KINGSTON 11 CUISINE
22701 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612
Lunch: Tuesday – Frday: 11am-2pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday: 5-10pm
Brunch: Sunday 11-4pm
Irie Hour: Tuesday 4-6pm/ (plus Saturday) 10-11pm
Last saturday I had dinner at Kingston 11 Cusine located in uptown Oakland. I heard about this resturant from a friend who told me the food was to die for so of course, I had to take a look. Not only was the food amazing the vibe and feel of the resturant were far from dissapointing. I also had the pleassure of interviewing Nigel Jones who is Co Owner & Head Chef of Kingston 11 Cusine.
I decided to try some Oxtail and OMG it was amazing! My plate consisted of rice, beans, sweet plantains and some of the best Oxtail I ever had. The meat was so tender and the sauce was really tasty it got to the point where i was literally sucking the sauce from the bones!
Interview with Nigel Jones
Odilcia: At what age did you start cooking?
Nigel: I started cooking at 13 years old in Jamaica. My grandmother taught me how to cook. When I was younger she would make certain dishes that I did not really like and she said to me, “If you are going to complain about my food you better learn how to cook.” and when a parent says that to you, sometimes they mean it or they don’t and she meant it . She really embraced me in the kitchen she taught me how use the stoves and use knifes and to not be afraid of them. From there I learned a lot recipes from her and when I came to the united states continued to cook all the time I’ve been at it for a long time.
Odilcia: So would you consider your grandmother your biggest cooking influence?
Nigel: Yes, most definitely.
Odilcia: What are your favorite Jamaican dishes to make or eat?
Nigel: At this restaurant one of our staples is Jerk Chicken. Even though they aren’t many d Jamaican restaurants in the Bay Area, a lot of restaurants will have Jerk Chicken but they didn’t do it the traditional way. In Jamaica, the indigenous Indians started Jerk Cooking, which is smoking and roasting food underground. So basically, Jerk Chicken is not just about the spices you use it is more of a method of cooking and I really wanted to show that here at my restaurant. Another staple at the restaurant is Oxtail, which we simmer very slowly for 4 hours on low heat and Escoveitch Fish so its salmon and homemade pickled veggies those are 3 of my favorite staples of the restaurant we also have other dishes to compliment those staples.
Odilcia: One thing in your kitchen that you cant live without?
Nigel: Hmm well surprisingly enough, I use a lot of ginger. We have ginger beer we drink at the restaurant but we use ginger as a seasoning and it is apart of a lot of dishes here like our Spicy Carmel Carrots we also use ginger juice for a couple cocktails at our bar. Ginger is one of the things that stand out but we use for most of our dishes
Odilcia: Why did you choose to bring your talents to the Bay Area?
Nigel: Well, I’ve always wanted to open up a Jamaican restaurant in California. I wanted something more upscale and not the typical small Jamaican Restaurant and Oakland is a great place. Oakland to me is a growing diverse community something I feel our restaurant exemplifies. When I came here from New York I felt like there was not much of a Jamaican community nor any good Jamaican restaurants so there was always a void. I found it as a great business opportunity and I jumped on it.
Odilcia: If you could use one word to describe the Bay Area what would it be?
Nigel: I would say change. The Bay Area is changing in a lot of ways it’s giving back. Because I live in Oakland, I see a lot the moving parts and a lot of growth for people of color. Young and old rich or poor we are in one community.
Odilcia: What do you want customers feel when they leave Kingston’s 11 cuisine?
Nigel: I want them to enjoy what we have to offer which is excellent, food, excellent vibes I want them to walk thru that door and leave everything behind and explore and enjoy Kingston almost like you’re in Jamaica.
Odilcia: I read that you use local produce for your dishes, how important is using locally grown food to you and to your restaurant?
Nigel: It is important in a lot of different ways because we want to support our community so the more we use local food not only do we cut down on pollution but also we want to support local farmers and local businesses…. like we buy our meats up the street and our fish we buy in china town and since we are growing we buy big quantities so our support kind of ripples throughout the community.
Odilcia: Any advice for aspiring restaurateurs?
Nigel: You have to be true to you and you have conviction to want you want to do people will respond to that. I would encourage anyone of any field just go with who you are you’re your passion and that’s where you succeed at.
So there you have it! I would like thank Kingston 11 Cusine for giving me such a warm reception I appreicate it. If you would like to check kingston’s for yourself, check them out at 2270 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
you can also visit their website here.