Garfene Grandison, Assistant Lifestyle Coordinator
Hidden on a narrow, rocky roadway in Ocho Rios is a serene and unique dining experience awaiting true foodies. Not known to many, especially being so secluded, Christopher's at Hermosa Cove captures an exceptional fusion of contemporary Jamaican cuisine, which creates an adventure for even the most experienced palate. This Valentine's Day the restaurant has decided to go all out and will be catering to the palates of couples with four specially and carefully crafted menus to celebrate the one that you love. Food visited the hidden gem recently to showcase their wide array of items on the menu.
Guests of the resorts and diners can enjoy house favourites, including mouth-watering appetisers, spicy and hearty soups, salads, and traditional and modern meat preparations. The new culinary masters behind the restaurants newly revamped menu are the dynamic duo of sous chef Danisha Jaghai and executive chef Conroy Arnold. According to Jaghai, "We pride ourselves and put great emphasis on the importance of using indigenous ingredients to produce every item on our menu creating fresher, tastier, spicier dishes. We do not just feed appetites; we feed souls. Every meal should take our guests on a gastronomic reverie," she notes. That speaks perfectly to Christopher's tag line, 'having a passion for palates', which means that everything that is prepared is done with precision and with the best local quality produce/goods.
Arnold's culinary journey started in 2003 as a sous chef at Nobu, a three-star Asian restaurant, kick-starting ambitious culinary aspirations. In 2005 he went to work at the Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands but, like the prodigal son, he returned home in 2010 as the executive chef at the Golden Eye Resort. After a year he was off again to St Lucia, and has again returned to the island with Hermosa Cove as his home turf.
Jaghai's culinary sojourn began when she was 20 years old and graduated from one of Jamaica's premier institutions for hospitality training, Runaway Bay HEART academy, with a level two certificate in concierge and events planning. Under the tutelage of the executive sous chef at Sandals, Jaghai learnt the details of the pantry, range, pastry and butchery departments.
After a year Jaghai returned to study, to match her practical skills with theoretical knowledge. After completing level two (commie chef) in commercial food preparation she went on to take up the position of pantry chef at Couples Tower Isle, where she honed her cold kitchen, buffet designing and fruit and vegetable carving skills.
Now a chef de partie by qualification, and with accumulated gastronomic experience, Jaghai believes food has a language of its own and wants the world to understand it through her dishes. In a male-dominated profession she leaves indelible marks by her simple mantra: "Food should not only be used to feed appetites but to speak to the inner man".
The dining experience that is found at Hermosa Cove is by far one of the best that the island has to offer. This is a feat that they are very proud of. Their offering of authentic Jamaican cuisine is prepared using fusion techniques from different ethnicities.
Christopher's is known for a few specialities such as fresh local fish done in a variety of ways, local chips (seasoned sweet potato chips, dasheen chips, green plantain chips), authentic brick oven-baked pizzas, as well as an assortment of jams and chutneys.
The Valentine Special will begin from today and run until Saturday February 16, with prices ranging from J$2,700 (US$30) per couple to J$3,510 (US$39) per couple.