Author and Chef Michael Bennett has been Bimini Boatyard’s chef ever since he returned to the U.S. from his three year expedition working through the Caribbean. Chef Michael Bennett tells a story about the foods of the Caribbean through his dish – that won “Best Overall” recipe – at this premiere Fort Lauderdale foodie event.
Chef Michael describes his Caribbean Escolar as an ode to the Caribbean nations he has visited. Meaning; each part of this recipe represents a vast array of Caribbean cultures via the ingredients that he uses. Escolar is a white tuna and it is found in the waters off Florida’s west coast and the waters around Mexico’s Pacific Ocean. First chef Michael dusts the Escolar fillet with a spice rub composed of a Caribbean spice palette of; pink and green peppercorns, mace, ginger and “just enough of a good thing” – cocoa. “It is tribute to the western Caribbean’s Incan culture”, says Chef Michael Bennett. The actual addition of Cocoa was made to heighten the flavor profile of the north Florida Oak grilling of the Escolar.
As the fish cooks, it absorbs the flavors from the grilling and to counteract the grilling char he added a French Caribbean beloved flavoring, Frangelico in the beurre blanc that he uses to nappe the Escolar. Of course, Frangelico has a great flavor profile for dessert chefs, but Chef Michael has proved that Frangelico is not just for Crème Anglaise anymore. “The richness of Escolar and the Frangelico Beurre Blanc calls to me for balance this dish with an acidic yin and yang”, says Chef Michael. So he pairs the dish with a Kimchee made from a characteristic Caribbean market basket, consisting of papaya and pineapple. Chef Michael Bennett says, “It goes a long way to bring this dish into the Caribbean cuisine realm and also acts as the perfect foil to the Escolar’s richness, along with the flavor profile balance”.
Chef Michael also added a texture related counter-balance with the crunch of Tobacco onions. The ideal to add texture balancewas to revise a classicCaribbean cooking premise and present the Escolar in a snappier, more memorable, exciting and groomed manner. The notion of total plate counter-balance was in vogue back in the early ’90s. Nouvelle cuisine taught us well. Small portions of exceptionaly subsequent plate oppose-balancesand beautiful food, is now the model rather than the exception
About Chef and Author Michael Bennett:
Chef Michael Bennett’s first cookbook,“In the Land of Misfits, Pirates and Cooks”,has been revised to be 100 percent Gluten-Free.This cookbook is the result of chef MichaelBennett’sequating and collaborating hundreds of years of compelling Caribbean food and cookery elementswith a Gluten-free scope. This book is overflowing with a scrumptious mix of seasoning blends and marinades, salads, appetizers and entrees written in a way whereyou are the aspirant chef and,YOU can compose or alter recipes while atop the stove.
The modern metropolitan recipe styling captures adistinct local flavor,one that illustrates amulti-national cookery heritage. Vibrant photography, easy to use design, one-of-a-kind recipe flow, interesting and helpful sidebars and an unique concept of using QR (Quick Response) codes, blend to create the perfect sampling of what this modernized, Caribbean based cookery style has to offer. This Gluten-free cookbook was developed as a way of changing the idea that Caribbean cuisine is only “curry powder” or a “jerk glaze”repertoire.
Chef Michael asserts that after working as a chef for the past four years in applaudable Caribbean dining venues, each has played an important role in the successful dispatch of this book. Michael’s travel and oeuvre throughout the Caribbean, whether on a British, American, French or Spanish island nations, has helped Michael to shape this unprecedented recipe collection.
Miami, Florida ~ Chef and Author of three cookbooks, Michael Bennett the Executive chef of Fort Lauderdale’s Bimini Boatyard, judged “Best Overall” by New Times magazine.