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Mom, daughter bring island flair to Caribbean hotspot in Houston

HOUSTON, TX – There aren’t a lot of people who can say they’ve cooked for kings. Jacqui Francis is one who can.

“In Jamaica I worked for my prime minister, I did all his catering,’ she explains.  ‘And so, we have Jamaica house, you have the White House here; that’s where my prime minister worked from and so I had to do all his functions – I was in charge of all functions for ten years – so I had the privilege and pleasure of working with a lot of dignitaries around the world.”

Welcome to Houston`s own Jamaica House. Owner Wendi Walker grew up in Jamaica.

“Typically on a Sunday for dinner when we would have friends over, chicken and ribs were a mainstay in our home,” she explains.

She moved to the U.S. to pursue a career in finance. But when the market went bust a few years ago, and the New York winters had taken their toll, she decide to head for a warmer climate and hire the best Jamaican chef she could find to open a restaurant reminiscent of the home cooking she grew up with, so she headed for Houston and found Jacqui Francis. It was an easy pair. Chew on this: Jacqui is Wendi’s mom.

“Mom would typically, on a Sunday, we would have ribs and chicken we would have friends over,” Walker says.

Three years later, Jamaica House is up and running on Westheimer. They offer their own blend of spices and rubs and are hoping to branch out in the future. For now mother and daughter are happy serving their down-home favorites in their new home town.

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