Diaspora

Sherlie's Kitchen brings the bold and savory cuisine of Haiti to Brockton – Enterprise News

BROCKTON — In Delmas, Ouest on the warm tropical island of Haiti, a young girl learns authentic recipes passed down from generations of African descendants. 
These traditional recipes are filled with flavors, from ground fresh spices to farm-raised meat, that will one day be the staple of Haitian cuisine in a country an ocean away. 
Sherlie’s Kitchen located at 263 Court St., Brockton, is run by Sherlie Cherduville, 35, a 2018 Cordon Bleu culinary school graduate who was born in Haiti and came to America when she was 12-years-old. 
The restaurant offers a mixture of classic Haitian and American cuisine. Popular Haitian dishes include fried pork (griot), turkey (kodenn), beef (tassot) and goat (cabrit), served with rice, beans, plantains and pikliz (a spicy pickled vegetable coleslaw). 
Cherduville said she developed her love of cooking as a child growing up in Delmas, a city near the capital of Port-au-Prince. 
“My passion for cooking started when I was younger and that’s why I went to culinary school. I have always enjoyed cooking. My mom taught me a lot before she passed,” Cherduville said. 
Her parents taught her how to cook at a young age along with her three siblings. Her father was very critical of her cooking and always pushed for improvement. 
Cooking in Haiti consists of walking to a local market or harvesting fresh produce from your backyard. 
Cherduville recalls taking family trips through the busy city and buying the ingredients for dinner. 
Cooking Haitian food is a process that has many steps and requires a lot of time and patience according to Cherduville.
The meats are carefully washed in a hot bath of water, lemons, sour oranges, and vinegar. 
The next step is to marinate the meats in epis, a wet seasoning consisting of garlic, bell pepper, scallion, Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce, onion, parsley, cilantro, thyme, ground cloves and chicken bouillon cubes all blended together to create a green paste.
The meat is then marinated overnight but the longer the better for deep internal flavor. At the restaurant the cooks follow the same traditional steps they were taught as little girls in Haiti, Cherduville said. 
As children, Cherduville and her younger sisters took care of the cleaning and cooking with the supervision of their parents, she said. 
“My dad would criticize me often for my cooking. He would let me know if there was too much salt or not enough water. I kept practicing and taught myself different techniques,” Cherduville said. 
“Over time I got better. Now I’m still teaching myself things and my cooks teach me things as well. We all grew up in different parts of Haiti.”
Having a Haitian restaurant in Brockton means the world to Cherduville because there is a large Haitian community but there are not many restaurants that reflect the people.
She felt it was important to open in Brockton even though there are already some popular Haitian restaurants that have been in business for many years. 
She says there is a lane for everyone to grow and she did not let that discourage her. 
Sherlie’s Kitchen opened in July 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, after her first restaurant, Rose Café, failed due to internal issues in 2018. 
More than 23% of restaurants in Massachusetts have permanently shut down since reopening in June. 
Massachusetts Restaurant Association President and CEO Bob Luz, said “Out of 16,000 restaurants in Massachusetts 3,400 of them never reopened after the shutdown.”
Cherduville knew there was a major risk opening during this troubling time for businesses especially restaurants. 
Brockton is her second home, where she’s been living since she migrated from Haiti. She felt compelled to start and run a business here.
As a single mother of two, it was a challenge launching a new restaurant but Cherduville received a lot of support from the community and her family. The business now is doing very well and is hoping to expand in the near future, she said.
“Every day I wake up and think of ways to make the business better. My main concern is the quality of the food I serve, customer service and timing,” said Cherduville
“When you are a single mother working long hours it’s hard but I’m doing everything for my children. I want them to have a good life and a better future.”

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