We sold 200+ Jerk Chicken out in the cold, and even co-created a magical dressing...

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I always believe people are like magnets, instincts can bound strangers to become friends. I’m very lucky that I have strong instincts with people, Micheal from JamRock is one of them. Our conversation started with food, but deeply bounded after we all realized that we like to make crazy fun projects happen for our community.

Kicking into our 2nd year doing a Pop-Up World Cafe at Evergreen Festival in Halifax, we at Lumi Studios hoping to being some surprising flavours to you all for this holiday season!

We are returning with JamRock again this year Evergreen Festival. Follow our Instagram (@Off_The_EatenPath) to get the latest updates in the hours.

Here is a recap of last year, and a teaser for this year’s food experience with us! Starting from Dec 7th, Come visit us at Evergreen Festival!

Our Story with Chef Michael from Jam Rock

My first visit to the brewery market, I smelled BBQ, it was so tempting even from a couple corners away. I found my way with the lead of this smell. The mix of noises and smells here, reminded me of the street food markets I used to go all the time where I grew up in China. I did my best to squeeze through the crowd in front of Jam Rock’s booth, I’m sure Michael noticed my curious face, “Have you had our food before? This is Jerk Chicken, try it, try it”. Michael chopped a piece of the grilled chicken and handed it to me.

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Jam Rock in Halifax Brewery Market. 📷 @LumiStudiosMedia

“This looks so good!” I through it in my mouth without a doubt. When I saw the color of the grilled chicken skin on the grill, I knew it would taste good. But the texture of the meat gave me a big surprise when I bit into it, it was so tender and juicy under the crispy and dry skin!  

And this one bit lead into the start of our story and the rest of the conversations!

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JamRock's Jerk Chicken on Grill 📷 @LumiStudiosMedia

The born of the OTEP X JamRock Dressing

I’m an adventurous type of foodie, always seeking for interesting balancing of flavours that would give me an extra punch.

When I see there is a big bottle of sauce on the corner of Michael’s counter, I reach for it unconsciously, thinking this was supposed to be a spicy dipping sauce or a dressing. Michael didn’t stop me.

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JamRock's Jerk Chicken with our dressing 📷 @LumiStudiosMedia

‘How is it? You like the sauce with the chicken?’ He asked in a way that he was questioning the taste of it.

‘I love it Michael, this sauce is amazing, what is it? Mix of sweet and sour, and spicy of course. I can tell the spiciness is not just from the pepper, there’s something else in it.”

‘Oh, you do like it! Really! You like your chicken with the sauce?’ He was surprised about the fact I put the sauce on the chicken and liked it, but at the moment I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t think I like it.

Ever since that, he specifically asked me to try the chicken with this sauce every week I visit him in the market. And he would sample this with other customers walking by, specially asking “how do you like the sauce?” Since then, this sauce became a new tradition with Jam Rock.

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I never thought the born of this dressing would have anything to do with me, until more than 2 years later at Evergreen Market.

We were so proud that we could make OTEP Pop Up at Evergreen Festival in Halifax, and have Michael with us in the chalet serving his signature Jerk Chicken. His warm personality made it very natural to connect with every customer visited us. As usual, he always invite customers to sample his food, and he would generously introduce me as his ‘sister’.

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Off The Eaten Path X Jam Rock at Evergreen Festival Market lasf December.

‘Do you like spicy? Try this sauce on with the chicken, try, try, this is the best!’ Customers’ nodding and smiling gave us more confidence to this product.

‘Yea! You like it! This is from my sister you know, she created it!’ Michael smiled and said this.

I was confused at the moment as this was probably the third time in the day I heard him saying I created this sauce. At the end of the day, I finally get a chance to figure this out.

‘Brother, why did you say I created the sauce? I don’t understand?’

‘Yea you created! Remember the first time we met in the market? You put the sauce on top of the chick, and I asked you if you like it?’ He explained.

‘Yes…so anything wrong with it? The sauce wasn’t meant for the chicken?’ I felt I ate something I shouldn’t have.

‘Well, it’s not a dressing, it was the jerk chicken is marinate.’ Michael said.

‘No one dip the chicken into any sauce, back home we have Jerk Chicken with no sauce because it’s already marinated. That is why I was surprised to see you put it on top, and even more surprised to see you like it! Since then, I produced a new batch similar to the flavour of the marinate, but as a dressing to put on top of the grilled chicken. Asked more customers to try, people do like it! Every week you came back, I asked you to try again and again, improving based on yours and other customers’ comments.

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Michael explains to every customer the stories of his food.

Michael never explained this to me before, and I would eat anything he fed me and let him know how I like it and what’s the difference. I was so happy at the moment in the chalet, and any coldness disappeared in the excitment of this story!

This shows perfectly the magical chemistry I was talking about at the beginning of this story. Michael and I are from two parts of the world, Jamaica and China, but we are bounded here in Halifax! Michael was a science teacher in High school before he moved to Halifax, only started Jam Rock here in Halifax, and I’m a community designer/photographer. Food, flavours and smells marks the start of our conversation, but it’s really the shared vision of sharing culture and create a better community that established our long lasting friendship.

Since 2021, we started exploring and experimenting fun projects such as this co-creation sauce. We wish to create interesting and inspiring flavours, that bring some new sparkles to Halifax!

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Now, we warmly invite you to try Jam Rock’s chicken, curry, poutine… with this magical dressing! The flavour is complex and balanced, bold and refreshing, and most importantly, the sharing of diverse cultures!

BTW If you have a good suggestion about the name of this dressing, please leave me a comment :) We'll feed u with this magical dressing!!