From the Caribbean to Colorado
Renel and Enon (Ron) Straker hail from the West Indies’ Caribbean island of Grenada but call Colorado home today. The couple met while they were both employed with the Sandals resort in their home country: she, a butler helping couples fulfill romantic vacations, and he, a chef. Ron changed jobs, going to the Hilton Hotels & Resorts, which eventually transplanted the family to Denver. They settled in Englewood and they married. And then the pandemic.
Ron left the Hilton and the couple decided to join talents and went to Fooda, a mobile app-based service that partners with Denver caterers and restaurants to bring a variety of dining options to employees at their place of work.
The Strakers realized this wasn’t quite what they wanted. With Ron’s chef training, to include Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican and of course Caribbean, and Renel, also a seasoned bartender, they wanted to start their own catering business, and did so while also moving to the Marquis Castle Pines apartments in February.
“Cooking is what we know,” she said. “We wanted a personal relationship with clients that we didn’t have at Fooda.”
The Straker’s Kitchen is their company and their specialties are Caribbean fare, but they do just about anything a party or event requires. They create and cook in a shared kitchen space at Denver Commissary.
Word of mouth and Nextdoor have helped increase business this year. Renel added that they have enjoyed much success at farmers markets and sell out of their food every time. The next step she hopes is a food truck.
“Everyone at the farmers markets ask if we have a food truck,” explained Renel. “We realized having a little tent is not substantial; we need to take another step.”
The couple is liking and adjusting to America but miss some things from Grenada. The country has a carnival in August and its independence day is in February: people gather, dress in the national colors and cook traditional dishes.
“What I miss most about home is community,” said Renel. “No one at home would be hungry – it doesn’t matter how broke and poor you are, you can knock on a door and get food because there’s always a pot on the fire even if the pot is on the ground.” She added that she also misses the white sandy beaches.
The Strakers have two daughters, Reniyah (11), who started at Rocky Heights Middle School in August, and Reighnah (2).
With cooking, catering and family, the couple does not have time for much else except tending to their goldfish and a lobster called Larry. They took a rare, three-day escape to Steamboat Springs in August, but now it is back to work.
“With catering, you are always prepping, making grocery lists; there is always something to do,” said Renel. “I don’t have a bookkeeper so I have to do the paperwork, taxes and website updates myself.”
Renel concluded by saying that they are still new to the neighborhood and would like to meet more families.
“We are very friendly people and open to new friendships.”
For more information on The Straker’s Kitchen, visit www.thetsks.com.
By Hollen Wheeler; photos courtesy of Renel Straker