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Chef on the up after seasoning sell-out success

Compliments to the chef: Michiko Campbell, who laid on free dinners for 452 people on Christmas Eve, with fiancée Sherelle Simons

It’s been a very successful year for entrepreneurial Bermudian chef Michiko Campbell, whose line of seasonings sold out completely over Christmas.

The all-purpose seasoning Chiko’s Smokey Rub came out this summer after a rave success during Harbour Nights, and was followed by an equally successful ham and garlic versions.

“We’ve done close to 4,000 bottles since June — now we’re waiting for the next shipment to come in on the second week of January,” the sous chef, also a serving soldier in the Bermuda Regiment, told The Royal Gazette.

Samples have also gone out internationally after Mr Campbell got some requests from chefs in the United States.

With the latest local culinary product taking off, the 25-year-old chef is already planning to branch out into more flavours.

“We’re working on a new spring seasoning coming up for the Good Friday holiday,” Chef Campbell said. “I have a few in mind, like a spicy version of the original seasoning. There are probably three more in the running for next year to get ready for the summer when people start having barbecues.”

Meanwhile, the free Christmas Eve charity dinner sponsored by Chiko’s Smokey Rub proved to be a “huge success”.

“Life is about sharing — always give back,” Chef Campbell said after laying on a meal for 452 people at Albuoy’s Point, with the help of 28 helpers and his fiancée, Sherelle Simons, a graphic designer, who created festive T-shirts for volunteers.

“A lot of people were saying that it was very much appreciated, and a lot of people were asking if it was really for free. They were also saying it was really nice food.”

Premier Michael Dunkley stopped by the event, accompanied by Senator Jeff Baron. The dinner with music was a labour of love for the chef, who started work before the break of dawn on Monday.

It paid off. Among other things, the Chiko’s Smokey Rub Christmas Eve Charity Event took in $1,000 in donations for the Eliza DoLittle Society, which provides food for the Island’s needy.

“It was a great night,” Chef Campbell said. “I feel good knowing that I was able to give a helping hand around the holidays.”

No specific plans have been drawn up thus far, but he said he hopes to unveil other charitable events in the year ahead. For help in making the Christmas Eve dinner a success, Chef Campbell sent out special thanks to donors Edison Jones and Portraits Afrique, JaJa Millett, Horsfield Landscaping & Design, the Horseman Family and Snelling Family, International Imports (Chef Shop), Island Construction and Zane DeSilva, Bernews, the Jones Family, Lorraine Dean, Meredith Smith, Robert Burkhart, Allison Conyers, Lester and Tracy Petracca, Karen Campbell, Sophie Compeau, Dianne Swan, Jennifer Rodrigues, Daniel Mackie (DE Mortimer & Co), Janae Foley, Donna Hendrickson, Flatts Menswear, Howard Marirea, Carol Tucker, Mike Jones, Goodwin C Smith Foundation, David and Kimberly Hayward, Trudie Ottolini, Western Stars Sports Club/Dandy Town, as well as all other anonymous givers.