New TV Channel celebrates Caribbean Restaurants


By Stephen Weir

Restaurant week Damian at the real jerk

I missed Samuel Jackson by a couple of days but I did get to sit on the very same bar stool he sat on when he visited the Real Jerk.  The popular Jamaican Food Emporium was mum when I asked what he ate, what he drank and how much was his tip. They did tell me I also missed Drake and Rihanna by a couple years.

I wasn’t at the Real Jerk looking for stars, I was there for the Jamaican food and to talk to Damian Sogren the host of One Caribbean TV’s first Caribbean Restaurant Week shorts. Their on-air Toronto foodie coverage runs from July 17 to July 27.

One Caribbean Television is a new-to-cable television network about the Caribbean and its people.  Their food event celebrates the rich tradition of Caribbean cuisine found in Toronto as well as providing interesting programming for the network, which recently launched on Bell Fibre TV, Channel 2481.

Restaurant week Damian at the real jerk

Throughout the campaign, One Caribbean Television (OCT) is profiling select restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area and offering their patrons a chance to win a trip for two to a carnival in the Caribbean in 2020.

“For Restaurant Week I’ll be doing some coverage and video features of a few of the participating restaurants, showcasing all their unique cultural and culinary facets,” Sogren told the Caribbean Camera. “Of course the Real Jerk is a must-have restaurant.”

Since OCT is currently free to watch on Bell Fibre, it doesn’t cost anything to take part. “Toronto foodies can certainly vote for their favourite participating restaurants by logging onto our website (www.onecaribbeantelevision.com/canada) or going to the restaurants and voting in person,” explained Sogren.

“I wouldn’t say Caribbean dishes are under-appreciated, the folks that are aware of the restaurants that serve Caribbean love them and support the cuisine,” he continued. “I think we just need to bring more awareness about the wonderful food offerings and the benefits of the culture beyond our communities.’

Sogren is quickly becoming the face of the new channel. He hails from Trinidad but for the past five years he and his wife have called Toronto home.  When not working for the Erie, Pennsylvania – based network here in Canada, he is an active professional MC for corporate, wedding and party events; he also a PR consultant.

“I present and produce TV segments for the network. I am passionate about showcasing the region’s cultural festivals and tourism offerings. After the Restaurant Week I will go straight into Toronto Caribbean Carnival coverage mode. “

During the first week in August, One Caribbean Television will broadcast Carnival Week. It will be seven days of coverage of the Caribbean carnivals occurring in Antigua, Barbados and Toronto among other locations.

In the first few days the station has already received enough votes for Toronto restaurants to come up with a top five list.  The Real Jerk is number one, followed by Chubby’s Jamaica, The Avenue, Rasta Pasta and Delight Food Caribbean Takeout.

Meanwhile since the Caribbean Camera will never find out what Samuel Jackson ate last week at the Real Jerk, we are left to guess.  Since they don’t serve Snakes on a Plate, we are going with Jerk Chicken, Rice and Peas with a side of Curried Goat (he is a big guy!).