DC restaurateur says KitchenCray is coming to Bermuda
A well known US restaurateur has said he has held discussions with David Burt, the Premier, about expanding his food chain to Bermuda.
JR Robinson, who founded the popular KitchenCray group of eateries in the Washington DC area, hosted Mr Burt on a trip to the US in April.
Mr Robinson, who has appeared on super-chef Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen TV programme, posted a series of photos on Instagram of himself and the Premier together last month.
The entrepreneur said on the social media site: “Invited my brother @davidburtmp the president of Bermuda to the house to talk bout bringing @kitchencray to #Bermuda !!
“We also talked about black artist @amanilewis_ X @ninachanel X @lavar.munroe.studio X @laurenpearce_designs #blessed #family #love #kitchencray #cupmatch.”
The Government has failed to respond to requests for information from The Royal Gazette on the nature of the Premier’s discussions with Mr Robinson.
It is unclear how a move into the Bermudian market by KitchenCray would sit with laws banning franchises with a foreign flavour dating back to the 1990s.
The Prohibited Restaurants Act 1997 was pushed through the House of Assembly despite causing a split in the then ruling UBP.
The controversial legislation passed with the support of the opposition PLP.
When he appeared on Hell’s Kitchen in 2014, Mr Robinson opened up about a challenging childhood and how he had spent six years in a family homeless shelter.
After graduating from high school, he moved in with his mother after she secured an apartment of her own.
Mr Robinson told The Washington Post: “She kicked me out, so then I was on the street. Every night I was just bouncing around, basically staying with friends and family.
“I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I could cook.”
After accidentally wandering on to a college campus, Mr Robinson decided he wanted to attend, and he eventually gained a full scholarship.
However, as he still lacked a permanent address, Mr Robinson slept in the school’s hallways at night during his course.
Mr Robinson gained a degree in culinary arts and worked his way up through the restaurant industry and eventually found the KitchenCray chain.
The Eater Washington DC website described KitchenCray as: “A soul food restaurant that’s built a loyal following for rich dishes piled high with seafood.
“KitchenCray began as a catering business that won chef-owner JR Robinson attention from celebrities and a spot as a contestant on Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen.
“Loaded with Cajun and Caribbean flavours, the restaurant offers generous portions of shrimp and grits, lobster mac and cheese, fried chicken and French toast, and stuffed salmon.”