Food, Flavours and Memories at Roaring Pavilion Thee Divine Villa

From an interview with Johanna, the chef at Roaring Pavilion Thee Divine Villa near Ocho Rios, in Jamaica:

I learned to start cooking as a child from my mother, growing up in Jamaica. She taught me how to cook pot roast chicken. It was done in a pot because we didn’t have an oven. Later I refined my skills at chef school, and studied under renowned French chef Albert Vinazza, who held noteworthy positions in hotels, restaurants and private yachts around the world.

When it comes to creating menus for guests at Roaring Pavilion, you have to first and foremost know your ingredients. You find out what the people’s requirements and desires are, and then you use the freshest and best ingredients to build their food experience. For example, if someone is vegetarian, I will source spinach, okra – whatever is best that day – and then create dishes ranging from callaloo to Jamaican pumpkin soup to classic French quiches.

I can do island. I can do continental. And I can combine the two in ways that you never imagined. It’s all about what the guests want. And if they just want to leave it in my hands, they won’t be disappointed.

I remember the butler asked me on a couple of occasions to come to the dining room after a dinner. The guests wanted to see me. When I appeared, they gave me a standing ovation. These have been my proudest moments.

In one case I had served pork chops with a spicy pineapple sauce, and the other it was grilled lobster with scalloped potatoes. My fricassee chicken is also much in demand.

Of course, if guests have special requirements I always fill them exactly. It was challenging, for example, to fulfill one group’s kosher needs. But I learned these requirements inside out – what ingredients can and cannot be combined; and the proper  use of pots and pans – because I knew how important to them it was to get these things right.

If someone wants to try a classic island dish, I’d recommend jerk chicken or ackee and saltfish – but done in a way that truly makes them memorable. I have one prominent U.S. East Coast guest coming soon who has asked to have only local dishes served for his week here; I’m looking forward to it.

If I am going to cook for myself, it will be comfort food that I remember eating with my mother. Rice and peas, of course. Then perhaps fricassee chicken, or curry goat with green bananas, or else dumplings. Food is all about creating the right flavors and memories.

Below fare typical dishes enjoyed at Roaring Pavilion:


  • whole fish snapper escovitch, vinaigrette
  • ackee and codfish
  • home made pancakes and waffles  – with blueberries, bananas and chocolate chips –
  • spinach quiche, ackee quiche – with lightly dressed greens
  • lobster omelette
  • eggs Benedict with bammy (casava pancake)  smoked marlin and hollandase
  • chicken sausages
  • potato pancakes
  • eggs of any style
  • plantains
  • plantain oatmeal or porridge
  • fresh squeezed orange, pineapple or carrot juice
  • smoked salmon, potato pancakes, dill sour cream
  • platter of fresh sliced fruit
  • jerk chicken
  • grilled local vegetables
  • pasta salad with fresh tuna steak
  • greens with chicken, lobster, shrimp
  • tabouleh with pita and homemade hummus
  • pepper filet mignon  stir fried with egg noodles shrimp vegetables and oyster sauce
  • niscoise salad with grilled tuna, olives
  • pizza
  • grilled local fish
  • grilled leg of lamb
  • grilled kebabs
  • hot dogs, home made burgers and homemade fries
  • bouillabaisse with fresh local seafood, including grouper, lobster, crab, snapper
  • pasta with crayfish
  • Jamaican curry chicken with homemade mango chutney
  • curry lamb
  • curry goat
  • grilled caribbean lobster with potato gratin on bed of  collard greens, bok choi
  • grilled whole fish
  • soups: spicy pumpkin soup with scotch bonnet,  perrperot with callaloo, red pea, lemongrass, carrot and ginger with orange zest, caulifower soup drizzled the truffle oil,  hot and sour, conch chowder, tomato soup hot or cold
  • grilled filet migon with lobster, scallops and shrimp
  • ribs with peanut soy lemongrass
  • Thai fish coconut lemongrass
  • Polynesian fish in banana leaf
  • fricasse chicken
  • homemade Jamaican beef  or chicken patties
  • homemade plantain tarts
  • ceviche
  • grilled chicken skewers with lime and cilantro dressing
  • rock shrimp
  • cheese plates
  • humus and baba ganoush
  • smoked fish on crackers
  • bacon-wrapped plantain
  • crab cakes
  • English high tea service
  • tuna tartare
  • homemade banana bread
  • homemade ice cream – including  rum and raisin, banana and coconut  – and orange and pineapple sorbets
  • french cream puff pastry with almond
  • banana cream pie, coconut cream pie,  lemon merengue pie
  • sweet potato pudding and bread pudding with caramel sauce
  • flambe banana and pineapple
  • pecan pie
  • chocolate mouse
  • key lime pie
  • coconut macaroon
  • pumpkin parfait
  • traditional creme brûlée
  • apple pie
  • lychee cake served with strawberry sauce

Share This:


* Required Field

1 comment

Similar Posts

Coffee Mountain High in Jamaica

Jamaica: Out of Many, One Cuisine

Catalan Mountain & Sea Cuisine