17 May 2023
World Baking Day is 17 May, so we talked with Petit Paris' Bruno Deluche and Gelato & Co.'s Marcella Morelli about what makes a good pastry and what you should try next time you stop by.
Q: What makes a good pastry?
BD: The use of good and fresh ingredients.
MM: Ingredients, the way it’s made and the skills of the pastry chefs.
Q: What separates your pastries from the rest?
BD: A lot of pastry shops use cheap ingredients such as margarine and frozen fruits to lower the food cost, but at the end the taste is not there. Most French pastries are made with rich cream and butter as well as fresh fruits. Natural, organic products are the key for taste and the final product.
MM: I think the secret is in the preparation time and only using quality ingredients.
Q: What’s your favourite pastry on your menu?
BD: The croissant and macaron.
MM: The Italian cheesecake, which is an old-style family recipe.
International Burger Day falls on 23 May, and who doesn’t enjoy a good burger? We sat down with Dylan Benoit of Carnivore and Sian Weinzweig from The Edgy Vedge to talk about how to make your burger really sizzle.
Q: What makes a good burger?
DB: A great burger starts with great meat. The bun plays a key role and you need excellent toppings to accentuate the flavour of the burger, but if the meat is inferior quality then everything else will fall flat. At Carnivore we use USDA Prime-grade meats ground in house for all of our burger patties. We use 100% chuck for our Classic Cheeseburger, meanwhile our Prime Time Burger is a blend of Prime-grade tenderloin, Prime striploin, Prime ribeye and a little bit of dry-aged, culminating as the ultimate steak burger. You should always avoid lean and extra-lean ground beef at all costs. A burger must have fat content for a variety of reasons — not least of which is the flavour — but also for the emulsification of meat and fat when you're mixing and forming the patties which results in the best texture. It also makes a much juicier burger in the end. Most people also under season their burgers. Be generous with the salt; it makes a huge difference.
SW: It’s all about the sauce! We make our sauces in house to add deliciousness to every single burger bite.
Q: What separates your burgers from the rest?
DB: As far as I know, we're the only restaurant in Cayman using Prime-grade beef that's ground and blended in house, which means we have total control over the quality, texture and flavour of our patties. We also use fresh, locally baked buns and bread so no part of your burger has been frozen, which makes a massive difference in the final product.
SW: Our burgers don’t contain any animal products, which is the first separation. We also offer a choice of patty. You can choose between a house-made black bean patty or the "Beyond Meat" brand of patties.
Q: What’s your favourite burger on your menu?
DB: The Prime Time is the ultimate burger topped with aged white cheddar, hickory smoked bacon, our house-made naturally fermented pickles using local cucumbers, artisanal lettuce, fresh tomato and garlic aioli and served on a fresh bun.
SW: The Big Vedge Mac! It’s our vegan version of a Big Mac and ridiculously good. We generally recommend this with the Beyond Meat patty to people who are trying a vegan burger for the first time.
Celebrate International Chardonnay Day on 25 May by having a glass or buying your favourite bottle. West Indies Wine Company’s Sommelier Will Loyd and Blackbeard's wine specialist Charlie Nicholson gave us some great pointers on what to look for in a quality Chardonnay.
Q: What makes a good Chardonnay?
WL: It all comes down to balance. It is a grape that lends itself to a wide variety of styles, but the best examples flawlessly combine richness, acidity, alcohol and depth of flavour.
CN: A good Chardonnay is one that is true to the inherent flavour of the grape, its terroir and how it’s made. When it displays big flavours such as vanilla, buttered toast, custard or even more fruity notes of green apple, pineapple and tropical fruit — all with the right lever of acidity — then you know it has been well made and therefore can be a truly amazing wine.
Q: What are your favourite Chardonnays?
WL: Some of the most enticing Chardonnays made today are coming out of Oregon and Australia. These wines combine the effortless ripeness of the New World with the balanced acidity and freshness of the more traditional producers in France. Two of my favourite producers are Lingua Franca, in Oregon, and Giant Steps, in Australia.
CN: We are very lucky at Blackbeard’s as we have many amazing Chardonnays to choose from all over the world. From South Africa, Glenelley Estate Reserve Chardonnay with tones of butterscotch, vanilla, apple pie, citrus and stone fruit, which lead to a long and textured finish. From France, Louis Jadot Steel Chardonnay is a beautifully flinty minerality wine with aromas of citrus and white flowers. From the U.S., Cakebread Chardonnay is a bright, creamy, stone fruit wine with hints of mineral, yeast and oak spice. From New Zealand, Cloudy Bay Chardonnay with layers of attractive ripe orchard fruits and ripe peach on the nose, framed by subtle spice and gentle notes of roasted hazelnut.
This article was originally published in the May 2023 print edition of Camana Bay Times.