers. If they aren’t in it, it isn’t Jerk. Though widely viewed as a hot sauce by varying the ratio of the ingredients a range of heats can be produced, The Back Yard Company currently do 7 heats with a new even cooler one – Mr Cool- just launched.

I asked my resident chilli wimp to try Jerk Chicken at the Food Festival after Antonio assured her that he would give her the cool Mango sauce, she had previously refused a tasting at the Hove Foodies Festival in May, but with Antonio’s assurances she went ahead.

“Oh that’s really good” she said, “I’m getting warmth across my mouth but no killer burn at the tip and no horrible after-burn in my throat”. So impressed was she that her Jerk Bap was gone before I managed half of my (hotter) one, and she was thrilled to discover that she had the second coolest sauce!. So the message is clear Jerk Sauce is about flavour and working with the main ingredient not just making the Jamaican equivalent of Phall or Napalm.

So is your mouth watering? Want to get your hands on “Di Real Ting”?

Back Yard Jerk Sauces are available along the M4 corridor and in Manchester! The stockists will expand but Antonio got a huge cheer at the Newport Food Festival when asked that question. “Anyone in from Tesco? Good, we only sell through Real Food shops”. True legend, and a man after my own heart. So look in good local shops and Afro-Asian supermarkets or go to a food festival, if Back Yard are there you can try the sauces and buy both them and some amazing Jerk Chicken.

Alternatively you could visit the newly opened restaurant Dutchy’s in Caerleon. Not the easiest to find but go to the side door of The White Hart and it’s upstairs. Antonio told me of a recent evening when three lads, first time diners, came in. “How did you find us” they were asked. “Well we drove around for 20 minutes, then parked the car and got out. After that we just followed our noses, literally!”

Caerleon is a small town with a long history and major Roman Remains, but upstairs at the White Hart you enter a Jamaican Beach Shack!

Photo from Backyard Jerk Sauces Facebook Page
With a menu featuring Pork, Chicken and Goat Dutchy’s also has Vegetarian and Vegan dishes on offer, so something for everyone. The only dishes I didn’t find on the sample menu were Goat’s Head Soup or Mannish Water though the latter is probably best suited to Stag Parties!

To find out more about The BackYard Company.
There is no doubt that Antonio Smith and his Back Yard Company are both Local and Great!
Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
Morphy Richards

Visit UK Food Bloggers Association

No comments:

Post a Comment