Amsterdam’s Queen of Caribbean Johnnycakes

Here is a post by Peter Jordens.

Yvette Dorsiel is a Curaçaoan with Trinidadian roots who has taken the Caribbean Johnnycake (a.k.a. Fry Bake) to The Netherlands. In the following video (with English subtitles), she tells her story of setbacks, perseverance and success to food channel Munchies (by VICE).

In “Yvette Dorsiel opent weer een Caribisch restaurant, ‘Opgeven is geen optie’ [Yvette Dorsiel opens a new Caribbean restaurant, ‘Giving up is not an option’]”, Joan de Windt reports for NTR Caribisch Netwerk that World of Food, the food court where Yvette’s Kitchen is located, is closing and will be demolished. But Yvette Dorsiel has already opened a new place elsewhere in Amsterdam, because “giving up is not an option”.

Here are excerpts, translated from the Dutch by Peter Jordens.

Yvette Dorsiel is well-known in Southeast Amsterdam. Despite many setbacks, the entrepreneur and caterer has been able to get back up on her feet time and again. […]

She remembers it well: one day she had to say goodbye to Curaçao. Yvette Dorsiel was 32 years old and boarded a plane to The Netherlands with her four sons. […] She is the daughter of a Curaçaoan mother and a father from Trinidad. What is her main characteristic? She says that she takes every opportunity to learn something new. […]

Between 2002 and 2008, she had three businesses under one roof in Rotterdam: a travel agency, a spirituality store, and a hairdresser. [… But one day] all her five hairdressers resigned on the same day. Two months later, [… they] opened their own hair salon, right next to Dorsiel’s. All her former customers switched to the new salon. Dorsiel could not do anything about it. There was nothing in the hairdressers’ contract that prevented them from doing this.

Dorsiel still had bills to pay and fell into debt. “I started doing cleaning jobs,” she says. “I had to, because I had a new-born daughter. I grabbed any job within reach.” A year later she was forced to sell her house and she applied for debt restructuring, which helped. But it took three years for Dorsiel to be able to start anew, with a clean sheet. It was a trying and unpleasant period for her in Amsterdam, but giving up was not an option. In fact, because of the tough time she went through, Dorsiel wanted to help other people. “I started the Los Latinos foundation in 2012 to guide people towards the various social-assistance agencies, because by then I knew the ropes.”

A few years later she heard about a large food market that was being built in an old parking garage in Amsterdam. World of Food was going to house different world cuisines. “I went to an information session and signed up. It was hard work. Later I added a second unit. I had a Caribbean cuisine called Yvette’s Kitchen and a Dominican place called La Paisa Dominicana.” […] But now World of Food is closing. Her two restaurants must close too, because the building has become too old and will be demolished. A new food market in the same spot will not open until 2027.

Is she sad? No. “Because on March 1, I opened Cocina di Mama in the Amsterdamse Poort [shopping mall]! […] Dorsiel also has a food truck in Kraaiennest (Yvette’s Kitchen on wheels) and a restaurant in the city of Groningen (Yvette’s Kitchen and Catering Groonchi). She wants to get rid of the latter because of its long distance from her home base in Amsterdam. She also sells her own ready-to-use Johnnycake mix. And she still has the Los Latinos foundation. There she is also busy in the kitchen, teaching people to bake and cook. She also offers courses in sewing, the Dutch language, relaxation massage for beginners, drafting a business plan, and applying successfully for a job. Dorsiel is dedicated to helping people from the Caribbean and Latin America. […]

For the complete article (in Dutch), go to

Also see

Follow Yvette Dorsiel at

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