2015 Restaurant Week Ambassadors Rearing to go!
It's that time of year again, when the island partakes of the gastronomic feast that is The Gleaner-sponsored Restaurant Week. Our 10 Restaurant Week ambassadors have been selected and accepted the challenge and are rearing to go. Today, we bring you the first set of eager ambassadors as we talk food and all their gastronomic desires that will have you salivating.
Former Miss Jamaica World Regina Mccallum is the managing director of Spartan Health Club, and simply lights up a room when she walks in. She is a self-confessed foodie, and will try almost anything. As she told Outlook, "I'm not biased when it comes to food." But she loves to keep her favourite simple. " I've eaten alligator and ostrich before, but nothing makes me feel warm inside like when I dip my naan in the left over sauce from my meal. Garlic nann. Guess I'm into Indian cuisine."
Vietnamese, a really good rib eye steak or a well-done shrimp and scallop risotto will also make her palate happy. But if you want it to squeal with glee, give her some stuffed grape leaves that form the Mediterranian dish - Dolma.
But this beauty queen doesn't only eat, she can hold her own in the kitchen preparing her favourite dish - Quinoa. "Quinoa is a super grain. Super healthy and super easy to make. I bake it, boil it and sometimes eat it cold. It goes well with anything. I'm also known as the casserole queen. I love making roast chicken and creating casserole with anything. Garlic sweet potatoes, cheese broccoli." Her husband will tell you that his favourite thing that she makes is his morning shakes. "I make them from scratch with fresh fruits and vegetables. My son, Gio, enjoys them too."
With four weeks to go until the start of Restaurant Week, she can hardly wait (good thing she doesn't have to). "I am super excited and can't wait to celebrate fine dining at an affordable price. I'm looking forward to trying something new from as many restaurants as possible. Hopefully, it will inspire me in my kitchen."
Part of the Dream Team, this smooth party promoter doesn't just know how to throw a cool party. He knows how to devour a his favourite dish of steak and eggs which he confesses he will eat at any hour of the day - usually at CPJ." But the title of 'Best thing he has ever had' would have to go to the Chicharron de Calamari at Sushi Samba in South Beach. This is basically slightly fried calamari in a tamarind and mint sauce.
Does he whip up anything just as good in his kitchen? "I don't really cook, but I'm good with small-plate snacks. I've been told that I'm a magician with tuna."
During Restaurant Week you will more than likely find him at a fusion restaurant. "A mix of cuisine is always a fave."
This chef extraordinaire will be raising the bar this year, looking to be surprised. "I'm looking forward to a treat. Cuisine cannot be stagnant. I want to be surprised. Suprise me!"
It's hard to have a conversation with Hyton without involving food. With a man who has toured the world and knows his craft, he shares with Outlook the best thing he has ever eaten. "I went to this wedding in Nantucket and, for me, it's not just about food, its also the people you are with. I will never forget it. It may have been the first time I was having it as well - seared foie gras with roasted pear and orange liqueur. One of the finest ingredients in the world." Of course, along with truffles, but don't get him started.
As a restaurateur and caterer, Hylton is always in the kitchen, or dreaming up some fantastic feast. But of all his amazing creations, he loves preparing Thai green curry chicken and pigstail with Jasmine rice and toasted coconut. We are already salivating.
Media personality and host of the cooking and travel show Nyammings, Krystal Tomlinson, loves food, especially traditional Jamaican pastry.
“The toto, potato pudding – hell a top, hell a bottom – on a coal stove, those, I find, taste the best and I think the whole cooking experience and knowing that it’s inherently Jamaican excites me without even tasting it. But the toto is my all-time favourite.” But can she make these treats that she loves? Let’s just say her favourite thing to cook is pasta, especially the sauces – tomato or Alfredo.
“I can add the different spices and tricks I have learnt from the show. I love savoury and comfort food.” As the most delectable week approaches, there may not be any toto, but Tomlinson is still excited. Like a professional, she is precise and is not only looking at the menu but the presentation too. “Our meal options don’t vary much in Jamaica.
It’s the chicken, it’s the fish, it’s the beef, it’s the pork. But how people put different accents on to it, as well as where I sit in the restaurant, whether I’m facing the hilltop or looking over into a gully, I am looking forward to that experience – to enjoy the ambience and know about the place I am eating at and not just the food.”
Grace Hamilton is the total opposite of ‘Spice’, the dancehall vixen.
Hamilton admits to Outlook that she really enjoys staying at home and being a mother.
With a signature laugh that will cheer up anyone around her, Hamilton is very down-to-earth, outspoken and extremely shy around small groups.
In keeping it real, she admits that the best thing she has ever eaten is our national dish with a twist – ackee and corned pork.
Of course, when she is at home she can’t wait for Sunday to prepare her ‘Sunday dinner’ – rice and peas, French fried chicken, oxtail, and it cannot be complete without her potato salad.
Come November 13-21, Hamilton is looking forward to: “Fulling mi belly ... I’m looking forward to exploring the different dishes and to introducing my tastebuds to some new flavours. Also, I’m really looking forward to being blown away with something different that I can go home and try out for myself. I’m a lover of delicious food, so I can’t wait.”