Made in Vancouver: Meet the "auntie" behind the city's favourite Jamaican Patties

Apr 23 2021, 12:19 pm

 

Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.


Located on East Georgia Street, Elbo Jamaican Patties are for the people.

Everything made at their commissary kitchen in East Van, from their handcrafted patties, to in-house made chutneys and sauces, to their delicious coco bread, are for the people of Vancouver. No, Toronto isn’t the only place to grab some of Canada’s best Jamaican cuisine.

Vancity has been supporting businesses in our communities since 1946, like food creators. As part of our Made in Vancouver series showcasing creators and artists, Christopher Boreland — the owner of Elbo Jamaican Patties and self-described “Your Fav Auntie” — spoke to Daily Hive about the inspiration behind Elbo and the story he aims to tell with food.

 

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A post shared by Your Fav Auntie (@elbo_patties)

“One morning I woke up, started playing in the kitchen and then made some patties for lunch,” said Boreland.

“My husband loved them and that is when the lightbulb went off in my head,” he added.

There was clearly a love for creating these dishes, but for Boreland, there is more story to tell than what is on the menu.

 “Also wanting to highlight the lives of not just myself, being a queer black chef, but also others that identify as I do,” Boreland told Daily Hive.

He wants to reach people.

“For them to get a better understanding of not only Caribbean food, but the queer community as well, and the people that create it, live it, and experience it everyday.”

 

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A post shared by Your Fav Auntie (@elbo_patties)

While having an important story to share is a beautiful and rare thing to find — and being an incredible chef of Caribbean food certainly helps — it takes an enormous amount of inspiration and drive to commit to opening your own business. Boreland attributes his spirit to his parents.

Seeing them overcome obstacles and celebrate their wins was always moments I recall growing up,” said Boreland. “Remembering the amount of work and love I’ve seen both my parents displayed is truly inspiring,” he added.

For anyone hoping to one day open their own business, and feel inspired by Boreland, he has well earned advice.

“Take your time, practice your craft and remember your journey is yours alone. Most importantly ask for help and remember you won’t know everything and that’s ok,” he said.

All of Boreland’s hard work seems to be paying off, and if his engaging and fun Instagram presence is an indication of anything, it’s that there will be no slowing down.

I will expand into seasonal snacks, focusing on Caribbean treats that I grew up loving,” Boreland tells us. “Like drops (coconut and brown sugar treats ), pink on top, gozda tarts, and black cake,” he adds.

Boreland’s enthusiastic voice is an uplifting one in a difficult time. The global pandemic has hit the food industry as hard as any, but Boreland looks ahead — eager to get back to the things he loves most about Elbo Jamaican Patties.

 

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A post shared by Your Fav Auntie (@elbo_patties)

“Before COVID I strived to connect through pop ups — what I would call ‘Pass the Dutchie dinner series’ — it was magical! Food, family, dancing, and storytelling. We can’t wait to do it again,” said Boreland.

Food lovers of Vancouver can’t wait to get back either — for the food and the experience. It’s that sense of family Boreland has curated in every customer encounter that makes tough times seem a little easier.

We lead with love, love for community, food, and creating change, allowing voices to be heard in places you wouldn’t normally hear them,” said Boreland.

That’s exactly why a visit to Elbo Jamaican Patties can have such an impact. Supporting small and local business is more important than ever right now, and Boreland is exactly that — and so much more.

 

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A post shared by Your Fav Auntie (@elbo_patties)

“When you purchase Elbo patties products you’re directly impacting a positive change to highlight queer Caribbean voices. Your support is helping curate a table to sit where there wasn’t much space before for black queer voices in the food industry.”

There aren’t many places to get authentically made Jamaican food in Vancouver. There aren’t many stories like Borland’s either. That’s exactly the reason we appreciate his perspective right now — and his Jerk chicken.

Hogan ShortHogan Short

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