Nigel Jones is chef and co-owner of Kaya SF, a Jamaican restaurant in partnership with Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group, located in the heart of San Francisco's dynamic downtown. For him, food is all about community and diversity -- one reason Chef Jones and Kaya are partnering with Wu Yee Children’s Services for its Wine & Dine Benefit.
The Wine & Dine Benefit is Wu Yee’s premier fundraising event and happens on October 17, 2018, at Bluxome Street Winery in San Francisco’s SOMA district. Doors open for a VIP wine tasting at 6:00 pm, general admission is at 6:30 pm. The event features a vibrant live auction along with entertaining games and prizes.
“I want to lift up my community and other people of color,” said Chef Jones. His lively menu and colorful drinks attract people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds to come together in his Market Street restaurant, “one of the most recognizable streets of San Francisco,” he said. Jones revels in seeing Kaya’s customer base as being inclusive of the African-American, Asian, and Latino cultures.
Additionally, he fosters opportunities for people of color to work in the restaurant industry at all levels of employment. “I am making sure our business practices reflect what we want to see in our community. Diversity exists from the people working in our restaurant to the people enjoying its food, drinks, and atmosphere.”
“When people talk about food being spicy, they mean ‘hot’, but in Jamaica spicy means ‘flavorful.’ We use a lot of herbs and spices, and we season our meats, desserts and drinks. Everything is on the flavorful side.” Chef Jones will showcase Kaya’s Jamaican cuisine with dishes such as jerk chicken and oxtail, along with plates that spotlight the influences from different cultures, like Mapo tofu and Singaporean crab.
As a father of two, Chef Jones recognizes the importance of quality early care and education for working parents. When he returns from a long day at work, he is comforted to know that his child was cared for in a safe and nurturing environment.. the experiences the child has “whether it's love, attention, nurturing or [obstacles]” set the stage for who they will be as an adult.
When he thinks of the way his two year old daughter looks at the world, he is inspired to approach his work with the wonder and natural curiosity that children possess. He asks of himself and his staff, “How do we maintain that freshness and desire to learn about everything? The menu, our customers, our community. I think that young children can teach us how to stay curious.”
“Both the parent and the child are in a better place because of the services that Wu Yee provide. It's a great thing,” he said. Chef Jones and Kaya are excited to be part of the Wine & Dine Benefit in partnership with Wu Yee. “I know that people are going to come and want to support the amazing work Wu Yee is doing for San Francisco’s children and families.”
About Wu Yee
Wu Yee Children’s Services connects diverse families throughout San Francisco to high-quality early care and education programs that meet their unique and individual needs. The phrase "wu yee" means "protector of children" in Cantonese, and children are at the heart of everything we do. Our mission is to create opportunities for children to be healthy, for families to thrive and for communities to be strong.
Support Wu Yee’s programs by attending the Wine & Dine Benefit. Tickets to the are on sale now at https://www.wuyee.org/wine-and-dine