Stephen and Andrea Millington have been serving up jerk chicken, tacos and pork wraps for 18 years at the N.C. State Fair. This year, the couple took top honors for best new food at the annual N.C. State Fair media day, their new jerk pork wrap with mango sauce.
Most of the year, Stephen and Andrea Millington work day jobs. Stephen is an IT technician in Durham and Andrea is an accountant in Raleigh. During the fair, they take their vacation to run Cool Runnings Jamaican food at the N.C. State Fair.
Andrea is from Jamaica and many of the recipes they use are from her grandmother. “We make our own jerk seasoning,” she said. “My husband does all the cooking, I just taste everything. Stephen’s specialty is the meats.”
“We moved to the Raleigh area in 1995 and visited the N.C. State Fair,” Andrea said. “We talked about how we would love to do a booth and it would be awesome. We finally submitted our name and was chosen in 2001. The Fair was interested in the fact we offered Jamaican food.”
“Business was slow by fair standards at first,” Andrea said. “But as the years progressed it has gotten bigger for us. We have faithful, regular customers and we enjoy seeing them every year.
The Millingtons have three sons that have also helped at the booth, and still do. “The boys grew up coming to the fair and helping us,” Andrea said. “They really know these fairgrounds.”
This year, they will greet customers from a new location. Cool Runnings is moving to a new location on the North Side of Dorton Arena. “The best thing about winning the competition is that we were worried that our regulars customers wouldn’t be able to find us, and I dreaded that. Now we hope they have heard the news and know where we are located. However, we are also looking forward to greeting new customers that may not have tried us before.”