‘Granny Tounce’ Puts Vincy /cuisine on NY Map
Ilka Dorothy Browne aka “Granny Tounce”
Front Page
March 8, 2024
‘Granny Tounce’ Puts Vincy /cuisine on NY Map

Copious tributes were paid two weeks ago to a humble Vincentian female entrepreneur who after establishing her culinary business at home emigrated to the USA and demonstrated her value and determination in operating a successful business in New York. The tributes were paid at her funeral service at the Kingstown Methodist

Church on February 23, one week after similar praises for her lifelong contributions were made at a Memorial Service in Brooklyn.

Ilka Dorothy Browne, better known as “Granny Tounce”, had only last November 26, celebrated her 100th birthday in Brooklyn surrounded by a host of admiring offspring- children, grandchildren and great grand children, as well as a number of relatives, close friends and admirers of this remarkable lady.

She hailed from Paul’s Avenue/Lot in Kingstown, a community often unfairly negatively branded, but the contribution of whose residents was lauded by one of our legendary calypsonians, the late Lord Hawke, in his unforgettable, “Right in De Slum”. In it, Hawke debunked the false negative images often painted about that community and lauded the contributions of many of its prominent citizens in varying fields, beginning with George McIntosh, a nominee for the title of National

Hero. “Granny Tounce” certainly fits that outstanding category.

Having established her culinary business here at home with her humble dwelling becoming a virtual community centre, she migrated to New York and unlike many who could not cope with the situation in a big city, she took off where she left off at home. An excerpt from the Obituary read by a close relative, LaFerne Cato, outlined her contribution in the following words:

“Granny Tounce was a chef in her own right. Upon migrating to the USA, she worked as a home attendant, but cooking was her passion. Every Saturday her apartment on 95th Street was transformed into a “Vincy Restaurant”. Later, when she moved to Sheffield Avenue, the same courtesy was granted to the Vincy Community. Granny Tounce’s popularity and open-door policy evolved into a community hub for Vincentians and other Caribbean nationals living in Brooklyn.

“For Vincentians from other US states and Canada, as well as those vacationing, visiting Granny Tounce’s restaurant was a must. Some of the famous items on her menu included: pelau, stewed fish, rice and peas, bakes and salt fish, cakes, peanut sugar cakes, potato pudding, bread pudding and the famous black pudding.

The beverages were mauby, ginger beer, sorrel, and something else.”

It was a truly Vincentian experience. Granny Tounce from much-maligned Paul’s Lot, demonstrated what hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and love can do. She succeeded in a foreign environment where many others had failed. Her example is one of which all Vincentians can be proud. It is a fitting one to be lauded as we celebrate International Women’s Day this year.