Around the world in eight courses
If you have ever been to a Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner, you know it's all about cameraderie and gastronomy. What less would you expect from the oldest culinary arts society in the world?
Last Saturday, the Jamaican Bailliage inducted 10 new members before they and their guests journeyed up to the 17th floor of The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston for what would be a gastronomic journey of epic proportions.
With the hills of St Andrew to the west and Kingston Harbour to the east, the setting was perfect for the journey designed by executive chef Mark Cole and his colleagues at the hotel. Under the theme 'The Past Dictates the Future', each dish was carefully crafted to reflect authentic 'Jamaican-ness'.
Cole expertly guided guests through the eight-course meal that began with The Arising. First up, guests' plates was the black crab nest. The black land crab and goat cheese kibbie served in a rustic plantain nest drizzled with a sorrel-ginger glaze, topped with kale chips, was amazing. Wine expert Debra Taylor provided a special selection, courtesy of Select Brands, and for this dish, it was the Pascal Jolivet Attitude 2015, sauvignon blanc. This was the perfect opener; it was not overpowering with too many strong flavours to exhaust taste buds so early in the game.
The Two Worlds followed. This was a river mullet consomme - golden-dusted river mullet swirled in a chicken foot saffron consomme, served with hard dough bread ravioli. This was paired with Whispering Angel Rose 2016. Charming, refreshing with enticing strawberry and berry fruit, it really is a rose that should be in everyone's wine collection.
Moving on to the British Game, palates were treated to braised pigeon and crackling salad, paired with a 2014 ZD pinot noir. This wine perfectly balanced the pigeon for a very smooth end result.
Guests were taken around the world with the Asian Calling: island spiced salmon, but landed on the sandy beaches with the West Indian connection of grilled lobster tail rundown. If ever there were a dish that was pure perfection, it would have to be this. It was the right amount of savoury and spice. This was paired with Miol Prosecco. The grilled lobster tail rundown was a heavenly creation. This led into the divine palate cleanser of a dandelion and plum sorbet.
The African Notes was a very exciting dish of suckling pig rib, served with apple sweet potato pancake and a purple Micro Green Johnny Walker Vinaigrette and a Grich Hill from the famed Napa Valley. This is a fragrant wine, a 2012, and a perfect blend of merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
The cherry on top was the Melting Pot - jerked panna cotta and rum-infused bread pudding. Served with a 2013 Thomas Barton Sauterne, it was a 'sweet plus sweet equal balanced' equation, which Taylor aptly described as a work of art that you can drink. The only low point of the night was that like a piece of art, it couldn't be captured and framed.