‘It’s a struggle to survive,’ says Brixton’s Jeff the Chef one year after council’s BBQ ban

For ten years, locals flocked to Brixton market for a taste of one local chef’s famous jerk chicken, grilled fresh to order, writes Hannah Skellern.

But last summer, Jeffery ‘Jeff the Chef’ Cooper’s booming business took a blow when council officers barred the popular cook from grilling his Jamaican cuisine at Brixton market.

Now, just over one year later, his stall could be forced out of the market if trade doesn’t pick up.

Jeff the Chef next to his Brixton Market stall

Jeff the Chef next to his Brixton Market stall

Jeff says the barbecue ban last June has cost him 60 per cent of his business, leaving the single dad struggling to support his five children.

The ban came into force after a series of complaints from nearby traders, according to the council.

 “It’s a struggle to survive,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay open.

“Jerk chicken was my biggest seller and people are disappointed when they see it’s changed.

“I cook it at home and bring it to the stall but that’s not what people want – they want to see it, smell it. The barbecue was part of Brixton.”

To support Jeff’s petition to bring barbecuing back to Brixton, sign up online at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-bbq-no-business