Bringing the taste of Jamaica to Bury

Market trader Thomas Benjamin on his cake stall at Bury market.
Market trader Thomas Benjamin on his cake stall at Bury market.
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CARIBBEAN food stall owner Thomas Benjamin has been selling his mouth-watering array of cakes and treats in Bury St Edmunds for more than 10 years.

Thomas, who lives in Thetford, once made a living working for Thermos – making flasks and hot and cold food containers.

But one day he woke up and decided he didn’t want to work for someone else and realised his Caribbean roots could help him to live the dream of setting up his own business.

Thomas runs T&S Foods with his wife, waking up at a ‘ridiculous’ hour to hand-bake every delicious savoury wrap, spiced cake and oaty biscuit themselves.

Thomas said he wanted to open a stall that would give people the chance to try something they had never tasted before.

“I had worked for a company, Thermos, but I just decided one day that I wanted to work for myself,” he said.

“I handed in my notice for my job straight away and that was that.

“We have been running this stall for about 10 years now.

“I run it with my wife from our home in Thetford.

“The food we sell is all stuff I have grown up on – all foods inspired by the Caribbean.

“We sell all sorts of cakes and puddings – banana cake, ginger cake, really nice puddings with ginger and rum. We have also started doing a lot of wheat-free stuff made totally with oats - they are really healthy, too.

“We also sell some savoury wraps and Jamaican bakes

“I wanted to give the people here something different, something people cannot get in the shops.

“I have to get up very early, ridiculously early, to bake all the cakes.

“We made up all the recipes ourselves, inspired by our Jamaican influences.

“We bake all through the morning, load it all up and sell it.

“People should come and try it – if they don’t try it, they will never know how good it is.

“I think people are looking for something new and different when they visit the market, something unique.”

Hard-working Thomas opens his stall in Bury St Edmunds every Wednesday, opens a stall in Cambridge from Saturday to Monday and another in Saffron Walden on Tuesdays.

He has recently added a selection of wheat-free and egg-free vegan cakes and treats to his already wide range of goods on sale.

And although many market traders across the country have been hit hard due to the economic slump, Thomas says that you just have to get on with it and work through it.

He said: “The recession is a man- made thing.

“Every business has been hit hard by it but you have just got to do what you have got to do.

“It doesn’t stop us getting on with our work and selling our cakes.

“You just have to overlook it and keep the business functioning.

“We are always looking to the future – but this is a family run business and always will be.”