CHEYENNE, Wyo. — When it comes to making authentic Jamaican dishes, Paul Miller, the owner of the Cheyenne-based food truck Jamaica One Stop Kitchen, offers one piece of advice: Cook the food with all your heart.
In Jamaica, dishes are prepared with love, care and pride, said Miller, who was born and raised on the Caribbean island. It’s something Miller never forgets, even when he is 2,455 miles away and preparing meals out of the small truck for a living.
“[Running a food truck] is a business, but if you just do it for the business, you’re not going to put that love into that food,” he said. “When you’re doing it from the heart, it’s way better.”
Every week, Miller and his crew park the truck in various locations throughout the city and serve traditional Jamaican dishes to community members. People can track the truck’s whereabouts by visiting the Jamaica One Stop Kitchen Facebook page.
Out of all the dishes offered on the menu, Miller encourages first-timers to order jerk chicken, which is chicken marinated in Jamaican spices and slow cooked on a grill. Those who are more adventurous should try one of his favorites: ackee and salted fish. The national fruit of Jamaica, ackee is pale in color and tastes like egg when cooked, Miller said. It pairs nicely with the salted cod fish, which is boiled, deboned and then mixed with onion and sweet pepper. As a side dish, Miller recommends “festival,” a dense sweet fried dough, or fried plantains.
“It’s fresh food, cooked in the morning, not overnight,” he said. “I would say [to other food trucks], if you’re not coming in fresh, starting from scratch, then you’re not going to beat me.”
Miller’s culinary journey started when he was a young boy growing up in a Westmoreland foster home. A female caretaker would teach all the boys living there how to cook.
“In Jamaica, they tend to say that boys don’t know how to cook,” Miller said. “That ladies make sure all of the boys can actually help in the kitchen.”
By preparing meals and showing the younger boys how to do kitchen work, Miller learned the importance of hard work. He would eventually use that skill to get a job in the HVAC sector.
In 2018, Miller moved from Jamaica to Evanston, Wyoming, and commuted to his HVAC job in Laramie. His company moved him to Cheyenne in 2021. When the job “didn’t work out,” Miller said, he decided to try his luck in the food industry. Noticing a lack of Jamaican food in the city and wanting to share his favorite dishes with others, Miller launched Jamaica One Stop Kitchen in September 2022.
“There’s not a lot of Jamaican food in Cheyenne,” he said. “If I did Jamaican food, it would be a different set of tastebuds.”
While Miller expected to endure long days and hours of hard work, he didn’t expect the feedback from the community to be so supportive.
“I’ve got customers who are generous, who call and say, ‘Hey, man, I’m coming,'” he said. “They just come and say, ‘Hook me up.'”
One of his favorite customers, a man named Eddie, often comes with his wife and kids and eats anything Miller serves him.
“Sometimes he just came with a big foil and say, ‘Put anything inside of it,'” he said.
Miller said their generosity and enthusiasm for the food at Jamaica One Stop Kitchen means a lot to him.
“It’s nice to come from a different country, come to America, and people really love your Caribbean food,” he said.
For more information on Jamaica One Stop Kitchen, visit the business’s Facebook page or call (307) 677-5862.