The event was a part of CEO Series brought to you by American Express in partnership with BMW and Etihad Airways. The plan was conceived by prominent New York based luxury brand consultancy firm, Evolve. While talking to Sapna over dinner, she mentioned that her motivation behind creating this event was to bring the world to the globe trotting CEO’s who have seen most of the world but yet not really seen anything. Her idea was to bring together a dinner inspired by the seven wonders of the world and for this she thought of no one better suited than Chef Gary and I have to agree with her after attending the dinner. Chef Gary did an outstanding job with it.
Chef Gary inspired this meal by his own travels and took us through a ride across seven countries and yet the meal came together so harmoniously. There wasn’t any course which felt out of the place or any discordant element to the whole dinner. The food, the pairing with Jacob Creek wines and the Glenlevit Founder’s Reserve all were perfect and I think every attendant to the dinner would be nod to this if you ask them.
We started our journey in Peru with Scorched Salmon, caramelized miso mayonnaise, ceviche pickles,edamame. It was one of the best salmon I have eaten in a while, the texture and the curing spot on and the pairing with that outstanding miso mayo magical and when topped with a bit of that radish and edamame this dish was in the running for my favorite dish of the day.
The gorgeous Brazilian Moquecacame next, a fish soup that tantalised the taste buds and senses with it’s aroma and taste.
The next dish took us to Jordan and how. Compressed Watermelon, that was served as a block, infused with spices, with light citrus notes and a touch of rose, and served with Jordanian almonds and labneh with a bit of whipped hung curd. It was a dish outstanding in taste and in cleverness and technique. When I saw the dish on the menu, my mind went like watermelon like really? I like watermelon but to base a course on it in a fancy sit down dinner I wasn’t sure it was going to work but man it did turn out to be the favorite dish of many people dining that day and if my love for salmon wasn’t so pure, I would have picked this as well. And it has inspired me to make my version of Compressed watermelon sometime soon. Paired with Jacob’s Creek sparkling wine it was a lovely clean course after the soup.
I also liked how well the meal was organised – two veg courses, two sea food, one chicken, one lamb and then the dessert. For the next course, we were at homeground aka India and the dish on offer was Butter roasted cauliflower and I know a lot of eyes rolled that day saying “oh really, how cliche” but Gary told us a story on why he chose cauliflower for India which had us all in splits. It seems that one of the memories he has of Bangalore is of the visit to Russell Market and seeing trucks full of cauliflower standing outside and it fascinated him. The dish which sounded deceptively simple was really complex and delicious, it really had great depth of flavour going. Cauliflower three ways (roasted butter, steamed thinly sliced and a bed of mashed cauliflower) provided a great play of texture. The addition of green fennel seeds and golden raisins gave it a slight sweetness that just rounded off the dish perfectly. This was paired with the smooth and slightly smoky Glenlevit Founder’s Reserve
Next hop in our journey was at China and Chef Gary elevated a very simple White Chicken by serving it with garnishes of spring onion, celery, ginger jelly, and black sesame sauce seasoned with soy sauce, ginger and garlic. I could lick that sauce, I almost did 😀
For the penultimate course of the evening, we travelled to Egypt and chef served a Slow cooked lamb served in a tagine, which he mentioned to be inspired by biryani. The lamb was really well flavoured and was falling off the bone. 14 hour slow cooked shoulder of lamb, toasted grains, daal and pine nuts and kohlrabi made every bite of the dish delightful. I would be happy to eat this every day of my life and get the comfort one draws from Biryani. Glenlevit 15 was the scotch to served along with the lamb.
And onto the last course of the evening, the dessert. And what better place to travel for a dessert than Italy. Conco d’Oro, Lemon curd, olive oil semi freddo, golden meringue, orange syrup, candied & fresh citrus what is not to love. It was really the perfect end to the evening full of brilliant food, one of the best semi freddo I have eaten in a long time.
Memories of this meal will probably stay with me for a long time to come and that’s not just fan girl talk 🙂