A year after the highly successful launch of “The Taste,” a rising Vincentian chef in Brooklyn has impressed patrons again with her second offering.
Allona Jackson, otherwise known as Chef Lloni, on June 2, had patrons asking for more of her mouthwatering, finger-licking dishes at the staging of her second annual “The Taste,” at Studio 718 on Remsen Avenue in Brooklyn.
She said patrons sampled a variety of carefully-curated and expertly-prepared dishes.
In addition, there were alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage pairings, signature cocktails and live cooking demonstrations by Chef Lloni, owner, chief executive officer and private chef of Lloni Catering & Party Supply Rental.
“The night was a culmination of precise planning and execution,” Chef Lloni told Caribbean Life afterwards.
Uniformed wait-staff greeted guests at the door with a choice of smoked salmon with dill and fruit caviar on toast, or chicken galantine with mango chutney on toast.
“The main area was a beautiful expression of spring elegance — floral and fairy-lit backdrops, to the tables covered in white and silver linens, accented by yellow floral and lemon centerpieces,” Chef Lloni said.
Tasting stations showcasing Chef Lloni’s range and skill included appetizers, salad, seafood, Caribbean carving and dessert.
The live demonstrations by Chef Lloni were one of the many highlights of the special evening.
Guests saw firsthand the chef in action, as she made crab wontons, tabouleh, and torched and baked alaska on the spot.
From appetizers to desserts, including soups and salads, there were 32 different dishes for guests to “Taste.”
Drinks included sangria; rum punch (a crowd favorite); a variety of red and white wines; beer and ale samplings; and handcrafted, signature cocktails.
“This year’s ‘The Taste’ was, by all accounts, a night to remember. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Chef Lloni, adding that patrons were “amazed and appreciative,” noting the remarkable improvement over last year’s event.
“The night was not yet over when inquiries began into next year’s gastronomic adventure at the third annual ‘The Taste,’” she continued.
Launched in 2018, Chef Lloni said Lloni Catering & Party Supply Rental is her latest venture of a “long history and love affair” she has had with food and food preparation.
Growing up in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Chef Lloni said her earliest memories are of her mother preparing “delectable dishes” for her family and for people in the neighborhood who would patronize the family business.
In migrating first to Canada at age 20, she said her first job was as a cook in a retirement home.
With no formal training or experience in cooking for diverse cultures, Chef Lloni said she “became a reader of cook books”, employing her natural ability and combining it with creativity to take various recipes and make them her own.
Three years later, Chef Lloni moved to the United States where she became a cook and nanny.
In 2012, she launched “Vincillona’s Weekend Eats and Catering,” offering mouthwatering dishes representative of her Vincentian heritage, as well as selections from the wider Caribbean and America.
Hoping that her masterfully-prepared and affordably-priced dishes would be a welcome addition to the Brooklyn food scene, Chef Lloni still did not know what to really expect.
Nonetheless, “with the support of family, friends and the Vincy community, this venture was a wonderful and successful experience,” she said.
Over the years, Chef Lloni said Vincillona’s sold food on Saturdays, and successfully catered for weddings, birthday parties for both children and adults, and bus rides, among others.
She said these early successes and the joy that she experienced — both in preparing the food that she loved and in seeing people enjoy her cooking — only reaffirmed her conviction that this is what she was “born to do.”
Thus, in the fall of 2017, Chef Lloni took yet another major step along her journey and enrolled in one of the top culinary schools in the US.
She said she is currently working hard to hone the skills she already possesses, to learn the techniques of a professional chef and to expand her repertoire to include an even wider range of cuisines, so she can offer “an even more extensive array of services” to her “very appreciative clientele.”