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ST CROIX — When you are born with a gift, there’s nothing you can do to escape it! That can be said of the man behind the delicious Caribbean fusion cuisine found at Chef Ozzie’s Kitchen. Oswald “Ozzie” James was born and raised on St. Croix to Trinidadian parents. The nickname “Ozzie” bestowed upon him as a child stuck with him through adulthood. Always willing to help in the kitchen, Ozzie’s parents realized his passion for food and fed that passion throughout his childhood.

His journey to Chef Ozzie’s Kitchen started in 2009 when he participated in Diageo’s Life Skills program, where he was able to sharpen his talent as a chef. Upon completion of the program, Chef Ozzie went on to work at various well-known resorts and restaurants on St. Croix. After winning in multiple categories with a former employer at Taste of St. Croix, one of the USVI’s premier food and wine events, he decided to strike out on his own. “Many people believed in me and encouraged me to start my own business,” said Chef Ozzie. “I decided if they had that much be-lief in me, I needed to have it with-in myself.” He created a commercial kitchen at his home, offering catering services and organizing lunch sales to the public and private sector. In early 2019, an opportunity became available, thanks to a family friend. Andrea, a daughter of the Thomas family, learned that he was looking for a space to settle into — the rest was history. Chef Ozzie’s Kitchen officially opened inside the infamous Thomas Bakery location in Castle Coakley, where customers are promised “food made with love,” accord-ing to Chef Ozzie. Here you’ll find a fusion of Caribbean cuisine with an Asian flair. Some of their dishes include sweet chili salmon, veggie and chicken teriyaki stir fry, fettuccine alfredo, and stew chicken. Their trop-ical salmon salad features a medley of fruits on a bed of green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers. “Our customers love the stew oxtail and salmon chowder — they are some of my best sellers.” All entrees are served with the “Crucian trimmings” such as season rice, potato stuffing, baked mac n’ cheese, and plantain (when available). Pair your meal with one of their refreshing drinks like lime punch, tamarind juice, or passion fruit juice. Chef Ozzie’s Kitchen is open Monday to Friday, serving breakfast from 6:30am to 10:30am and lunch from 11:15am to 4pm. They offer catering for all events, big or small. Visit their Facebook page to see their daily specials, or call 340.422.6382.

Written by Anquanette Gaspard