PAN 2018 finalist Kareen Johnson wants to expand catering business
Six years ago, Kareen Johnson took a leap of faith and tried her hand at the PAN chicken business; a decision she has not regretted. Growing up in the small district of White Hall in Highgate, St Mary, Kareen is no stranger to food. It has been a family affair, as her Uncle is a chef at Half Moon Hotel and her brother was also a chef. She always enjoyed experimenting with creative dishes.
"I started out preparing chicken necks, back and liver to start a pan chicken business. I did not know what I wanted to do, but food had always been a part of me. My family background is in food," Johnson shared.
In fact, it's a family business, as Johnson's fiance Kevin Nash, is also a past participant and regional winner of PAN in 2013. Together they have been doing pan chicken at functions and community events, which has blossomed into a viable catering business.
It was Nash who encouraged Kareen to enter PAN. She tried her luck in 2017, but would not become a winner. She re-entered PAN 2018, hoping she'd get another opportunity to bring it home for her parish of St Mary. When the SDC advised her she was selected, she knew she had to give it one last shot.
Undeterred, Kareen went back to the drawing board, revised her strategy and as fate would have it, she was St Mary's parish winner at Regional 1 last month.
With a resounding confidence and joy in her voice, Kareen shared that "The experience was great. Mi feel extra confident about winning at the Grand Final. The ting tun up."
Johnson is currently a chef at the Royalton in Trelawny while she focuses on the catering operation outside of her normal working hours.
She's busily preparing for her success at the PAN 2018 Grand Final, which is scheduled for October 28 at the National Stadium Car Park.
Kareen has big plans for the prize money if she is selected among the winners: "I want to expand the catering business and provide employment for others so that they can also earn."
She continued, "I learnt a lot more from the competition. It taught me how to respond to dealing with people and it also allowed me to be creative. Preparing pan chicken is one thing, but to have persons judge the taste, presentation and creativity is something else. It's like you are on top of the world."
Check out Kareen's pan chicken at the PAN 2018 Grand Final. Log on to CB Chicken's FB and IG pages to follow more stories, and be a part of this culinary journey.