We had the good fortune of connecting with Roger Squires and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Roger, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
For me, I watched my mentor and grand father support a family of 8 from cooking for others. The drive and determination to prepare meals for others gave me the motivation I needed to give myself a shot. My grandfather gave me my first cook book and I watched him chop, cook, pick and bake delicious desserts and food. After many years of self taught baking and learning to fuse flavors I created C’C’s Puffs which later evolved into Fuzion Cheesecakes. From, 2018 I began testing foods on friends and family out of fun. I had so many people rave about my desserts and meals and with much push, I launched Caribbean Soul Kitchen LA. This company was inspired by my Panamanian and Jamaican roots. We offer meals in a bowl, to give your taste buds an island feeling. We feature Oxtails, Jerk Chicken, Jerk Cauliflower and Jerk Shrimp, Cuban inspire Yuca Mojo, along with a variety of patties including curry chicken, garlic spinach and beef. This process has been such an experience and has given me a sense of channeling my grand father. I aim to make him proud with all of the food I prepare, cook and serve to others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I like to think of my food being a tantalizing croissant, fresh out of the oven, flaky out the outside and soft within – something others think of and instantly need. Many who have tried my desserts, fell in love with our version of avocado cheesecake we call it “Calivado”. I like to think of my dishes as art, I fuze flavors, spices and create works of art. I am most proud of my beef Oxtails. Each event we’ve done we have sold out every time and we have received so much love for the flavor, tenderness and the overall experience of our meat. Professionally it was a rough beginning. I worked for Petco for many years and am dedicated to everything I agree to do, so working full time for Petco and considering my talents and cooking abilities full time was difficult. Like many entrepreneurs, its gamble to bet on yourself. Most people are very comfortable with minimum and not stepping out on Faith on themselves. I struggled to decide but ultimately chose Caribbean Soul Kitchen. What I’ve learned is choosing to do what brings happiness and peace of mind is more rewarding than a paycheck consistently, with stress and strain. What I’d want the world to know about me and Caribbean Soul Kitchen LA. If you ever decide to eat with us you will taste who I am and why I cook. I have poured my love of food and flavors into every dish we create, every drink served.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d take them wine tasting at Paso Robles in Northern California. We’d hangout at Nobu for sushi and go bowling at Lucky Strike in Hollywood. We would visit Hertz Castle in San Simeon, Ca and Santa Monica Pier. I believe a good breakfast spot is the Griddle in West Hollywood so we would go there and visit. To cap off the week we would drive to San Diego and visit little Italy. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I cant think of anyone else aside from my Legend, Alfred Barnett! My grand father accomplished so many things, including owning a business when historically in Panama for a man of color would be impossible. His courage to wake up daily, prepare for large parties, plan a menu and dedicate time to cook, bake and set up a table fit for a king continues to ring loudly in my memories. His contribution in my life was so great and though he’s not physically present I know his spirit guides me every step of the way.
Black & White of Roger Squires (RJ the Chef) credit – Photography by Bobby Miles