'Tantie Lorraine', a taste of Trinidad and Tobago in the UK

Tantie Lorraine’s Homemade Lime Pepper Relish made by Beverly Lorraine Frederick. Photo courtesy Beverly Lorraine Frederick
Tantie Lorraine’s Homemade Lime Pepper Relish made by Beverly Lorraine Frederick. Photo courtesy Beverly Lorraine Frederick

Trinidad and Tobago-born Beverly Lorraine Frederick may have lived in the UK for most of her life, but her taste for TT cuisine remains unwavering. In fact, it was her craving for a chilli jam that she was unable to access in the UK that sparked the idea for her small-scale preserves business, and the launch of Tantie Lorraine’s Homemade.

“A trip home to Trinidad,” Frederick told WMN in an email interview, was the spark that lit the idea of Tantie Lorraine’s.

“We bought some pepper jelly from the supermarket (in TT) as part of our ‘stocks’ to bring to the UK. When it was finished, we tried getting someone to help us replenish, but we had no luck. I decided I must be able to make this myself, and I did. It was sold out at a local farmers market and the rest, as they say is history.”

Frederick makes pepper sauces, chilli jams, relishes, green seasoning, and Christmas treats such as pastelles, black cake, sweetbread, coconut drops and ponche a creme – “all based on my Trinidadian heritage.”

She said when she was deciding on a name for her venture, she wanted to separate personal self from the business.

Beverly Lorraine Frederick has been making sauces for about ten years at her home in Surrey, England. PHOTO COURTESY @remiaphotography 

“Lorraine seemed the best option. It also chimed with the dame Lorraine character – comfy homely and motherly. I figured I would be a modern take on that image. Skinny with dreads,” she said.

“I’m also an aunt so ‘Tantie’ worked. When Caribbean people hear the name Tantie Lorraine, it conjures up a sense of familiarity, nostalgia and home. The interesting thing is that the name conjures up the same feelings in non-Caribbean people. I’ve had reactions to the name from Dutch, Norwegian, French and Afrikaans. I guess the ‘auntie’ is universal.”

The full-time HR manager for a French multinational construction and engineering firm said she has been making sauces for approximately ten years and the culinary magic happens in her Surrey kitchen on evenings and weekends.

“There were times when I worked from home during the pandemic, but I’m now back in the office.”

She sources her ingredients from local street markets and wholesalers. “You can get quite a lot in the UK from the Chinese/Asian supermarkets and wholesalers. I also buy my peppers from growers in the UK.”

Tantie Lorraine’s jams made by Beverly Lorraine Frederick.PHOTO COURTESY @remiaphotography

And while the covid19 pandemic has not had much of a negative impact on her business so far, she said there was a shortage of cardboard boxes in the early stages of the pandemic due to the increase of home deliveries, but she was able to work around that. Frederick said she is expecting increases in operating costs in the new year and is planning for it.

“A combination of Brexit (the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union) and the pandemic have the potential to affect cost of bottles and jars in 2022. I also made the decision not to deliver outside of the UK for now, due to the restrictions on export of food items due to Brexit.”

Frederick was born in Sangre Grande and spent some time in Mayaro, but she said her life was not always restricted to rural TT.

“I also lived, partied, and limed in town – Diego Martin, St James and Cascade.”

Tantie Lorraine’s Homemade Pepper Sauce made by Beverly Lorraine Frederick PHOTO courtesy @remiaphotography 

A widow and mother of three – two sons and a daughter – she left TT when she was around nine to live in south London. She returned to TT at 19 and left again for the UK when she was 29.

The former model told WMN she worked at Banyan Productions for many years as a production assistant/co-ordinator, and while there produced and fronted a pilot magazine-style show on the Trinidad fashion industry.

“It didn’t sell, but I still think it’s a viable programme idea. I have lots of ideas for programmes that could work for TT and the wider Caribbean and be sold around the world. But that is a whole other conversation.”

For now, she said, her immediate focus is on her business and family.

“Business wise, in the short term, I’m in the process of re-branding and consolidating the direction of the business. There are no major long-term plans at the moment. We will see how it grows over the next few years.”

Plans for her personal life involves working less and spending more time with her family, and especially passing on her wealth of culinary knowledge to her two granddaughters.

“They’re busy young ladies with social lives, so I hang out with them when they let me. I’m currently sharing recipes with them.”

Eventually, she said, she may grow back her dreadlocks and possibly move back to Trinidad or somewhere else in the Caribbean and run the business from there.


"‘Tantie Lorraine’, a taste of Trinidad and Tobago in the UK"

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