A Championship Feast
Eight-year-old Craig Fleming was home alone one day, with no one to cook for him. So he did what any well-thinking eight-year-old would do - he reached for a cookbook and started cooking.
That kitchen journey took him to study at Le Cordon Bleu Miami, where he graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts. And even though his day job is that of Logistics Specialist at Arel Limited, he is still feeding his soul and pleasing his family and friends, by cooking amazing dishes.
To the World! Winning dishes by a world class chef Craig Fleming.-Contributed
Like almost everyone else in Jamaica, Fleming will host a crowd at his home this Saturday, to watch as GOAT - Usain Bolt makes his final run at the IAAF World Championships in London. A big race deserves some big food, right? So Chef Craig has created a multicultural menu that will be sure to hit the mark with food fans.
"I wanted each dish to represent a different country, because the Championships are about athletes from around the world, meeting in the pursuit of excellence."
Chicken, long considered the world's favourite protein, takes three turns on the winner's podium in the form of The Best Dressed Chicken kabob with mint tzatziki and Za'atar Pita Chips; The Best Dressed Chicken "ludobird-inspired" sandwiches and The Best Dressed Chicken jerk temaki rolls.
"Persian cuisine is the inspiration for The Best Dressed Chicken Kabob with Mint Tzatziki and Za'atar Pita Chips. Like Jamaican cuisine, Persian food is vibrant, fresh and expressive in flavour. The complex flavour profile of this dish is definitely a conversation starter and makes it a sure win at any party!" he says.
For The Best Dressed Chicken 'ludobird-inspired' butter sandwiches, Flemming did a remix of a favourite from Chef Ludo Lefebvre's LA-based restaurant. "I amalgamated a simple Americana fast food staple with a French and Asian flair that is both simple and tasty," he explained.
And for The Best Dressed Chicken Jerk temaki rolls, he calls on his passion for sushi. "I loved the temaki served at Nobu Miami because you do not need to be "chopstick-proficient" to eat this roll. I integrated the fiery Jamaican jerk which is balanced by the cilantro and sweet peppers. Plus, since Jamaica will rule at the World Championships it's perfect that our national colours are present in this dish."
Try these and you may, like Bolt, get a gold medal on the culinary podium.
The Best Dressed Chicken grilled kabob with mint Tzatziki and Za'atar pita chips
1 pack The Best Dressed Chicken breasts (cut into 1" wide strips) or breast tenderloins
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup logwood or orange blossom honey
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 red onion (grated)
1/4tsp smoked paprika
1/4tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1tsp kosher salt
2tbsp warm water
1tsp vegetable oil
For the Mint Tzatziki
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt (drained)
1 cucumber (grated and drained)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
1/4tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh black mint (chopped)
1tsp olive oil
black pepper to taste
For the Za'atar Pita Chips
4 pita breads
2tbsp Za'atar spice mix or lemon pepper seasoning
1. In a mortar and pestle or small bowl, crush saffron strands until powdery. Add warm water and mix until cooled.
2. In a large bowl, combine cumin, honey, yoghurt, orange zest, garlic cloves, red onion, paprika, black pepper and salt.
3. Add saffron water to marinade. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade.
4. Add chicken strips and marinate for at least two hours.
5. Heat grill or stovetop griddle on medium heat until hot.
6. Lightly oil grill to prevent kabobs from sticking.
7. Thread chicken on skewers and place on grill. Grill for 12 minutes, brushing with reserved marinade frequently to form a thin glaze, flipping once.
8. Serve with Mint Tzatziki and Za'atar Pita chips.
1. Chop garlic cloves and salt until it forms a paste.
2. In a bowl, combine drained yoghurt, cucumber, garlic paste and mint until well mixed.
3. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. Before serving, drizzle with olive oil.
1. Preheat oven to 3758F.
2. Stack bread and cut into eight segments. Drizzle with olive oil.
3. Sprinkle one tablespoon Za'atar on bread. Place segments in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for six minutes or until lightly browned.
4. Sprinkle remaining Za'atar on to pita chips.
The Best Dressed Chicken 'Ludobird-sinpired' sandwiches
4 The Best Dressed Chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 lime or lemon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 cup hot sauce
2 tsp salt (divided)
1/2 tsp black pepper (divided)
1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence (divided)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vegetable or peanut oil
1 yellow onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 cabbage (shredded)
1/2 red cabbage (shredded)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 mango (cubed)
1 tbs mustard
1 tsp rosemary (finely chopped)
Add salt to taste
Add pepper to taste
6 burger buns
1 tbs unsalted butter (melted)
12 dill pickles
1. In a bowl, combine milk, lemon/lime juice and vinegar, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes until buttermilk forms.
2. In a large bag, add buttermilk, smoked paprika, salt, hot sauce, white pepper, Herbs de Provence and lemon/lime zest. Add chicken thighs and marinate at least two hours or overnight.
3. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. In one bowl, add flour, salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence and in another bowl, add buttermilk mixture. Dip chicken in seasoned flour, dip into buttermilk mixture then dip back into flour, ensuring that it is thoroughly coated.
4. Heat oil to 3508F and add chicken. Fry chicken until brown and crisp (approximately seven minutes).
5. In a blender, add mango, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and oil. Blend until emulsified then add salt and pepper until combined. In a bowl, add cabbage, red cabbage, rosemary and onion. Add vinaigrette and mix to combine.
6. Lather butter on to burger buns and sear in pan until toasted. Layer the burger with fried chicken thighs, dill pickles and slaw.
The Best Dressed Chicken Jerk Temaki Rolls
2 The Best Dressed Chicken Free Range chicken breasts
1/4 cup jerk seasoning
1 tsp olive oil
8 Nori sheets
1 cup sushi rice
1 red bell pepper (sliced into strips)
1 bundle cilantro
1 stalk escallion (thinly sliced)
1 red onion (thinly sliced)
3 tbs mango chutney
1. Slice each chicken breast in half. In a bowl, combine chicken breast and jerk seasoning.
2. Place marinated chicken on a griddle and grill until fully cooked (approximately six to eight minutes).
3. Cut chicken breasts into slices. Cut each nori sheet in half. Place nori on palm (shiny side down) and place a thin layer of rice on the left third of nori sheet.
4. Add fillings diagonally across the middle of the rice layer. Fold bottom left corner of nori and fold into a conical shape. Keep rolling until cone is formed. Put a small piece of rice at bottom right corner to seal temaki. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.