The chef in charge of this establishment is Carl Kheeroo, and besides his ability to charm visitors with food, he is also a keen dancer at local clubs.
Carl showed us how to prepare three of the local dishes. On our recipe sheets the difficulty-rating was average but you should have seen the ingredients list!
He started off with a Crab Meat and Palm Heart Salad. I don’t think I have ever eaten palm heart and our video guy was a little twitchy at the thought of eating ‘heart’.
The specific palms do not grow far from the Chateau and when the outer bark is stripped off, the middle is white. Palm hearts come from the White Palm which is now cultivated on the island specifically for gastronomic use and can be eaten raw or cooked.
The salad is given the pompous name of Salade du Millionaire, probably because the trees need to grow for at least six or seven years before they are cultivated. Once the tree has been chopped off, it’s head never grows back.
“This you have to marinate quickly, otherwise it goes brown,” he explained about the slices of palm heart, in a thick French accent. Once the crab and palm heart has been marinated separately, they are then combined and served with sliced tomato.
The main meal he prepared was chicken curry. With a large part of the island’s population being Hindu or Muslim, chicken or fish is the preferred staple. Beef, lamb and pork is imported from Australia, New Zealand or sometimes South Africa. It was a mild curry given a bit more of a zing with the addition of a side dish containing chopped onion, tomato and green chilli. Served with some plain white rice or bread, the flavours were inviting and the food colourful.
He ended the demonstration meal with banana flambé with rum and cinnamon. To make the dessert would require four bananas some sugar, rum a cinnamon stick and orange juice. Served with vanilla ice cream it turned out to be the favourite dish of the three.
What was there to take from all of this? The simplicity of the ingredients. Nothing is over complicated, nothing is spiced to death, it is a combination of flavours that work well together. And of course presentation which I think is an art but something that can be taught.
We are here courtesy of Le Telfair – www.letelfair.com