CEO SPOTLIGHT: Meet the founder of Jerk Dat Authentic Caribbean-American Cuisine

Chef Cordia Elijah Brown, the visionary behind Jerk Dat, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. His culinary journey began at age 10 when he discovered his passion for the art of cooking. Hailing from Trench Town, Jamaica, he started his career by roasting fish in the back of a building, using a makeshift roaster made of three stones and a piece of zinc with lit coal underneath. Today, he is the proud owner and operator of Jerk Dat, a culinary venture that opened its doors on Sept. 23, 2019, bringing the fusion of Jamaican and Caribbean flavors while blending other cuisines to the American dining experiences.

Q: What inspired you to open a restaurant featuring a combination of Jamaican, Caribbean and American flavors?

A: Las Vegas is a growing and beautiful city, much like New York City, a melting pot of cultures. I came to Las Vegas to explore opportunities and found a desire in the Caribbean market for Caribbean food. I saw this as an opportunity and established my foundation within the hospitality and entertainment industries.

Q: Speaking of entertainment, have you served any celebrities?

A: Over the years, Jerk Dat has had the privilege of serving some notable individuals. This includes the honor of serving UFC founder Dana White and catering special banquet events at renowned Las Vegas venues, including Drai’s Night Club, Caesars Palace, Hakkasan at MGM and the Omnia. Our commitment to quality and authenticity has earned us the trust of these esteemed guests. I also served Floyd Mayweather and Terry Fator, hometown favorites.

Q: What was your experience working with celebrities?

A: I learned that hard work does pay off. I’ve been cooking and delivering Mayweather’s food on a regular basis, whether he is at the gym, home or in the rink. I would share my vision of opening up more than one location and continuing to expand, and they would encourage me.

Q: What did you learn from working in upscale places?

A: The key is to love it and put that love in the food. When you put love in it, it comes out back and people enjoy it. They can feel the love, taste it and sense it. With food, you must have a personality and let people know you appreciate it.

Q: What lessons have you learned with your restaurant with your world travels?

A: I have learned to blend flavors like a canvas with a heart. When somebody sees the quality of the food, sometimes they don’t want to eat it because it’s so beautiful, then they taste it. That is what my experience in France taught me. In Italy, it is all about the fresh ingredients. I was on a farm in Italy, and they picked the tomato off the tree, went right to the stove, and cooked it.

Q: Let’s talk about your cuisine.

A: We started with the jerk chicken. It is something that we, as Caribbean people, will make with all these special ingredients that we blend together. We make sure our meats are washed with vinegar, lime and salt. We grill the chicken for that smoky smell and taste. Jerk Dat also offers Italian food like shrimp pasta, lobster pasta, rasta pasta and mac and cheese. We feature a loaded potato, a baked potato with jerk oxtail, jerk chicken or shrimp. I decided to add a little Chinese cuisine of oxtail fried rice and jerk chicken fried rice. As for American, we added burgers, including salmon, vegan and chipotle. The Trinidad cuisine of roti, the curry chicken roti and the curry goat roti. So, we’re doing a blend of everything.

Q: Along with the cuisine, what else do you offer to keep customers?

A: Experience, good hospitality, good service, a great environment and good music, like reggae and R&B. We keep it positive and welcoming to everyone.

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