My name is Kahari Orlando Woolcock and I’m from the Orange Hill district of Jamaica, outside Negril.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My favorite dish on the Miss Lily’s menu is the jerk salmon, best enjoyed with the dutty wine.
I always enjoy going out to rooftops in the city and my favorite food to order is sushi.
As the seasons change, I'm excited to bring new dishes to Miss Lily's with fresh seasonal ingredients.