Kahari Woolcock

Miss Lily's
Greenwich Village, NYC
If you've brunched, lunched, or dined at Miss Lily's East Village or Houston location, you know there will likely be a (very worth it) wait. The always-bustling Caribbean diner is an oasis of good energy, signature jerk dishes, strong fruit punch, and a guaranteed fun time. When we stepped in to interview Chef Kahari on a day off, we were lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the work that goes into creating such a great experience. Between bites of jerk corn and sips of Red Stripe, chef recounted stories of growing up in Jamaica, and the steps that lead him to Chef de Cuisine.
No items found.

Full name, age, where are you from?

My name is Kahari Orlando Woolcock and I’m from the Orange Hill district of Jamaica, outside Negril.

What was growing up like for you and did you have family meals growing up?

I grew up in a farm community called Orange Hill district. We were fortunate to have a farm on the property with lots of fruit trees including ackee, mango, soursop, and guava, as well as ground provisions such as sweet potato, cassava, squash, and pumpkin. I was very close with my grandmother, Florence, who was the chef in my family. She loved to cook and would prepare meals nearly everyday. On Sundays, we’d eat quintessential rice & peas with brown stewed chicken, brown stew fish or my favorite fry chicken and my grandmother would make a sweet potato pudding. At Miss Lily’s, I now serve “Miss Homey” Sweet Potato Pie to bring New Yorkers a taste of my grandmother’s special pudding.

No items found.

Tell us a bit about your venture. What is your role and how did you get into this industry?

I’m the chef de cuisine at Miss Lily’s. I’ve been cooking from a very young age and learned from cooking with my grandmother. I began cooking on my own more and would ask the local cooks for their recipes and they always shared them without hesitation. I didn’t see myself becoming a chef until someone close to me pointed out that my eyes light up when I cook and suggested I pursue it as a career, bringing me to where I am today.

How has the pandemic affected you?

I was affected by the pandemic in many ways and returned to Jamaica for a while before coming back to NYC to join the Miss Lily’s team as chef de cuisine.

What do you think working in this industry during this time has taught you?

Working in this industry during this time has made me appreciate the importance of thinking outside of the box and staying creative. Personally, it has definitely taught me to live life to the fullest and appreciate family ties more.

No items found.

What's your favorite dish and drink on the menu?

My favorite dish on the Miss Lily’s menu is the jerk salmon, best enjoyed with the dutty wine.

What is your favorite place to go out and eat at and what are you ordering?

I always enjoy going out to rooftops in the city and my favorite food to order is sushi.

Anything exciting coming up for you?

As the seasons change, I'm excited to bring new dishes to Miss Lily's with fresh seasonal ingredients.

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.