By Cindi Avila
From growing up in the Caribbean to studying culinary arts at ICE, and now into the “big leagues”, the path Kamal Rose has taken is nothing short of remarkable. This week, he’ll be representing the New York Giants at the Taste of the NFL on February 1st—one of the city’s biggest events leading up to the Super Bowl.
As Kamal prepares for the event, we got the chance to talk with him about his love of food, family and culinary school.
Kamal grew up in St. Vincent, where he cooked with his grandmother from a very young age. He tells us it was “sweet breads on Saturdays, a big pot of callaloo soup with taro root dumplings, and on Sunday, dinner was oxtails with rice, peas and fried plantains.” Rose goes on to say: “My grandmother was always baking or making soup and it just clicked.”
It clicked so well that Kamal moved to the United States as a teenager and started externing at Tribeca Grill (the popular restaurant that is part of Drew Nieporent’s Myriad Restaurant Group) through a program at his high school. The restaurant’s management got along so well with the then teenage Rose that they hired him straight out of externship. From there he worked all the stations. He says it was a great opportunity, but he knew he still needed the stronger qualifications that come with classical training.
Kamal came to ICE in 2008, attracted by the the length and flexibility of the program (it still allowed him to keep up with his job at Tribeca Grill), and that it “definitely fine-tuned me, made me a better Chef and made me think about things I never thought about before.”
A couple years after graduation, Kamal was promoted to Executive Chef at Tribeca Grill. If you have been lucky enough to dine there before, you may have noticed his influence. He says he “puts his own Caribbean spin on the New American cuisine.” The last menu had a pork chop brined with jerk spices and kale callaloo. But for the upcoming Taste of the NFL, Kamal turns to the classics, preparing an Italian wedding soup and New York-style Cheesecake for football fans and celebrities.
Kamal is also cooking up a menu for his future. He says his ideal plan is to have a restaurant or bed and breakfast next to a beach, surrounded by a farm. He would want to bring in his own fish, have livestock on the property and fresh eggs. Whether or not that restaurant is in the US or back in his beloved Caribbean remains to be seen, but we know we’ll be some of the first customers when the doors open!