After my first Boston Center for Adult Education Celebrity Chef event, I knew that I needed to attend another. And when I looked ahead in the recipe book and saw that the final event in the series brought two chefs from Bermuda, I was intrigued.
You may or may not know that Boston at the end of February can be unbearable. It feels like it has been dark, cold, windy, and slushy for about forever. If you are training for the Boston Marathon, the winter has its moments of feeling doubly long. By the time February comes to a close, it is as though you can not take one more second of winter.
I have probably mentioned in the past that I ran the 2004 Bermuda Marathon and absolutely loved the time I spent there, despite the fairly difficult race course and my failure to qualify for Boston. I stayed at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess which was really beautiful, located right in town, and made the best post-marathon breakfast, a smoked salmon and brie omelet, ever. Longing for that same sunny experience this winter, I was happy to find that the BCAE still had room for me to attend this event.
I arrived once again at the beautiful Fairmont Copley Hotel, a place I love to visit and actually just had drinks at the other night when Emily from Maiden Voyage was in town.
The room was set for lunch, with tasting portions of Goslings rum at each place setting.
Goslings Black Seal and Gold Rums
The slightly sweet smell of the rum was warm and welcoming. Later on in the event, we were provided with a lot of great information about the rums including the history of the company, how they are made and stored, and ways to use them in cocktails. To be honest, I was a little nervous to try them as I don’t drink hard alcohol often. However, there was nothing hard about these. Smooth, sweet, velvety almost, both rums were a pleasure to drink and completely lacked that sharp, alcoholic taste I anticipated.
Once again, the room was set up with a demo kitchen.
Spending an afternoon with Chef Thomas Frost, Executive Chef of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and Chef Christopher Chafe, Executive Chef of the Fairmont Southampton is a surefire cure to the winter blues. They played off of one another in a way that the facilitator called the Thomas and Chris show, making the audience laugh many times throughout the afternoon.
The first dish that we sampled was a “Confused Bermudian”, a traditional codfish cake served with marinated Bermuda pumpkin “noodles” and Gombey jam aioli. The fish cake was delicate and flavorful, and I really enjoyed the noodles, which were actually made of butternut squash and “cooked” by sitting in rice vinegar. The noodle mixture also included a good hit of ginger and colorful, crunchy red peppers.
The codfish cakes were served with Goslings’ signature drink, a Goslings Dark & Stormy made with Black Seal Rum and Ginger Beer. Refreshing, with a kick of spice from the ginger beer and more than a little kick from the rum
The second dish was a Taste of the Island “Papillote” made with grouper, chorizo, confetti vegetables, and herbs baked in a wine-soaked parchment envelope. As in the last event I attended, these Fairmont chefs talked about the Fairmont’s commitment to sustainability and using what is local and in season.
The presentation of the Papillote was lovely, but you had to be there to smell the incredible aromas that escaped once the paper was cut.
This dish included both white wine and rum. What stole the show for me was the chopped fennel root. It really gave the entire dish a slight licorice flavor, and as you all know I have been loving the fennel lately!
This was served with another cocktail! One thing is for certain, the Celebrity Chef Series is worth every single penny! This cocktail was a Rum Swizzle. I may have had a few of these in Hamilton after the Bermuda Marathon. ;) A Rum Swizzle is made with Goslings Gold Rum, Black Seal Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, and Angostura bitters. Fruity and slightly sweet, this drink is almost too easy to knock back.
The final dish of the demonstration was Inside-Out Beef Wellington made with beef tenderloin, wild mushrooms, crisp pastry, truffle butter, creamy foie gras, and angostura splashed jus. I don’t eat beef, but I will admit to eating the pastry dipped in the jus. It was buttery and flaky, and I wanted to soak up every drop of the sweet jus which actually tasted like reduced port.
After the Wellington was served, Bermuda Jam Factory opened up their jam bar, featuring unique, delicious jams that provided varying levels of spices and intense flavor. Included in the mix were a habanero jam, jalapeno jam, and ginger pepper jam. Don’t they sound interesting? They were really yummy, especially for spice lovers like me. These pair well with cheeses and bread, but can also be used in sauces or as a glaze for fish or meat. I was a little full after all of the great food and drinks, so I only had tiny tastes.
I did save room for the last rum, Goslings Old Rum, which tasted and smelled of warm molasses and is something that I could definitely get used to drinking. Paired with a square of 72% Ghirardelli chocolate, this end to the meal was rich and perfectly satisfying.
Before I left, I snapped a quick photo of our entertainers and chefs for the afternoon. The representatives from Goslings and Bermuda Jam Factory were wearing Bermuda shorts; I really wish I had also gotten a photo of them.
Of course no visit to the Fairmont Copley is complete without stopping to visit Catie Copley. She was clearly interested in me. . .
What a life!
For the first time in months, I didn’t rush to get on the T because of a howling, bitter wind. Instead, I walked to South Station, and by the time I got there I was HOT in my winter coat! Could it be that spring is almost here? My perfect Saturday afternoon tells me that it might be right around the corner.
Many thanks to the BCAE for planning such an outstanding series and to the Fairmont Hotels for hosting it. I can not wait until next year; I will attend every weekend if I can!
Speaking of Boston, spring, and marathons. . .
Please consider my charity raffle for The ALLY Foundation! $10/ticket at http://firstgiving.com/meghanmalloyteamally
The prizes so far? A custom me & goji mix, a one month membership to Healthworks fitness, a case of wine from Wine Cellars of Stoneham, a tour and private tasting for 10 at Westport Rivers Winery, and a $100 Williams Sonoma gift certificate. There aren’t a ton of entries, so there is a good chance of winning!