Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
As an island, Jamaica is blessed with delicious seasonal fruits all year round. Turning these into mouth-watering delectable desserts is the forte of Margaritaville's sous chef, Marcia Farquharson. Her passion for local fruits inspires her to create delicious desserts that push the boundaries of her culinary creativity.
"It may be rare to see star apple as the main ingredient in a dessert, but when Farquharson was asked to pull out a surprise dessert, it was only fitting to make a big splash with one of her favourite fruits. Her star apple-infused cheesecake with strawberry chocolate mousse accompanied with guava reduction and candied dried fruits was as exotic as it was tasty. The contrasting temperatures of the cold cheesecake floating on top of the delicious warm, moist chocolate mousse created a whirlwind in the mouth, sending the palate into overdrive.
"While as chefs we have to use a lot of imported items to cater to customers to get each meal right, I think it's important as well that we get creative with the fruits we have in season. For one, they are much easier to source during that period, and second, it gives us an opportunity to introduce something unique and different to diners," she asserts.
The degree of difficulty was high when she decided to merge orange, passion fruit and mango into an awe-inspiring orange chiffon passion gateau accompanied with mango infusion and laced with strawberry coulis. But it was so worth it!
"It is okay to mix it up at times, just as longs as you make it delicious," she said with a smile. "Flex your culinary creativity when given an opportunity to do so. Our fruits are rich in flavour and can be paired with a variety of meals. so when it is in abundance, get creative and inspire the taste buds of your customers."
With decades of local and international experience, Farquharson welcomes the challenge of being in a profession that is mostly dominated by men and being able to stand out among her peers. Mentored by the current executive chef of Margaritaville, Cecil Jagdath, she explained that her skills have grown exponentially since the two began their association over five years ago.