The name Lorraine Fung conjures up immediate respect amongst culinarians and patrons alike in Jamaica. Her knack for local and international cuisine, particularly Asian is unbeatable. A food industry stalwart, for many dignitaries and blue chip corporations, Lorraine is the go-to person for major events, celebrations and launches. She is not intimidated by cooking quality meals for large crowds and discerning palates, in fact she thrives on it. Sadly, no more since the pandemic struck.
Like most in the food industry, Lorraine has been forced to pivot and now does more intimate private dinners and also caters prepared take away dishes. Lorraine has mentored and trained numerous individuals within the island’s hospitality industry and those who have been under her tutelage have grown into better service people and cooks. It’s no wonder she is one of Jamaica’s most beloved caterers.
How did you get into food, what drove your success as a stalwart of the Jamaican food world?
My journey started at home. My father was from Canton, China, my mother a farmer’s daughter from Alexandria, St. Ann. Our daily meals would have cuisine from both regions served. For breakfast, the Chinese culture of Dim Sum (meaning small plates for the heart) was followed. We had several items on the table like scrambled eggs with escallion and oyster sauce, ham in fried rice and sausage and would use them to create a stir fry meal with vegetables. These were combined with Jamaican fried dumplings, plantain, yellow yam, maybe mackerel or pick-up saltfish etc. Whatever was served, steamed rice would always be on the table. For dinner, you could expect anything, from Chinese roast chicken to Jamaican curried goat.
My parents were business people so if sales representatives came by our house any time of day, a meal was on the table. My culinary journey continued throughout primary school. I was always preparing something for the Home Economics class. My generous mother would always triple the portions so other students in the class could participate by having a taste. This warmed the heart of our lecturer.
What countries are in your top food destinations outside of Jamaica?
I have travelled to many countries throughout the Caribbean, North America and Europe. I’ve sampled the ethnic food of each country, my favourite is still Asian food – Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese, even Indian from any region.
What are your thoughts on organic foods?
Organic food is here to stay. We’re exposed to information on the deadly chemicals used to enhance the speedy growth of plants and livestock. Some of these chemicals can cause challenges to a foetus and life threatening diseases in babies and the elderly. For me, organic is the preferred choice.
What is your favourite vegetarian dish to prepare?
I love a medley of grilled veggies, very crunchy with a little curry & cumin sprinkled on top. Raw veggies do something for my soul – I eat them all.