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Food creatives and entrepreneurs are being encouraged to use the period of slowdown in business due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) as an opportunity to innovate and expand their services and brand.

Chef and owner of Moveable Feast Caterers, Michele Williams, said that “as people who are passionate about food… now is the time to look within ourselves and find what we are passionate about”.

She was addressing the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) virtual series ‘JBDC In Concert’ recently, under the topic ‘Let’s Eat”.

Miss Williams, who said her catering business has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, said she is using the period of downturn to work on a cookbook.

“All these ideas I have had, I have accumulated and put them in a cookbook, I drew on my childhood memories and used this time to work on an idea I had,” she noted.

She said that food creatives can also use popular fruits such as mangoes, papaya and passion fruit to come up with new recipes.

“There is a lot that we have in Jamaica that we can capitalise on and use. I am using some popular fruits to make sauces, so I now have a new line that I will be introducing for sauces and salad dressings using fruits like mango,” she noted.

Miss Williams said that branding and marketing are important tools that food creatives and entrepreneurs can use to grow their profile as they continue to grapple with the impact of the pandemic on their operations.

“After being in the food industry, you kind of put yourself in a box saying you’re a chef or caterer for weddings and parties, but with COVID, I have been given the opportunity to do things I kind of had on a back burner for many years.

“I am using this time to make video presentations to post on social media. and it helps to grow your brand. There are clients out there who want someone to do food styling for them, so these are opportunities that can arise from this time,” she noted.

Miss Williams further pointed out that with Jamaicans becoming more health-conscious and incorporating more vegetables in their diets, there is the opportunity to support local farmers.

JBDC ‘In Concert’, which is organised in collaboration with the British Council, targets cultural and creative industry players. It is being facilitated via the ZOOM online meeting platform.

The JBDC is the Government’s business development agency that assists in the sustainable creation and development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) (MSMEs) in Jamaica.

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