Five chefs, two nights, 12 courses

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The second Pattaya Gourmet Festival was held at the Amari’s Mantra restaurant between March 17-22 and featured five international chefs spanning Chinese, English/Greek, Australian, French and German nationalities, resulting in a wonderfully different culinary experience for the diners.

The Dining Out Team was fortunate to be able to be part of the festival for two of the six nights, with the first being the Stonefish Wines gala dinner and the second the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs dinner.

(L to R) Steven Snow, Maria Elia, Chan Kam Yuen, Kai-Uwe Klens, Miss Sarantorn Srinoi, CEO of Sri Siam Wines, and Peter Papanikitas, CEO of Stonefish.(L to R) Steven Snow, Maria Elia, Chan Kam Yuen, Kai-Uwe Klens, Miss Sarantorn Srinoi, CEO of Sri Siam Wines, and Peter Papanikitas, CEO of Stonefish.

The Stonefish dinner began with the first course from chef Chan Kam Yuen of a marinated chicken breast with Chinese herbs.  A very delicate dish with the accompaniment of a Stonefish Brut Cuvee NV, a wine that was not out of place with Chinese cuisine.

The second course was from vivacious chef Maria Elia (Joe’s restaurant in London) featuring pan-fried scallops on a slice of Greek soutzouki sausage, watermelon and an oregano raisin vinaigrette.  Contrasting spicy, sharp, sour, sweet and different textures, this, on retrospect, was the dish I enjoyed most from the two evenings at the Gourmet Festival.  The wine with this was the Stonefish Sauvignon Blanc 2011, with a clean edge to allow the various tastes to be appreciated.

Chefs on ice (L to R) Yannick Cayrol, Kai-Uwe Klens, Chan Kam Yuen, Steven Snow, and Maria Elia.Chefs on ice (L to R) Yannick Cayrol, Kai-Uwe Klens, Chan Kam Yuen, Steven Snow, and Maria Elia.

Third course came from seafood chef Steven Snow of Fins restaurant Australia and was a very pleasant crab chowder with sashimi scallop and prawn oil, assisted on the palate by the Stonefish Chardonnay 2010.

Steven Snow backed up for the next course with an amazing Moroccan tagine of sea bass coated with African spices with the traditional chemoula, sweet potatoes, dates and preserved lemon.  (“Tagine” refers to the special pot used to cook this dish.)  The Stonefish Chardonnay continued for this course.

Next course was a lime and basil granite from French chef Yannick Cayrol, from the IndoThai restaurant in Dubai (perhaps he has cooked for a certain ex-prime minister?)

(L to R) Drs Narin, Piya and Pattama and Ranjith sample an early wine.(L to R) Drs Narin, Piya and Pattama and Ranjith sample an early wine.

Chef Yannick continued with the sixth course of grilled milk-fed veal ribs with butternut ravioli scented with citrus grilled smoked belly and veal jus.  The butternut ravioli was superb.  The wine was the Concerto, a Barossa Shiraz, 2008.  A great wine and we savored this course.

The final, and seventh course, was from the Amari’s executive chef Kai-Uwe Klens and featured different balled melons marinated in anise, lemongrass and tarragon.  Flavors all the way and when taken with the Stonefish Flying Finix Botrytis represented a wonderful end to the evening.

Our second evening at the Pattaya Gourmet Festival was the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs gala event.  Again the first course came from chef Chan Kam Yuen who produced an amazing spicy jumbo shiitake mushroom salad.  These mushrooms come only from the Yangtze Delta close to Shanghai and were hand-carried by chef Chan himself.  The wine was a Leon Beyer Reisling 2006 vintage from Alsace and had enough sweetness to contrast with the sharpness of the spices.

The second course came from Maria Elia, a crab salad with shaved fennel and white asparagus imported from Provence.  The colorful addition of edible flowers made this a very interesting dish, and one I enjoyed very much.  The wine was a Joseph Drouhin Chablis Reserve de Vaudon 2009 and complemented the crab.

The third course was another imaginative dish from Steven Snow, an Arroz de Marisco, a Portuguese style seafood risotto with prawn, mussels and fish.  This course took three days to produce the pastes, such as charred capsicum.  The wine was a Borie Manoux, Saint Emilion 2009, which was also used in cooking the risotto, so it teamed up perfectly.

Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Bailli Ranjith Chandrasiri presents certificates of appreciations to chefs and staff.Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Bailli Ranjith Chandrasiri presents certificates of appreciations to chefs and staff.

The central point of all Chaîne des Rôtisseurs dinners is the roast.  This was lamb cooked by French chef Yannick Cayrol, who presented lamb with eggplant with a citrus-cardamom sauce.  It went very well with the Rocca della Macie Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOCG 2006 wine (matured in oak barrels for two years).

The fifth course from Amari executive chef Kai-Uwe Klens was an iced black forest cherry cake with chocolate ice-cream.  The wine was the very popular Valfiere Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2010.  Just a few bubbles to tickle the palate and just slightly sweet to go with the black forest cherry cake.

Wonderfully indulgent two evenings at the Mantra, and my personal thanks to the Amari for the opportunity to experience five chefs, two nights, and 12 courses.