Brockton: Mirbentz Jean Francois of Did You Eat Yet makes Haitian … – Enterprise News

BROCKTON — An essential seasoning that can be found in just about any Haitian household is the buzzing new business venture for one Brockton man.
Epis made in Mirbentz Jean Francois and his mother’s kitchen became a favorite amongst friends at church and family members in the Brockton area.
Traditionally epis is made from a wide range of vegetables, including pepper, garlic, onion, shallot, green onions, leeks, thyme, parsley, plus salt and a flavor cube.
Everyone makes their epis a little differently, and the color may range from orange to yellow to green depending on the region the person is from and also the vegetables they choose.
It’s something you can be creative with for your own unique flavor pallet.
Epis is used in almost every authentic Haitian dish. The liquid seasoning sauce is a base to add flavor to soups, rice, and meat dishes.
“Try it. It will spice up your life,” Jean Francois said.
The natural plant-based seasoning is easy to use by adding two tablespoons to each pound of meat, along with your herbs of choice, and let marinate overnight for best results, or a minimum of 30 minutes.
Jean Francois started his business, Did You Eat LLC, after many compliments from his community, but there was a downside.
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While selling the green seasoning to people at church and in the neighborhood, customers tried to bargain over the price.
Jean Francois felt it was unfair and wanted to sell his product without people trying to talk the price down, especially when his mother was selling it to her friends.
People in the Haitian community know how to make epis from scratch, so selling it to them was difficult simply because they have the knowledge already, Jean Francois said.
But the entrepreneur was marketing the convenience of having ready-made epis without the downtime of peeling garlic, washing vegetables, chopping them up, and blending them.
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“Although making epis is easy, it could be time-consuming. A lot of my customers love the convenience my product provides. You know some people are working all day, and when they come home, they want a quick meal. The epis saves them at least 30 minutes of prep time,” Jean Francois said.
The epis can be found at www.didyoueatyet.shop or in store at any of nine locations of America’s Food Basket, across Massachusetts. The closest locations are in Brockton, Randolph and Hyde Park.
Not only does Jean Francois sell epis, but he also cooks on Instagram. His cooking page has over 18,000 followers and counting.
“I always had a passion for cooking, and my mom taught me how to cook when I was a little boy in Haiti. So cooking together as a family was something we always did. In Haiti, our cooking style uses natural herbs, fresh meat from our yard and fruits and vegetables we grew ourselves,” Jean Francois said.
As a kid, Jean Francois remembers the simple days of lounging around a river near his home, cooking food on a wood fire grill, and living entirely off the earth.
“Cooking on the wood gives the food a flavor that’s indescribable,” Jean Francois said.
His family’s home had everything they needed to survive. The family had to go out and pick the fruits off the trees, pluck vegetables from the garden and process their meat from their livestock, Jean Francois said.
“I love sharing the Haitian culture, and I want more people to be acquainted with our rich culture. I wish I could show everyone In the world how top-tier Haitian food is. It’s the best food in the world that has not yet been discovered,” Jean Francois said.
So far, the business sells around 300 jars weekly, and Jean Francois hopes to expand to more retailers in the future.


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