La Chaîne tries Michelin

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(L to R) Dr. Iain Corness, Jens Heier, Amari Orchid Pattaya’s executive chef; visiting chef Thomas Kammeier, and Ranjith Chandrasiri

 

The local chapter of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs descended upon the Amari’s Mantra restaurant last week to sample and enjoy the dinner produced by Michelin Star chef Thomas Kammeier.

Chef Thomas, from Hugo’s restaurant in Berlin, is a Michelin One Star chef, and he flew in to join the Amari’s executive chef Jens Heier for the Chaîne dinner.

Like other Michelin Star chefs when traveling, he brought many of his own ingredients with him to make his special sauces, even though this meant he was 70 kg overweight for the flight!  With his reputation at stake, he was leaving nothing to chance.

Front row (L to R) Martin van Bree; Dinie de Vries; Janneke Simoons; Sukanya Seaton; Chitra Chandrasiri; and Ria Hesling; Back row (L to R) Willem de Vries; John Seaton.

Following the reception in Mantra’s wonderful cocktail bar area, the Chaîne members (naturally wearing their chains) were escorted through to the private dining section for the first of five courses, to be followed by cognac and single malt whisky at the end.

This first course was Canadian lobster carpaccio, tatare, blood orange and lemon ginger sherbet accompanied by a Saint Joseph Blanc 2006, Guigal, a wine which has received Robert Parker’s judgment with a 90-92.  The 2006 St. Joseph Blanc exhibited more smoke, honeyed grapefruit, and floral scents along with an acidity and excellent depth.  A great start to the dinner.

The next course was probably my personal favorite for the evening, the cod fish and Fin de Claire oyster, pan-fried, with a cucumber, lemon veloute.  This was teamed with the Louis Jadot Petit Chablis, one of the most famous dry white wines in the world; this was taut, mineral and crisp with fresh zesty acidity and a stony character making this the quintessential un-oaked Chablis.  This wine was also the wine of the evening for me, though always remember that wine is a very personal judgment.

(L to R) Chitra Chandrasiri, Ranjith Chandrasiri, Peter Windgasse, and Alfred Madl.

For the third course we were spoiled with a line caught sea bass with crispy, coffee orange carrots, tarragon pistou washed down with a Chateau Carbonnieux 2004, Pessac Leognan Blanc, an interesting wine style which was purchased by a Sultan of Turkey many centuries ago as he thought it was a mineral water and the monks who made the wine were quite happy to keep up the pretense.

The fourth course was a Nantaise duck confit, celeriac purée, with apricots, accompanied by a Crozes Hermitage 2004, which had a very heady nose of red fruits, cherry and strawberry with delicate oak aromas.  It needed a strong wine to go with the distinct taste of the free range French Nantaise duck.

After a breather, we came to the final course, the dessert of pineapple and Pina Colada sherbet compote.  This was accompanied by a Gewurztraminer Les Princess Abbes 2006, Domain Schlumberger, a Gewürztraminer from Alsace and one of the world’s most exotic and distinctive wines.  This archetypal example has concentrated lychee, rose petal and raisiny scents, and the palate is spicy, exotic and lingering, with typically soft acidity.

(L to R) Dr. Iain Corness, Elfi Seitz and Steve Ryser share a laugh during the evening.

At the end of the very special evening, certificates of appreciation were given to chefs Thomas and Jens and the kitchen brigade and the service staff received personal certificates by which they will always be able to remember the evening they worked with a Michelin Star chef.

For those not aware of the Michelin Guide, originally, the concept of stars was promoted by the Michelin tyre company wishing to promote driving, and thus increasing their sales of tyres.  The Michelin Guide awards one to three stars to restaurants of outstanding quality.  One star indicates “a very good restaurant in its category, worth a stop.”  A two-star ranking represents “excellent cooking, worth a detour”, and three stars are awarded to restaurants offering “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”  By the way, a three-star Michelin ranking is exceedingly rare.  As of late 2009, there were only 26 three-star restaurants in France, and only 81 in the world.

Further information on the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs can be obtained from the Bailli, email [email protected]