After visiting Jamaica at 21 years old, Grace Apiafi was inspired to create just as rich and exciting culinary delights. It propelled her to fully invest in herself, to take the risk and buy a trailer. With 20 years of cooking experience, Grace’s food trailer journey began in 2020 when battling the start of the pandemic.
Gracefully Jerked was born with traditional Jamaican Jerk flavours of fresh meats, fruity and fresh flavours, homemade marinades, and zesty salsas. Their Slow-Cooked Jerk Pulled Pork has proven to be a favourite, but their most popular dish is the Spicy Mango Fried Chicken Nibbles. Marinated overnight in a Hot Jerk Marinade and coated in a special blend of herbs and spices, the fried chicken never fails to impress.
“Jamaican Cuisine is still relatively new in NZ, with only two Jamaican foot outlets here in Auckland. I love being able to introduce new flavours and vibes to the Auckland foodie scene,” explained Apiafi.
During the lockdown in 2021, Apiafi transformed her food trailer into a production kitchen – creating and selling traditional Jamaican patties. Gracefully Jerked became Auckland's first contactless Jamaican patty Delivery Service. Due to demand, Apiafi registered as a wholesaler and retailer in 2022, now selling her Jamaican Patties in frozen packs at Farmer's Markets across Auckland.
Last year, Apiafi’s creation was a winning dish on Auckland’s Iconic Eats List 2022.
Apiafi is no stranger to the staffing shortage across the country and continues to navigate her way through supply chain challenges and inflation. Yet, she plans to continue growing and developing her wholesale business to introduce more Jamaican Fusion Products to kiwis.
“I would love to see Gracefully Jerked Patties in boutique supermarkets and other cafes and restaurants across the country,” she added. “I love working on the New Zealand Festival Circuit – so a huge goal is to build a strong, passionate team to help me tackle all the challenges that running a successful food business brings and take Gracefully Jerked to the next level!”