Emerging New Caterer Brings The Islands to Your Palate
As people return to the social events that punctuate our lives, like weddings, confirmations, graduations, and even iconic gatherings like Fashion Week, demand is once again growing for quality catering to go with them. In Linden, NJ, a leafy bedroom suburb of New York City, one couple is embarking on their business dreams — Deane’s Kitchen Catering, a brand-new firm, with its own distinctive, special island flavor. Recently, I was invited to a taste-testing soiree at the home of Romeno and Tiyonna Deane, respectively the proprietor/head chef and general manager of this unique Black-owned small business. Walking past a gleaming Audi A3 with “Deane’s Kitchen” decalage affixed to each door, our hosts escorted us to a sunny dinner area for the culinary presentation. Each place setting presaged the careful attention to detail that depicted the company’s diligence.
To start the evening off, Deane’s Kitchen staff, smartly turned out in the firm’s signature garb, offered guests a new pineapple-and-coconut infused cocktail called a “Painkiller”, to therapeutic effect, generating a relaxed mood for the cuisine that followed. A variegated, diverse sampler of six different dishes was offered, and these provided a glimpse into the fare available to prospective customers in the months and years ahead. The premier cours was Chicken Wonton, lightly drizzled with a sweet and sour glaze, which proved to be light and savory, not too filling at all. Following this opener came a delectable Crab Cake, garnished just so with delicate veggies and a sharp, but not cloying dressing. The sauce and crabmeat complemented each other finely, and paired well with the Painkiller. “I’ve been doing this professionally for fourteen years,” Guyanese-American chef Romeno Deane relates, “and I’ve always had a love for cooking.” The company, which Romeno’s wife, Tiyonna Deane, says been open since July, has “exciting plans for the future.” That future, industry analysts indicate, is full of opportunities in a rebuilding market, as consumers go ahead with marriages, corporate affairs and parties postponed by the long pandemic.
The evening continued, buoyed by a delightful rum punch, complete with orange slices, as the next course, Pepper Shrimp, was brought out. These soft, mildly spicy morsels had just the right amount of seasoning, and were garnished with tropical fruits to balance them, making little bites with big flavor. A few sips of rum punch later, came the first main-dish sample, Curry Goat, a Caribbean staple. Accompanied by a fresh flour tortilla, this plate was finely seasoned, not overpowering, and well-textured. Only the soft ocean breeze was missing. Then it was time to wake up, for following the Curry Goat was the fiery Jerk Chicken, with plenty of bite-back, as all good jerk must have. Ensconced on a bed of brown rice, it was a notable contrast to the earlier courses. Finally, wrapping up the dinner were Oxtails, set amidst a generous portion of Mac and Cheese. The meat was fall-off-the bone tender, exactly in the traditional way, and uniformly seasoned. As with all Deane’s dishes, it was presented in attractive and tempting form.
Tiyonna notes that Deane’s Kitchen Catering services are available throughout the NYC/NJ/Phiiladelphia area, and encourages those interested to follow the company on Instagram at @deaneskitchenllc. A website with a full menu and ordering instructions is coming in the near future, but for now, Deane’s Kitchen can be reached at (908)-748–4411, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A little taste of the Caribbean is waiting for you!