Known for Their No Compromise Patties, Yello Yard are Changing the Nottingham Caribbean Food Scene

Words: George White
Photos: Perm Ghattaura
Tuesday 04 October 2022
reading time: min, words

Specialising in ‘no compromise’ patties, Yello Yard are filling a gap in Nottingham’s food scene that has been around for far too long. Co-owner Jowayne Marks tells us how he and his partner, Mahalia Chambers, made it happen…


Tell us a bit about Yello Yard… 
Our priority is patties, which are a very popular Caribbean pastry. They’re essentially derived from the Cornish pasty, but they’ve evolved through the influence of the Caribbean diaspora. In terms of scale, in Jamaica they’re the equivalent of a burger in America - so they’re quite popular! 

Despite their popularity, though, it’s not always easy to find good options around here. We’re both from Nottingham, but we spent ten years down in London and found that there were more Caribbean bakeries and Jamaican patties on offer there. It’s not that you couldn’t get them here, but they’re definitely harder to come by. So we thought we’d try to fill that gap by providing high-quality patties ourselves. 

How has the response been since you set up to fill that gap?
It’s been really positive, and I think that’s largely because we focused on depth over breadth. So, instead of trying to offer everything at once - pastries, bread, cakes - we honed in on one product and became known for doing that really well. What people have said is that when they’re in the mood for a patty, they’ll think of us straight away. 

We do ‘no compromise’ patties. Sure, you can find one in Victoria Centre for £1.60 and it will fill you up, but for that price there will definitely be a compromise on the taste. It’s a bit like burgers; you can have a budget burger or a gourmet burger, and both fulfil different needs. When you’re in the mood for proper, top-notch patties, the type that are reminiscent of what you’ll find in Jamaica, we’re here - and lots of people have been very receptive to that. 

We want to dispel the myth that all Caribbean food is the same, and show that there are loads of options available

Why do you think there is a lack of Caribbean options in Nottingham right now?
I’m not sure there’s necessarily a lack of Caribbean options, it’s more that there’s a lack of diversity within those options. As you go around Nottingham, you’ll see a lot of Jamaican takeaways and jerk-specialised venues, but you won’t see as many fully-fledged restaurants, and you definitely won’t find a bakery. We want to try and dispel the myth that all Caribbean food is the same, and show that there are more options available. 

Within Yello Yard’s options are plenty of vegan patties - why is that a focus of yours?
It was mainly to defy the blueprint that’s been set out with regards to Caribbean food. When you go to traditional Jamaican places, there typically aren’t any vegan options, so we thought we’d flip that on its head. We also recognised that Nottingham is one of the most pro-vegan cities in the UK, so it just made sense to us. 

Our aim is to set up a Caribbean bakery in Nottingham, which is something we don’t have right now

You recently celebrated your first anniversary, and have spent that time largely focusing on deliveries - but will we be able to find you in a permanent spot in the future? 
We initially started with solely home deliveries but we’ve been working events and markets more recently, mainly Sneinton Market. Yet our aim is to set up a bricks-and-mortar Caribbean bakery in Nottingham, which as I’ve mentioned is something we don’t have right now. Funnily enough, we used to have one when we were younger, but it’s long since shut down - and there’s been a bit of a void ever since. We’re hoping to finally fill that void!

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