A Recipe for Success

Shaa’Bingo brings high-quality Jamaican street food to Asheville.

Chef Kenville Thompson
Chef Kenville Thompson
By Crystal Cauley –

Chef Kenville “Shaa’Bingo” Thompson was brought up in a bright Caribbean kitchen in the Waterford community in Portmore, Jamaica.

He literally grew up there, learning to cook from his mother, Janet Purcell Powell, beginning when he was just eight years old.

With his inherent skill and culinary arts training, he eventually landed a position as a cook at the Biltmore Estate, where he climbed the career ladder to become a sous-chef. Having gained recognition for his culinary abilities and professional leadership style, Kenville decided to prove that he can overcome any obstacle, by using his time strategically to map out his success. So, after 20 years of devoted service, he resigned.

Though many Asheville restaurants shut down due to the pandemic, people still yearned for high-quality food options, and word spread quickly about a personal chef who offered gourmet meals such as lamb chops and seafood boils.

“It is a cuisine that’s new to Asheville and the surrounding areas—known as Shaa’Bingo and Merribbean food combinations that are appropriately themed as “Jamaican Street Food,” said Kenville. His supporters praise him for making healthier food options more accessible—and for taking their comments and suggestions seriously.

Partnering with an investor, Kenville made certain his food stood out from the crowded Asheville “foodie” scene. Soon he sealed the deal with customers by bringing fine gourmet dining options to a food truck—already a busy, diverse scene in town. And, like many chefs and food truck operators, Chef Kenville Thompson hopes that one day he’ll be able to expand his business to include a restaurant. In a sign of his optimism, he muses, “With God and food, anything is possible!”

The current Shaa’Bingo menu features high-quality dishes produced with hormone-free, locally sourced, and organic ingredients. The savory menu offers everything from Seafood Fries to Curry Chicken, Jerk Chicken to Oxtail Bowls, as well as crispy wings, deep-fried salmon bites, stuffed turkey legs with either barbecue, jerk, or seafood sauce—as well as a classic old-fashioned SmashBurger.

Customers can pick from a range of soul food sides—candied yams, mac & cheese, and collard greens—and beverages ranging from coffee and hot chocolate to tropical drinks and Jamaican soda. And for dessert Kenville offers a Rum cake, Red Velvet cake, Glazed Pound cake, and Banana Pudding.

Chef Kenville Thompson’s food truck will be located at 2292 Hendersonville Road in Arden, NC, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 12 noon until 7 p.m. He also is glad to collaborate with on-the-go delivery companies like GrubHub and UberEats.

So if you’re in the mood for a Jamaican chef’s treats, go visit soon!