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What is Barbacoa Boyz and why does it matter?

Barbacoa Boyz was conceptualized from the people, ideas and values that effected my life.

I started thinking about my family (the large amount of confident male figures I grew up with in Toronto), the strong core of friends I met in elementary and high school, who now are a part of my adult life on a daily basis and my “brothers”, whether they were blood, cousins or friends. Hence the “Boyz”.

(Me as a toddler and my city, Toronto, Canada)

“Barbacoa” itself is the original, ancient, slow-cooker style of cooking, hailing from the Caribbean (more commonly known as a Mexican style of cooking). I’ll save that history lesson for the next blog post though. It’s where I found the connection of my cooking style to my Jamaican heritage.

The vision for Barbacoa Boyz is taking my culture and putting it on a plate.

Being Canadian-born with parents from Jamaica, I wanted to take that rich history of slow-cooked, spiced and richly flavoured foods and combine it with the melting pot of multiculturalism that is Toronto. Ethnic diversity is so prevalent in the city; African, Caribbean, Chinese, Korean, Greek, Italian… I could go on. I use all these different influences to create dishes inspired by experiences, friends, family and life in general.

A kitchen in Brooklin, ON I worked at

The fusion of different cuisines and flavours, I feel, is the only natural progression or evolution of food. But I may not say I'm creating fusion food, and to be honest I think the term is overused and outdated.

We are at an unparalleled time of connectivity and communication. Especially in a thriving city like Toronto – a foodie’s paradise - the food is the same. Food purists and food innovators are creating, side by side.

Kevin Brauch, Thirsty Traveler
Me and the Thirsty Traveler, Kevin Brauch, in Toronto

I love that growing up through my schooling and career I got to learn from both. I love letting other cultures and cooking techniques influence me without any resistance from stagnant ideas.

Cooking is skill. Cooking is passion. Cooking is love.

Cooking will reflect your emotions whether you like it or not. It's fulfilled by these emotions when it’s at its best, so I’m always checking my mood before stepping into my work space.

Committing myself, my life and ultimately my family to this business will require all of me and a bit more. With the help of my family, brothers, friends and peers (my Boyz), I plan to enjoy this journey to the fullest.

"Barbacoa" is the food, and the "Boyz" are my soul.

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