A Redditch mum has proved she’s got an appetite for business, using the authentic Jamaican recipes passed down from her mum – despite the pressures put on her by the cost of living crisis. During the covid lockdown, ambitious Sam Best left behind her HR job with Adecco and used her savings to launch company, Bests Jamaican Cuisine.
The 46-year-old, who grew up in Handsworth, makes mouth-watering home-cooked Jamaican and Caribbean food at home that are delivered to people across the region. And it’s paying off as she is fast become known for dishes from Ackee and Salt Fish to Brown Stew Chicken and Plantain Fritters – and already earned a contract with Redditch Council.
Sam, who used to live in Quinton and went to Four Dwellings High and Lordswood Girls schools, has been running her own business for just over a year since January 2021. Starting off at outdoor festivals, she’s also used Facebook to spread the word about her home deliveries.
Sam, who has a 16-year-old daughter, posts regular images of vibrant eye-catching daily specials. It has helped her attract customers from across her home town of Redditch, but also further afield in Worcester, Alvechurch, Woodgate Valley and Birmingham.
But her aspirations to open her own restaurant have only been made harder with rising electricity and gas bills. “With lockdown, I thought I’d give it a go as I’d always liked cooking,” said Sam.
“I started doing it from home and the aim is to get my own restaurant, but with the cost of living and fuel rises, I can’t afford to do that right now. I also don’t want to pass on those rises to my customers.
“At the start, there were a lot of outgoings, like insurance, and challenges but it’s trial and error and it balances out. I’m getting myself out there and established. The cost of living rises are a worry though.
“My business is about home cooking. It’s all authentic and how I cook for my customers is how I cook for myself. My mum Hazel was born in Jamaica and taught me. I’ve learned it all from my mum.
“I was cooking from the age of eight – the moment you can walk, you’re in the kitchen with Jamaican parents,” Sam jokes. “At the time, I wanted to be out playing but now I appreciate everything I’ve learned.
“Usain Bolt put Jamaica on the map and Jamaican food has come into its own of late, as people have got a taste for it – it’s soul food. It’s also really good for you.
“I’ve got two business management degrees and I wasn’t utilising them in what I was doing in HR. That was until now as they have helped with this. I have always wanted to have my own business and manage myself.
“It’s going really well so far. The first year, I mainly did festivals and through Deliveroo and closed for a few months to fit a new kitchen. I didn’t realise how busy I would be when I reopened again.
“I’ve got a lot of regular customers, do food for the council and charity events. I use Facebook and my website.
“I’ll make food for anyone who wants food and will pay the delivery fee, even to Timbuktoo.”
Sam’s three most popular dishes are Jerk Chicken, Mutton Curry and Brown Stew Chicken. Bests Jamaican Cuisine has a Facebook page where orders can be made.