Deborah Reed favors flavors of CaribbeanSix years ago...

SUNDAY SNAPSHOTS

October 04, 1992|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer !

Deborah Reed favors flavors of Caribbean

Six years ago, Deborah Reed couldn't tell a spatula from a serving spoon.

Now she runs a restaurant with fiery Caribbean dishes, fanciful ,, decor and a growing following.

"I bloomed late in the kitchen," says Ms. Reed, 31, who recently opened Nyammin's Karibi Kafe in Brown's Arcade on Charles Street. (Nyam means to eat heartily in a Jamaican dialect.)

By serving up the flavors of the West Indies -- jerk chicken, saffron shrimp, stuffed snapper -- she hopes patrons will come to appreciate the food she grew up with in Jamaica.

In some ways, Ms. Reed owes her culinary skills to her mother, who sent her to Washington at age 26 with a cookbook -- and no experience in the kitchen. In between working as a diplomat at the Jamaican Embassy and studying for her master's at George Washington University, she discovered there was joy -- and relaxation -- in cooking.

Less than a year ago, she and her husband, Michael, who live in Reisterstown, invested their savings (and money from family and friends) in the downtown location, which once was home to Pacifica and the Bistro.

She is unconcerned that other restaurants have faced tough times there. What troubles her most is juggling work and pleasure while putting in 14-hour days.

"I have no social life," she laments. "When Sunday rolls around, I'm . . . beat."

Ed Leavy's office hints at his glamorous lifestyle. There's the autographed poster from Vanessa Redgrave, the silver trinket box from the Broadway cast of "The Merchant of Venice," the Russian icon from the concert violinist.

As an immigration lawyer for Weinberg and Green, he unravels the world of work visas and green cards for a tony list of athletes, actors, writers and executives.

When the New York Islanders wanted a Russian hockey player, they called Ed Leavy. When the British director of "Three Penny Opera" needed a visa, he called Ed Leavy. When author Sidney Sheldon feared his French chef would be deported, he called Ed Leavy.

Which often leaves Ed Leavy calling overseas at hours when most Americans sleep. "I know six words in about 60 languages," says the 50-year-old Washington lawyer.

Despite the excitement of meeting Dustin Hoffman or socializing with Vanessa Redgrave, the father of two became interested in the field only after his housekeeper was nearly deported to El Salvador.

"The American dream, for my clients, is not dead," he says.

"The people I bring here make positive contributions to society."

Have someone to suggest? Write Mary Corey, Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or call (410) 332-6156.

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