In the 70’s this thing surfaced in Barbados. A place near the popular south coast cinema where you could, rather had to take your teenage date if you wanted to be thought civilised, “manly”, and a serious contender for her affections.
Or attentions. 😉
It was the entree to seduction, ousting the cinema from the position of main course, but also becoming the coffee before the cake. Well, that’s provided you were going to get any cake at all.
But a young teeny-bopper lad out for a bit of feely-feely with his newest young lass had to wait til Chefette to gage his real chances, and press home his position…ah, luck.
This could no longer be done in the cinema, regardless of where you sat. Whereas a contrived or deliberately obvious feely-feely moment in the cinema had been sufficient to assess how the evening might unfold, now there was Chefette. One touch, and her eyes, her body, her smile, would all be saying: We going to Chefette, right? If you didn’t have Chefette money factored in on top of the cinema tickets, you could just as well get up and leave. Unless you were actually interested in the film.
For those who could hardly afford the cinema, it must have been real tough to land their gal. Maybe that’s where the monthly rather than fortnightly cinema dates of a couple friends originated. Chefette became an ingrained part of the cinema experience.
The guys had to be seen with their gals there; it boded well for future potential conquests they were scoping out. It also was a type of credence or currency with other lads. And it made them feel good, some no doubt felt more of the man.
The gals had to be seen to be taken there; it meant they were a cut above the rest. It also meant they were potentially classy and mature, and confirmed their sense of independence.
Chefette my friend was the buffer, a new bar that had to conquered, before a guy could take your hand and lead you across the road to….
It was the place where your claim to total uncompromising unconditional respectability was cemented, and spotlighted.
Only then could that young man take your hand and lead you across the road, or to his car which he then drove across the road, to the shaded shadowy beach that we know as Accra. There, to the sultry salt air and wispy breezes, to the sound of ocean waves on a warm night, a young fella might finally get to go the whole hog, or thereabouts.
I must say of these young teenage men of my generation, it does not appear as though rape figured in their minds. Under today’s mores and probably back then, quite a few could have perhaps “gotten away” with it. I think the majority of them were somehow aware that this was part of the dating game, a piece of the puzzle in the coming of age scenario.
With the arrival of Chefette the game was taken to a different level. And so I believe were we.
Chefette allowed us time and space to reflect, to debate, to consider, to see each other in the light after the darkened cinema, to breathe, to check out our peers around us, to have a look at ourselves, and then importantly, to envision ourselves in their eyes. This type of clear open sight made for decision making that seemed spontaneous but was rooted in who we were.
Some people will do what they will do, whether it be going from cinema to beach or from cinema to Chefette to beach. Yet it is my belief that many a gal was saved, and many a young man too, by the simple addition of a Chefette.
Since those days Chefette has developed into a Barbadian Brand loved by visitors and locals. It has currently 15 outlets across the island which cater to children and young ones as well as the teenagers and adults and has voiced intentions of expanding into ice-cream manufacture and improved plant.
The corporate nature is backgrounded by its community welfare interests in sports, charities and education, and according to their website they use “zero trans fat soya oils” and are also into using compostable/biodegradable materials.
I of course visited their restaurants several times when I was home, and got to love the new food additions like at the Barbecue Barn and so on. My favourite though still remains the Roti (meat or vegetarian) followed by the Chicken (broasted) and Ice-cream. On Sundays I did the Buffet, heavy on the salads, with an ice-cream cone to go.
Chefette Restaurants is owned and run by a Barbadian family of whom we can be proud.
Fancy a pizza or burrito to spice up that date? 🤔
Chefette is an original place of romance for many of my generation, and is still the place to go. I spotted some of that old crew there on my visit home. They were romancing their spouses as I travelled down memory lane.
Some experiences are more than a feely-feely, some last a lifetime.