By Raywattie Deonarine
A trip to the Essequibo Coast is not complete without a drive to Lima, for what could be considered the country’s best duck curry, at Jagdesh’s Duck Curry Bar.
The duck curry there is so good that Guyanese from across the country would venture there just to have the meal. Whether it is with roti or dhal and rice, the star is and will always be the award-winning duck curry.
Jagdesh Duck Curry Bar is owned and operated by Jagdesh Bissessar and his wife Mohanie along with his four children.
For over two decades, Bissessar has been perfecting his method of currying duck and the awards he would have won at various competitions just show that he is indeed the best there is in Guyana.
Jagdesh’s duck curry has become a household name and it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is one of the tastiest duck curries that is on the Essequibo Coast and further afield. Even foreigners, when they visit Guyana, would request a trip to the Cinderella County to Jagdesh’s place to sample his delicious duck curry with dhal and rice.
Bissessar’s duck curry is made with just the right combination of spices and he said that the secret ingredient is his “magic fingers.”
The Sunday Times recently sat down with Bissessar where he shared his journey. He said that the business was started in 1995 when he operated a small grocery shop and bar. He reminisced that he was motivated by all the duck curry competitions he kept winning and as such decided to put his talent into a business by establishing his own restaurant.
From a simple grocery shop, Bissessar extended by adding an upper flat and more onto his bar. The curry master also mentioned that the business is a family one and his wife and kids manage it in his absence.
He is currently passing on the trade to his son who is slowly taking the reins.
“Everyone can cook and serve and I proudly handed the trade to my son who is very dedicated to serving persons,” he said.
When he first started out, Bissessar would cook 2 ducks daily but now it has grown so much that he prepares at least 22 ducks on a daily basis. That just goes to show how much his business has grown and the demand for his duck curry increased.
Persons visiting the Essequibo mostly stop off at the popular Jagdesh Duck Curry Bar for not only duck curry but other meals as well. Bissessar was asked if he has any special ingredients for his duck and mutton curries, he smiled and said that is a secret he will not tell but it’s all about the magic fingers God blessed him with.
Bissessar and his wife Mohanie have been participating in duck curry competitions for a long time. In 2008 they formed a crew and represented Essequibo at a national competition and gained the second position. Moreover, in 2009, they placed third and qualified to take part in another competition and cooked their way to first place in Berbice.
This made the crew more motivated. They defeated the Surinamese in a neighbourly competition. They would have also participated in competitions in Trinidad and even won there in 2010.
“I took part in all these competitions because of the passion I have for cooking and it’s the magic fingers that cook the pots. I’ve learned cooking at the age of 7 and as such, it became my speciality,” he said.
Over the past years, the magical chef won 12 trophies, 4 of which are for mutton curry and 9 for duck curry competitions. Jagdesh is now accommodating more persons and a lot of persons, especially from Georgetown, are often craving his curry.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not affect business for him since he became innovative and began adapting.