Notting Hill Carnival: meet the experts
Make the most of Notting Hill Carnival with tips from five regular Carnival-goers
London’s biggest annual street festival, which attracts nearly one million people every year, can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look. We spoke to five experts to find out their Carnival memories and tips for this year.
Bernard ‘The Roti King’ Jackson
‘I’ve had my stall at Carnival for 23 years. When I first came to the country, I went to Carnival and saw a lack of Trinidadian food and that gave me the idea to start a mobile van in Walthamstow. From there I opened a shop, The Roti Stop, in Stamford Hill and then established a second in Walthamstow. It all goes back to my upbringing – coming from a humble background and learning how to be self-sufficient. ‘Carnival comes from Trinidad and roti is one of our main dishes. You tend to always get the rice and the jerk chicken, but sometimes people want something else. And Trinidad people, they love their roti. A good one is made on the spot so you know it’s fresh, and my roti is boneless so people don’t get tangled up with the bones. ‘We’ve had quite a few celebrities pass through. I’ve met Freddie Flintoff, what’s-his-name from “EastEnders”, a lot of the cricketers, like Brian Lara, Dwayne Bravo, and Patrick Vieira, he tasted the food too. ‘Carnival is cosmopolitan, with lots of different people playing lots of different styles, but I would really like everyone to enjoy more soca or calypso. Calypso was the original, like reggae, but then it moved on to soca, which is faster and more upbeat.’
Interviews by Chris Parkin, Alexi Duggins and Oliver Keens.