Shop shares cooking secrets from Africa and Caribbean

Eight-year-old Mikah Hylton-Mais helps his dad, Richard, at the event at the Westaf African Caribbean shop.
Eight-year-old Mikah Hylton-Mais helps his dad, Richard, at the event at the Westaf African Caribbean shop.

Sharing African and Caribbean culture with a wider audience and encouraging more integration within the community was the theme of a tasty event in Worksop.

The town’s African Caribbean superstore, Westaf, on Bridge Street, hosted a recipe share and cooking class on Saturday, and it was given the thumbs up by dozens of visitors.

Visitors enjoy the cooking demonstration at the Westaf African Caribbean shop.

Visitors enjoy the cooking demonstration at the Westaf African Caribbean shop.

In preparation for Christmas, Westaf asked Worksop residents of African or Caribbean heritage to take along their unique recipes and share them with others.

What’s more, the Jamaican family-run restaurant, Caribbean Occasions, which specialises in buffets, was also on hand.

Its owner, Richard Hylton-Mais, who also runs the Caribbean cooked food stall on Worksop Market, performed live cooking demonstrations in the shop during the day.

With help from Mikah, his enthusiastic eight-year-old son, Richard showed visitors how to make the traditional Jamaican dish, ackee and salt fish, and also gave away free samples.

Sylvia Acquah, the co-owner of Westaf, was delighted with how the day went. She said: “It was an amazing way to share African Caribbean culture.

“Since we opened in September, we have been so blessed to have a wide variety of customers who are pleased to have a shop like ours in Worksop, and have been willing to support it.

“Among them are many people who would really like to try the different food ingredients, but are not always sure how to use them. This event really helped them to do that.”

The shop is a model of diversity. As well as specialist foodstuffs that are often hard to find in this country, Westaf stocks comestics, fabrics and haberdashery supplies, and runs in-store sewing and aerobics classes.