Juline Mathe was ready to bring her dream of serving authentic Jamaican cuisine to life, but it was the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the limitations on in-person dining, she decided a food trailer was her best bet. While still working her full-time job as a flight attendant, Juline took the leap and launched her business, Renee’s Jerk Chicken, named for the middle name that she and her daughter Lauren both share.
A few months ago, Juline was having a hard time finding somewhere to park her food trailer consistently. Thanks to local restaurateur Ram Mehta, Renee’s Jerk Chicken is now located outside Plano’s La Meglio Pizza every Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until they sell out, usually around 4 p.m. Sometimes the trailer is parked elsewhere for private events, but fans can find the schedule and locations on the Facebook or Instagram pages.
Juline was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She comes from a family of great chefs. Her mother, Dorreth, owned one of the island’s top restaurants in the 1980s, and her brother, Mario, is famous for his Jamaican snapper recipe. Her brother, Nigel, was an executive chef in Martha’s Vineyard for more than 20 years, and now helps Juline in the kitchen. Her husband, Joel, is “an amazing smoke master who holds the team together,” she said.
“With the blessing of my husband, my mom and my brothers, I jumped in head-first. Food is a universal language,” shared Juline. “It has not been smooth sailing but with the overwhelming support that I have gotten, we plan to stick around for the long haul.”
In addition to serving its namesake dish – a flavorful smoked chicken common throughout the Caribbean – Renee’s Jerk Chicken also offers weekly rotating specials that include curry goat, oxtails or Rasta Pasta. Customers can purchase Jamaican patties and a variety of Jamaican sodas and juices.
Renee’s Jerk Chicken also provides catering for private events. On top of running her business, Juline has been a flight attendant for 19 years. She flies Monday through Thursday and operates the restaurant Fridays and Saturdays. 469-795-8303. https://reneesjerkchicken.com