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Bermuda Gourmet Getaway 2008

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Grillin & Chillin.

This event was wonderful. Outdoors at the beautiful Bermuda aquarium, this event had a perfect mix of atmosphere, music, and of course delicious food. The aquarium is set up perfectly to host this event, with 3 main areas, each with one or two grill stations and a bar. The grills were each manned by a prominent local or visiting chef with a different protein. Here is the breakdown:

Visiting Chef's

Chef Jason Wilson of CRUSH Restaurant in Seattle, WA-
Pork Tenderloin over cream corn and onion chutney.

I was very impressed with this dish because I am generally scared of cream corn due to a childhood trauma. This dish may have erased all of those bad memories for good.

Rahman 'Rock' Harper of Hells kitchen fame and Terra Verde restaurant in Las Vegas-
BBQ Flank Steak "Panini" with roasted shallots and provolone.

I write "Panini" in quotes because people seem to take a lot of liberty with the term. Yes this is a small sandwich, which is the direct translation of Panini, but it has come to mean a grilled or pressed sandwich in my opinion, and this was not. But aside from that tangent rant on vocabulary, this was delicious. I have a special place in my heart for flank steak.

Local Chefs

Shaker Estephane of the Newport room, Bermuda. -
Grilled Free Range Chicken with XO sauce. Seasonal grilled vegetables. Mango Salad.

This dish had one of the more unique flavors of the night, with a little bit of spice. The Mango Salad was cool because the mango was cut to emulate pasta noodles. People were coming up asking if the salad was actually pasta. I really enjoyed the Peanut and spicy flavors

Rick Bartram of Elbow beach, Bermuda -
Dark and Stormy Marinated Spareribs. Apple goat cheese salad. Cracklins

I am not always a rib fan because of the work to meat/deliciousness ratio. My first few bites affirmed this opinion, however after that there was plenty of meat and deliciousness. The marinade was great and the salad was also tasty.

John Pritchard of Café Coco, Bermuda. -
Citrus Marinated Mahi Mahi with Sweet and Sour Pickled Celery root. Sautéed shrimp and a brown butter sage Beurre Blanc

I was worried that such a large volume of fish on a grill at an event like this would be over cooked as I have had in the past. Luckily my worries were not needed because this plate was awesome and the fish was perfectly cooked. Chef John Pritchard's methodical assembly line produced consistently well proportioned and delicious dishes.

Overall I was very happy with the night. I left full and satisfied and even a bit drunk. There was a Chocolate Buffet that was very impressive from the pastry chef at the Fairmont. If you are ever at an event with an all you can eat chocolate buffet where there are also slightly buzzed women, I suggest standing in that area for a good 20 min if you want to see some comedy. Anyways, I can't wait for next year when I will definitely be attending this event again!

Viking Village

The main reason we were going to this event was to watch the finals of the Escoffier cup. We previously went to the prelims for the scallops challenge and were excited to see the finals. Unfortunately, this event was poorly planned and we didn't really see much of it. Let me start from the beginning...

We arrived at the event around 12:30 and at the box where you give your ticket and receive your complimentary token we were greeted by an extremely rude woman. She was basically talking with someone else while she took our tickets and ignoring me when I was asking about the tokens. I just wanted to get an idea of how the event was set up to see how many more tokens I should buy. Oh well, people are rude, no surprise, continue on. The village area was pretty much as I expected it to be. Some booths with cheeses and snacks, some with wine tasting. We actually had an interesting discussion at a few of the wine booths with very smart wine importers teaching us about the different varietals.

Around 2 we headed into the auditorium for the cooking competition. We grabbed real good seats in the front row so I could take some pictures.

Michael Gomes - Café Coco

I drew some visual aids here to help people understand why I was fairly disappointed with the presentation of the cooking. For one, you can see that the counters are pretty high up and you can't see what is going on on the stove tops. I took these pictures out of my chair standing on my toes. To add to this fact, Rock was wandering around all sorts of in the way, and so were the 3 judges (yellow arrows). It would have helped if the 2 huge monitors(green arrows, left one off screen) were each playing the live feed from the stationary cameras on their respective sides(side red arrows). Unfortunately, both screens were playing the one feed from the roving cameraman (center red arrow) who never seemed to be in the right place at the right time. People in the crowd were continually yelling to this camera man to move to one side or the other because he was missing all the good action.

Chef Gomes in deep concentration

His plates coming together. You can see on the right, his beef wrapped in puff pastry, stuffed with something else not commentated or shown on video, about to be put on the plate

The finished plates with the beef on top

The Judging begins

Rajander Singh Bhandari - Café Coco - We saw this guy a few weeks ago at battle scallops

Timothy Palmer - Bacci

In this picture you can see that Rock has handed off the mic to someone else for a few minutes. This happened when Chef Palmer pulled out the immersion circulator and an audience member asked Rock what "sous-vide" means. He immediately avoided the question and passed the mic off to one of the judges. Now, I'm not saying Rock doesn't know what this means, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt on many of his faux pas during announcing by saying that he was just really nervous. Because he also said:

He doesn't use kosher salt when cooking at home; he likes the saltier tasting Iodized table salt (WHAAAAAT?)

He thinks it is a shame that to be a chef these days you need to know so much about nutrition and organics "what happened to just being a good cooker?"

He continually said that he planned on stealing the chef's recipes to use in his restaurant. I understand this was a joke but he said it like 5 times and it came off as creepy.

This is when I started to lose it. A 4th camera dude came over and stood right in front of us. Really? Judging from the angle of the picture in the paper today I am going to say he is from the Royal Gazette. Take a picture and move along man, don't just stand in the way. I don't think that other camera woman is too happy about it either. He was there for about a half hour.

Raj's plates looked great. People were cheering for him and Rock thought they were yelling Rock Rock.

After the competition was over we were bored (since we couldn't really see much) hungry and tired. I had wanted to write up the dishes for each chef, but since Rock butchered the names and plates, I was unable to write as he was saying them. Now I was in search of some sort of pamphlet with this information. I thought we would be able to find these because I saw them in the judges hands. They looked exactly like the ones we received at the preliminary competition. After asking 4 or 5 people (including rock himself who seemed to like giving away things that weren't his; he gave away a box of the chefs kosher salt during the competition and a bottle of free water when someone answered a question correctly) we were unable to locate one and just wanted to head home and cook something. There were kids unsupervised running rampant through the hallways and in the bathrooms and we couldn't leave fast enough.

Today I read in the paper that Sanjay Leeme was the winner with his Medallion of beef encrusted with peanut and sesame, with a mango curry sauce and seafood satay and sweet soy sauce. Also Lobster tail with golden egg sauce, chayote Asian pear relish and kimbal of potato and vegetables. So if you eat at Terra Verde in Las Vegas anytime soon and see this on the menu, you know where it came from. (joke)

All in all, I think this event would have been a lot of fun for most people, but it really went downhill for us when the cooking took a back seat to Rock's anecdotes. I would suggest this to families whose children could go to the "kids village" for most of the day, or people interested in ice sculpting, vegetable carving, and wine tasting. It just wasn't really for me. We were so hungry when we left and after seeing all that beef we wanted something meaty and filling. We made this unnecessarily large shepherds pie. It was delicious and I am about to go eat my leftovers.

This was kind of a grueling entry for me to write!! Its 4 pages in word without the pictures! Single spaced!! I haven't written something that long in about 4 years. So you better like it!!

1 Comment

The camera men were HORRENDOUS at the village cooking events. My blind grandmother could have done a better job. I was so dizzy by the end of it that I had a headache. Extremely disappointing.

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