Caribbean restaurant owner explains the joys and challenges of new Aylesbury venture

The award winning food van has morphed into a full scale restaurant, co-owner Stevi explains the excitement and challenges she has faced in her first few months running a high street store

Friday, 29th October 2021, 11:04 am

S&S Kitchen is settling into its groove as a fully fledged restaurant in Aylesbury, after its previous life as a food van.

Wife and husband, Stevi and Stephen Becksford, were award winners running their Caribbean themed food van in town, in July they opened their first restaurant.

S&S is one of many businesses which began in Aylesbury market, now hoping to thrive on the high street, the grassroots business has gone from a team of four to well over 20 with the expansion.

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S&S owners Stevi and Stephen

Stevi discussed the challenges, exciting opportunities and ways the business has changed with the Bucks Herald.

She said: "At the weekends we're very busy. So Saturday, you may get one weekend where you don't have to book, but we're pretty much fully booked at the weekends.

"We're quite new and lunch is a little bit quieter then what we expected to be honest, but people are still just finding out about us.

"The challenge has been really the dedication, as a restaurant it's more food, more effort, more people we have to deal with in terms of staff. It's a lot more work to be honest, but it's going to be worth it in the end."

A packed night at the restaurant

Going from a successful takeaway business to a grand restaurant means learning the intricacies of dining and serving guests and that is something the team had to adapt to quickly.

Stevi said: "Obviously, this is our first restaurant, we didn't have nowhere else where we could train people up.

"We did a friends and family night and that was basically their training, before we opened to the public. So when we did open on the Friday it was a little bit of a nightmare.

"But now, the way they have changed to know pretty much everything and how smoothly the team is run, is something I'm really proud of."

A spicy dish

S&S Kitchen is known for its traditional Caribbean dishes bringing food from across the islands to punters in Aylesbury and beyond.

The beauty of having more space and a much bigger kitchen area means the chefs have brought back popular cuisine which proved too difficult to regularly produce in the trailer.

Stevi explained: "The menu has changed we've got quite a few additions on our menu. We brought stew beef back which people loved in the trailer, but obviously, it was a tight space, so it wasn't easy [to make].

"We've got quite a lot of light bites, we've got jerk pit ones, people love them, which was never on the van. There's quite a few changes, we do quarter, halves and whole chickens now. Whereas before it was just jerk chicken. There's a good variety of kids' meals. We have a big cocktail menu which is a big change."

Another opportunity owning your own restaurant provides the young entrepreneurs is the opportunity to do themed-nights and special events.

Ownership are looking forward to welcoming a Radio 1Xtra DJ to the venue for a special evening, which is coming soon.

Stevi said: "As a Caribbean restaurant, we want to do a bit of research into the type of events they hold in the Caribbean and bring that to the restaurant."

One idea Stevi is flirting with is, a 'bringing back Jamaica' day, encouraging guests and staff to wear traditional 'old-time' Jamaican clothing.

S&S Kitchen is located on Kingsbury, guests can take advantage of two for one cocktails everyday from 12pm till 7pm.

The restaurant has special dining deals available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for customers keen to taste Caribbean cuisine.