Creating mouth-watering, lip-smacking meals is what Couples Resorts' executive chef, Stefan Spath, does best.
So when it was time for him to again create an enticing dining experience for the highest bidder in an online auction to benefit The Animal House, he dipped into his bag of tricks and pulled out something spectacular.
The culinary gods were clearly on his side and the fruits of his expert labour were presented at Tumbleweed in Upton, Ocho Rios, St Ann, the venue of the dinner. The winners of the auction (the third time they've won) were the affable Darcy and Jim Fangman from Missouri, USA. They invited old friends Sue and Karl Brackenbury, and two couples from the United Kingdom, JJ and Mike Finn-Jones, and Martin and Dianne Sakon to join them for the winning feast.
It was sheer bliss as the small group snacked on spicy grilled jerked sausage with pepper jam cooled by a refreshing flute of Rosemary sour sop and ginger fizz and a bite or two of vegetable summer rolls with sweet chilli sauce and fried breadruit with sea salt.
It wasn't long before guests were directed to the poolside, where they were lulled by the cascading waterfall. It was time for the big event.
The first layer was threefold - a taste of Caribbean spiny lobster-ceviche with grapefruit orange and shaved red onions, classic lobster cocktail and thyme poached lobster with garlic lime aioli. It was like a tropical festival in the mouth. The citrus flavours were explosively refreshing without being overpowering. Each ingredient made its presence felt without overshadowing the other.
But that was just the beginning. With tomato in full season, Spath made good use of them. His cream of fire-roasted tomato and fennel was given a twist with local crab meat. The tastebuds cheered. The crab meat worked perfectly.
The refreshing watermelon and wild basil and champagne sorbet cleansed the palette in preparation for part two of the event.
The Caribbean surf and turf entrée was a combination of grilled plantain crusted beef tenderloin and garlic shrimp, guava Scotch bonnet glaze with sauté leeks, roasted red peppers and a pumpkin risotto. Even the creatures of the night went silent, all in awe of such a creation.
The proverbial 'cherry on top' had nothing on the dessert of warm coconut chocolate chip bread pudding with home-made white chocolate ice cream. The exclamations of 'divine' and 'oh my gosh' said it all. Once again, Spath outdid himself to the extreme delight of his guests.