There are some men who, though when they are born they are the same as every child who comes into the world that day, have within them the power to break the mould, transcend the mundane and let the world know their name. Close to 31 years ago in Sherwood Content Usain Bolt came into the world. That was the last time he was ordinary.
Fast forward three decades and having announced his retirement from professional competition at the end of the current season, Usain ran his last home-crowd run at the Racers Grand Prix in Kingston, Jamaica earlier this month. It was always going to be a special occasion but even the most hardened fan of the fastest man on earth could be forgiven for being surprised by the sheer scale of the emotional outpouring. Opened by prayers and a celebration of the greatest athlete in Jamaican history, from the moment it opened it was no longer the Racer’s Grand Prix but Salute to a Legend.
As a farewell tour for a jubilant home crowd, Bolt did not and could not disappoint – he may have had a terrible start as usual, he may have run the 100m in an average for him) 10.03, but he played to the stands, shadow-boxing and running through his usual pre- and -post race routines to give everyone there a sense that they had truly seen him in all his beautiful pomp and circumstance. And of course, he won.
With a tougher line-up by far than the 29 athletes in Kingston when he comes to London this August for his final World Championships, Usain will have to work as hard as he ever has to go out on a high. For an adoring crowd however, it will be enough to see him do what he does best – own an entire stadium with easy-going grace.
Less than a week after Big Mo runs his last professional race, the Olympic Stadium is lighting up again for ten days of world-class Para-Athletics from 14th-23rd July – one month ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships. This is the first time one city has hosted both championships side-by-side and we love that London, and Stratford, is the place to see the best in the world.
We’ll be cheering on all the competitors but have a special eye on Sophie Hahn. She took up Para Athletics after having watched the 2012 games, getting inspired like a whole load of us did that summer! She’s a sprinter and had so much natural talent and trained so well that by the time Rio came around four years later she was not just on Team GB but won a Gold and a Silver – if that’s not going some, we don’t know what is!
Jamaican Paralympic Association is gearing up for what they’re calling Operation Big Ben, fuelled by the fire and success of Alphanso Cunningham. Man has an arm like a cannon and has been winning big since the 2004 games. In 2012 he took an epic gold in discus and a bronze in javelin to make it a huge games for him and the team. So much so that, inspired by him the Para Athletic movement in Jamaica has grown in size and strength to the point that for the first time it its history, a full team is coming to town. Not bad when you think that Jamaica has about 1/20th the population of the UK! They’ll be bringing the thunder and we’ll be cheering them on all the way!
Can it really have been five whole years since Stratford first became the centre of the world and the Olympic waggon rolled into town? It was then we first opened our doors to serve up the best Jerk cooking in Stratford – that’s why we’ve kept on serving it!
Time flies but we got the best of the world here again on July 9th for the Muller Anniversary Games. It’s going to be a brilliant day of top-class sport with too many great ones to mention but it’s Mo Farrah’s last season – we don’t want to miss a last chance to see one of British sport’s all-time greats.
If you’ve got tickets and need a little something to keep you in the mood to cheer on the best in the world, we know that there are plenty of restaurants in Stratford but only one Rhythm Kitchen! We’ve been told* that Jerk cooking is the food of champions! Seeing as it’s over the weekend we’ll have a couple of specials on just for you so you can fuel up just right. See you this weekend!
If you’ve been keeping up with what we’ve had going on lately you’ll know that we’re rocking a brand new look these days – something we think is more us, something which shows off a bit of our Caribbean heritage. It’s not just the outfit that’s new – we’ve been working hard in the kitchen too and one of the things we’ve come up with something we think is the perfect lighter dish for hot summer nights – Jerk Salmon and Coconut Couscous.
Marinated in our secret blend of spices before being cooked to perfection, it’s the sort of thing that you just don’t find other places and that suits us down to the ground. If you hadn’t guessed yet we like to stand out from the crowd, do our own thing. Sure, our Jerk cooking is authentic and tradition and heritage are at the heart of it but what good is all that learning and experience unless you can turn it to something new? So if you come by our place and Jerk Salmon is on as a special, what do you think should go with it? We tried a whole load of things when we were developing this dish, the kitchen was full and all of our friends and family them belly full! In the end we agreed with the popular vote and went for our coconut couscous, something else you might not find in your average Jerk spot. Light, zesty and just a likkle bit different, we love the way it works with the salmon to make a light, tasty dish with deep roots in Island culture but a modern take on how Jerk cooking can work. We hope you like it…
We opened our doors for the first time as a part of the opening crew for Westfield Stratford – we’ve been here as long as it has and we’ve loved serving up fresh Jerk cooking here for the last five years. That is quite a long time though and we thought it was time to take a fresh look at ourselves, give the place a bit of a make-over.
We know ourselves and our cooking even better now so we wanted to reflect that as well as references the heritage of Jerk cooking in a more subtle and refined way than some other Caribbean restaurants do. It’s not just the look, we’ve been working hard in the kitchen too – we’re stull serving up classic Jerk with secret dry-rub and marinade recipes, but we’ve got some new favourites too – Pepper Prawns and a special Jerk Salmon.
The Jerkfather says: “This refresh reflects the way we feel about our cooking and how it relates to both British Caribbean heritage and the Britain of today. We’ve taken the traditions of great food and hospitality and brought them bang up to date. We’re so proud of all the work that’s gone into it from a great team and are looking forward to serving up fine Jerk to the people of Stratford again!”