Food has had the distinctive ability to transport us to places where only imagination can take us. You could be sitting in a swanky café on Residency Road with the aroma of strong coffee and buttery croissant teasing your senses, and teleporting you to that small European postcard town you have been meaning to visit for over a year now! Our busy schedules and commitments may not allow us to travel as much or as often as we would like to. But with global cuisine taking over Bangalore, we can at least take our taste buds on a tour around the world.
The recent CEO Series hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore was one such travel-inspired dinner, conceptualised and crafted by none other than Chef Gary Mehigan. Presented by Amex, in association with BMW and Etihad Airways, this series was showcased in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi for over 100 executives of multi-billion dollar organisations across industries and is the first-of-its-kind to be held in India.
This sit-down dinner was crafted by Chef Gary to reflect the beauty and grandeur of the world’s most acclaimed wonders with a menu aptly named, the Seven Wonders of the World. Featuring culinary delights from Peru, Brazil, Jordan, India, China, Egypt, and Italy, the menu has been inspired by the most memorable moments from the Chef’s travels throughout the world.
During a press release held in Riwaz, the north Indian cuisine restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Bangalore, Chef Gary showcased one of his favourite recipes from the menu. Inspired by the Nikkei culinary flavours of Peru, that tends to blend with Japanese cuisine, the Scorched Salmon with caramelised miso mayonnaise, ceviche pickles and edamame, was a treat to the senses! Visually delightful, it harmonised the rich soft texture of Norwegian salmon, the flavours of umami and ceviche, and was a light yet complex dish.
Chef Gary concocts culinary masterpieces based on his travels throughout the world – what he enjoyed eating and what he took back with him, from the place. He strongly believes in using local ingredients wherever possible. In a previous visit to Bangalore, Chef Gary visited the famous Russell Market and was blown over by a truck full of cauliflowers, straight from the farm. That sight remains one of his favourite memories of India, and is the inspiration behind the Butter Roasted Cauliflower dish he created to represent India on his Seven Wonders of the World menu. He finds the smells and flavours of this grand continent intoxicating, and has used fresh fennel pollen and green fennel seed to flavour the cauliflower caramelised with butter.
According to Chef Gary, tradition is often over-rated as it stops us from thinking out-of-the-box. This reflects on his carefully crafted seven-course menu. Taking cues from the most thought-of ingredient of the place and putting it together with an unrelated ingredient, and playing with the interesting blend of flavours, his Seven Wonders of the World menu was an exceptional delight to the discerning palates of extensively travelled gourmands.
The Brazil-inspired dish was a blend of tastes of char and smoke and the sea. The Moqueca crustacean veloute with sweet onion puree, bottarga and Brazil nut is a rich fish soup from Afro Brazilian culture. The Compressed Watermelon inspired from Jordan, was a refreshing dish with the richness of labneh, hibiscus syrup, and green almonds. It aptly emulates the sensation of rich spices, citrus, rosewater, and juicy watermelon to quench your thirst on a hot day. The heady power of ginger, garlic, and soy with the added flavours of black sesame and spring onions has been used for the white cooked chicken inspired by Chef’s travels in China. The slow-cooked lamb shoulder with toasted grains, dhal, pine nuts and kohlrabi, from Egypt is inspired from kusharie and biryani, with playful Australian twists. And the final course from Italy, is inspired by the corridors of trees growing around the bay of Palermo, and by the magical summers in southern Italy. Conco d’Oro has a beautiful texture and fragrance from the lemon curd and olive oil semi freddo, golden meringue, orange syrup, and candied and fresh citrus used to create this heavenly dessert.
The Amex CEO Series dinner was held at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore on 15th September, 2016 and was hosted by noted epicure Vir Sanghvi.