Today, we are at TUBO’S Restaurant located in the Mountain View area of Kingston, to learn a bit about Chef Neville “Lion” Armstrong, a chef with over 30 years of experience and how he uses Grace products to add Flava with a Beat to his dishes.
Chef Lion and his wife Sheila have been together for over 52 years, with 5 children and 12 grandchildren and have been working side by side in the kitchen for the last 30 years. As a young person, Lion was first really introduced to professional cooking when he started looking for jobs, at the time there was a lot available jobs with various ships “ship work” and they always wanted really good cooks so he decided to go to hotel school, graduated and then started working on ships.
Chef Lion has worked on ships that included, Jamaica Banana Producers, SS Sunek (a Canadian ship), Wind Jammer Cruise (based in Miami) and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. After working that experience he returned to Jamaica and started a food trailer, in 1987 on Knutsford Boulevard, long before food trucks were popular – preparing hot dogs, hamburgers, fry chicken, oxtail and curry goat with a different menu every day. His trailer attracted all the employees from the financial institutions in the New Kingston area for 7 years and then other restaurant establishments began opening on the strip.
He decided to start cooking from his Mountain View location in about 1995 and prepared the traditional dishes most requested – fry chicken, bbq chicken, stew peas, curry goat, jerk chicken, stew beef, fish. His main customers were from the Excelsior Community College. He left the island in 2011 to pursue an opportunity overseas and upon return to Jamaica he has re-opened TUBO’S Restaurant and if offering up delicious dishes to the public and also provides catering services for production and movie sets for media crews.
GRACE FLAVA WITH A BEAT WITH CHEF LION
1. What does “Flava with a Beat” mean to you?
That means something spicy, something savoury.
2. Why do you think music and food go hand-in-hand?
Food you eat with your eyes it’s the first thing that attracts you – the music, you hear it and you feel it. So that means they must go together.
3. What are your go-to Grace product(s) to add “Flava” to your meals?
Grace Coconut Milk, because you can add a little bit of that and it can change the complete flavour of a dish.
4. What’s your favourite type of music to listen to in the kitchen? And what are your top 3 favourite songs?
Most of the time I listen to Kool FM, old school and rocksteady music. My 3 Favourite songs are Many Rivers To Cross by Jimmy Cliff, Trenchtown Rock by Bob Marley and Revolution by Dennis Brown.
5. Do you enjoy cooking?
Yes, it’s a creative thing. Cooking is an art, but it’s disappearing art – because you see it and you devour it and then it’s gone and you have to create again.
6. How did you learn how to cook? and what are your earliest memories of being in the kitchen?
The run-a-boat thing, which started for me when I grew up in the community of Southside – it doesn’t matter what somebody was cooking they would say “Tubo come check this” – and I must ‘touch’ it with something else. I’ve been cooking from about 20 years old, and getting paid to cook since then.
You can check out what ChefLion has on the menu at 120 7/8 Munster Road, the corner of Mountain View and Munster, open for lunch from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily.