Coinciding with the start of Sydney Fringe Comedy this week is another exciting milestone, the one year anniversary of Island Boys at the Factory Theatre.
Phil has been serving up spicy Jamaican cuisine from his trailer-turned-food truck since 2014. We had a chat with him about the start of Island Boys, his culinary background and how they’re celebrating their first birthday.
How did Island Boys start?
We started due to a lack of Jamaican fare in Sydney. I went to a few eateries that claimed to serve Jamaican food and I was always so disappointed, either with the food or the cost. The food truck game had just kicked off in New South Wales and I thought it would be a good idea.
Where did you learn to cook?
The more traditional European style fine dining I learnt working under Luke Mangan (one of Australia’s leafing chefs and restaurateurs) and Anthony Worrall Thompson (English restaurateur and celebrity chef), who were both trained by Hermann Schneider.
The Jamaican style cooking was passed onto me by my mother and late father. I also spent a lot of time with my grandmother on my mother’s side, she was an excellent cook, and her pastry chef skills were truly quite amazing. My best experience was cooking with my Auntie Ina and my cousin Ruth, they really broke down Jamaican cookery to me and taught me all about herbs, spices and which wood to cook with. Now I close my eyes and I can smell food cooking.
It sounds like you’ve trained under some pretty impressive chefs, what inspired you to leave the restaurant game and start a food truck?
I’ve got three kids and when I was working in a restaurant I never got to see them because I was working all the time. Running my own food truck allows me to spend more time with my family.
How would you describe the Island Boys menu?
We make a lot of changes, but we keep our core dishes. We have charcoal jerk chicken, chicken, beef, lamb and vegetarian wraps, and curry patties. Our specials are dishes like curry goat, chorizo melts, crispy bacon hot dogs and grilled fish. There is so much good produce in Marrickville so the list is endless.
What is the most popular dish on the Island Boys menu?
Our most popular dish is our jerk chicken and cornbread.
What is your favourite thing about serving food at the Factory Theatre?
There is a Jamaican saying ‘ one of many one people’, which means ‘a collective of people who wish to enrich the community’. Being Jamaican it’s all about family and it’s the same at the Factory.
How are you going to celebrate your one year anniversary at the Factory Theatre?
We’re going to have a crab night and some cake!
Island Boys will be serving up delicious Caribbean cuisine every night at the Factory Theatre during Sydney Fringe Comedy. Come along and taste it for yourself!