Mon | Aug 21, 2017

12 chefs of Christmas Memories

Published:Thursday | December 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The Best Dressed Chicken roast chicken with stuffings on the side.
Chef Michele Williams adds the final touches to her roast chicken.
Mark Williams and his partner, Shavana Cox, pause for a photo op before delving into dinner. Sharing in the moment are one-year-old Jerani and his six-year-old brother Jabari.
The Best Dressed Chicken Classic Roast.
Mark Williams, one of the winners in the The Best Dressed Chicken’s 12 Chefs of Christmas 2015 promotion, poses with one of his delectable menu items with (from left) GeAnne Dwyer, brand officer, The Best Dressed Chicken; Chef Michele Williams, director of Moveable Feast Caterers; and Lorraine Kemble, brand manager, The Best Dressed Chicken.
Grilled shrimp vegetable salad with lemon cilantro vinegrette courtesy of Chef Michele Williams.
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It was a cool December morning when Mark Williams took a call and a cheery voice at the other end of the line declared, "Hello, Mr Williams! You are a winner of The Best Dressed Chicken 12 Chefs of Christmas!"

According to Williams, what came next was delicious and unforgettable. Williams used his prize to host a Boxing Day feast for his family and friends to enjoy. The dinner hit the right note for the Christmas holiday. Chef Michele Williams, and The Best Dressed Chicken team of Brand Manager Lorraine Kemble and Brand Officer GeAnn Dwyer brought the feast right to the Williams home, freeing the family to do nothing but enjoy the day.

"We just told everyone to come over for a surprise. The Best Dressed Chicken team was just so warm and helpful, and boy, I could never have imagined the type of meal Chef Michele would have created just for us," said Williams. "It was a marvellous experience, I loved everything about it. The food and the setting - everything exceeded my expectations. The team came early, everybody was happy and the food was exceptional. We had a great time talking, laughing, eating and celebrating."

On the menu was grilled shrimp vegetable salad with lemon cilantro vinaigrette, classic roast chicken with a jerk sausage potato stuffing, grilled beef tenderloin with cranberry pineapple chutney and honey glazed baked ham. The accompaniments included cornbread, candied sweet potatoes with amaretto, gungo rice and peas, broccoli with parsley buttered carrots. For dessert there was Christmas fruitcake with rum butter sauce.

Williams received rave reviews from his guests, who also commended The Best Dressed Chicken team. Guests were very appreciative of the opportunity to share an evening of camaraderie before they welcomed the start of a new year. "It was a great send-off to 2015, something that I will always remember," he added.

Chef Michele also has fond memories of the event. "It was wonderful, I felt like I was a part of Mark and Shavana's family. They were thrilled to win such a great experience and being able to share it with family and friends," she said.

She added: "This promotion from the Best Dressed Chicken is really what Christmas is all about family, friends, good times and good food. It encourages me as a chef to be inventive and craft new menus specifically for the winners. To be able to see the family enjoy my work means so much to me."

For the 2016 edition, 12 winners get the chance to have Christmas dinner catered by one of Jamaica's leading chefs. The featured chefs this year are: Stephen Sowa, executive chef, Half Moon Hotel; Ravi Anne, group executive chef at Jewel Resort; Daniel Schweizer, executive chef of Goddard Catering Group; Michele Henry of Moveable Feats Caterers; Charissa Henry of Pink Apron Caterers; Gariel Ferguson, famed master of the grill; Johnoi Reid, executive chef at The Cliff Hotel and Spa; Simone Walker Barrett, lecturer at UTech's School of Hospitality and Tourism; Lorraine Fung of Catering by Lorraine; Jacqui Tyson of JTyson Events and Catering; Andre Fowles, Sous Chef at Miss Lilly's and Haleem Card of 17 Layers. One winner also gets $600,000 in groceries for a year. The promotion continues through December 17, 2016.

The Best Dressed Chicken Classic Roast

Chef's note* (Serves 6-8 chicken as only protein, 10-12 with another meat)

Ingredients:

1 (5-6 lb) Best Dressed Chicken Roaster

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tbs All-Purpose Seasoning

3 tsp garlic powder

Juice of 1-2 limes

1/4 cup vinegar

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 green sweet pepper, finely chopped

2-3 stalks scallion, chopped

6-7 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper chopped

2 sprigs of thyme or 2 tablespoons dried

1-2 sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary

2 tbs Italian Herbs

1/4 tsp sage (optional)

2 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs vegetable or Olive oil

2 tbs chopped parsley or Italian seasoning

2 tsp cornstarch (thickness as desired)

Ingredients for Stuffing:

1 large Baguette (Italian or French) 3-4 cups, cut into one inch squares, and baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

2 Hamilton's Smokehouse Jerked Sausages (casings removed)

1 tbs Olive Oil

1 medium Onion

2-3 stalks of celery diced

3 cloves garlic chopped

2 large eggs, beaten

1/3 cup milk or heavy cream

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (or Parmesan Cheese)

2 tbs Italian Herbs or parsley

Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)

1/2 cup chicken broth or stock

Method to Prepare Stuffing:

1. Heat oil in a pan and cook sausage for about 5 minutes, breaking it up as you stir. Set aside (skim off any excess fat).

2. In same pan on medium heat cook garlic, onion, celery for about 10 minutes.

3. Combine vegetables and bread with sausage and herbs. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in whisked eggs, cream or milk, cheese and chicken stock. Once cool, stuffing is ready to be inserted into the cavity of seasoned chicken. See method *3 below.

Chef's note: Any reserved stuffing may be baked in a buttered casserole dish covered with foil for about 20 minutes at 350-375 degrees!

Method to Prepare Chicken:

1. Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees (F). Remove the Best Dressed Chicken Roaster from packaging and rinse with water, lime juice and vinegar. Drain well, pat dry before adding seasoning.

2. Combine dry seasoning ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle dry ingredients, chopped onion, garlic, scallion, rosemary and thyme over chicken, inside cavity and under skin of chicken.

3. Place the prepared stuffing into the cavity of the chicken. Secure the base with toothpicks to keep stuffing inside during roasting. The chicken may be truss by tying the legs together with cooking string (optional).

4. Place chicken breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for an hour. The foil may be removed after an hour, continue roasting for another hour basting with pan drippings every 15 minutes. Bake until juices run clear. Reserve pan drippings to make gravy.

Gravy

Strain and pour pan drippings in a small sauce pan or pot. Add a little water to cornstarch, stir and add to drippings in pot and cook on low heat for a few minutes. Then Enjoy!