By Jennifer Ingham, Correspondent
When speaking with The Caribbean Press food truck owner Jermaine Smith, it’s obvious that his passion for food runs deep. Since 2019, he has been serving customers throughout Central Massachusetts and beyond, bringing Caribbean flavors to the forefront through a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Jamaican Jerk chicken paninis, traditional rice and beans and coconut and pineapple tarts, are just a few food mouth-watering menu options that keep a steady stream of new and returning customers visiting the order window.
Smith grew up in the Virgin Islands and for him, cooking was a communal experience in his younger years. He fondly remembers time spent with his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother tasting and observing their culinary creations. Through his ever-changing menu, Smith enjoys being able to provide a “taste of home” for those who have visited or lived in the Caribbean, along with those who may be trying Caribbean food for the first time.
Smith cooks with authentic Caribbean spices, sauces, and ingredients to recreate the recipes he grew up enjoying, a majority that are sourced regionally. When asked about his ingredients, Smith is more than happy to share details about what makes his food unique.
“Each of our dishes offer something different. For example, we use Caribbean curry that’s full of flavor, tropical barbecue and Jerk sauce, and my rice and beans are done Dominican-style, with my own twist,” said Smith.
Smith wanted to operate a food truck from the start, versus a brick and mortar location. The flexibility in showing up and serving people wherever there was demand, appealed to him, along with the opportunity to change the menu as often as he wanted in response to what customers are ordering as their top favorites. Smith is clear that he has remained customer-focused ever since he first put his food truck wheels in motion.
“One of my favorite things about having the food truck is the interacting I have with customers. I’ve met so many people and I enjoy those conversations,” said Smith. “Over the summer, I had a family from St. Thomas, where I’m from, visit. We get a lot of people from the Islands.”
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required some adjustments to typical operations. Both Smith and his sole co-worker on the truck took a mandatory food and sanitation safety course to remain open. They have also started using pre-wrapped utensils and napkins, to ensure the health of the customers. Satisfaction and enjoyment remains at the center of their service.
That said, business has remained steady with their continued presence at the Worcester Food Hub Farmer’s Market and recent pivot to serving takeaway options to customers visiting local breweries which started in early summer 2020.
In reflecting on how their business has evolved since their 2019 launch, Smith speaks highly of others in the food truck community and particularly the Food Hub’s director, Shon Rainford, naming them as mentors who have supported his staff, helped find suppliers, assisted with permits and more.
“Shon has helped with things like exploring membership with the Chamber of Commerce and securing additional storage space at The Food Hub,” says Smith. “Being a part of the larger Hub and food truck community has been great. We all get together and talk about business and how we can help each other out. I’ve felt welcome from the beginning.”
Clearly, Smith puts so much care and appreciation into the preparation, cooking, serving, and operating of The Caribbean Press. With each dish, he is able to share more of his culture and history, connecting the community as a whole, one conversation at a time.
“My food is comfort food. When people are happy and enjoy what I serve that, that makes me very proud.”
To locate The Caribbean Press’ next food truck stop or to see current menu options, visit