A Jamaican Fiesta heats up the month of May at MLH

There are so many yearly celebrations in Jamaica, jazz, reggae, calypso, arts but MLH is proud to celebrates its festival of food starting with a Beach BBQ with Calypso music on May 8. Then Cinco de Mayo a festival of great celebration with Mexican food and not forgetting the Tequilas and Margaritas will dawn the month of May on May 5.

The Caribbean cooking style by Chef Michael Wedderburn heats up MLH in from May 24-29, 2011 including a Slow Food Night on May 28 on the Paradise Beach.
Chef Michael Wedderburn, Executive Chef at the Shakespeare & Company, in Lexington, Kentucky is the chef under the spotlight. Born and raised in Jamaica, Michael Wedderburn worked as chef in Jamaica. His kitchen career after the cruise lines was Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Buckhead. After two years he joined the Opening Team for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Sarasota, Florida as an Executive Sous chef.

Michael was promoted to Hotel Chef and then was repositioned at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in 2005 as the Café 4570 restaurant’s Executive Chef. After seven years with the Ritz-Carlton Hotels. In 2006 he joined the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, a Loews Hotel, as the Executive Chef. In 2007, he joined Hershey Resorts as the Lodge Executive Chef at the Hershey Lodge. Chef Michael now oversees all banquet operations for the 665-room property with more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space and 10 outlets.
Shakespeare & Company insisted he joins them in 2010 to assist in opening up their first restaurant in the United States. At present Michael is the Executive Chef for Shakespeare & Company Lexington, Kentucky. Chef Michael’s culinary specialties are French, Caribbean and Mediterranean including giant Chili Cook-off inspired food with indeed the Jamaican Jerk.

The real Jamaican jerk is seasoned with a lot of onion, garlic, thyme vinegar, soy sauce pimento, black pepper and lots and lots of scallion and scotch bonnet pepper. In olden days the meat was wrapped in pimento leaves and placed over live coals in the pit on a stick then covered until done. Yes that is exactly how it will be done at MLH, states Chef Wedderburn.
The Winemakers Night on May 21 will allow guests to get up close and personal with the makers of their favourite tipples. From chatting to multi-award-winning winemakers to taste a tailor-made menu to suit palates and moods of the guests at the night, all conjured up by the global chefs of MLH.
May 8, 2011 also showcases the Mothers Day Sunday Jazz Brunch with all the trimmings. A Mother’s Day to Remember indeed. “You’ll dine on a sumptuous menu prepared by MLH’s award-winning culinary team,” says Anura Dewapura, General Manager Mount Lavinia Hotel.

A total mex-experience for kids on May 22 at the Paradise Beach from 3.30 p.m. onwards. Fiesta Mexicana is an evening dedicated to kids to learn about celebration: Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Hispanic Heritage Month are just a few occasions to celebrate with a fiesta. Celebration is the epitome of Mexican culture, and the games that will be played at the evening is passed down through generations.
Both children and adults play these fiesta games, which are considered a family activity as well as educational. Hence come and enjoy this evening with the whole family: Mexican Hat Dance, crack the Pinata and let the real excitement begin, Native Mexican Kickball, Count the Chips, Spanish Words Game, are just a few of fun events that will take place.


Proper garnishing

A garnish is something decorative or an embellishment that is added to the food to increase its visual appeal.
How can garnishing increase the visual appeal of food?
A garnish can provide:
• Textural interest
• Colour
• Flavour enhancement
• Height
• Harmony where the dish is composed of several disparate elements
• The ‘wow factor’
Garnishes don’t need to be complicated and intricate. It is more often the simplest ones that are the most effective.
Choosing an appropriate garnish
Chopped curly leaf parsley used to be the ubiquitous garnish, haphazardly scattered over all manner of savoury dishes. At the other end of the scale, intricate creations like tomato or radish roses and cucumber butterflies were seen as the height of sophistication. Nowadays it is more generally accepted that any garnish should be appropriate to the dish not a random decoration.
Many dishes can look rather flat as though they are missing something, adding a garnish provides that finishing touch and instantly enlivens the food. The right garnish can transform an otherwise dull and lifeless dish into something spectacular. It’s the food equivalent of make up – perfectly acceptable without, yet enables an amazing transformation with!
How to select an appropriate garnish
One of the easiest ways to choose a garnish is to look at the ingredients used and see if there is anything within the dish that can be singled out to use as a garnish, either as is or in a slightly different form.
The following list gives a few ideas on how singling out ingredients can be the inspiration for various different garnishes:
• Ground almonds – flaked or chopped almonds or praline
• Chopped rosemary – sprigs of rosemary
• Chocolate – chocolate curls, cacao nibs or a dusting of cocoa powder
• Orange juice & zest – orange slices or orange zest or glace/candied strips peel or slices
• Prawns – whole prawn with shell
Another way to select a garnish is to choose foods that are commonly accpeted as ideal accompaniments:
• Lamb – mint, rosemary, redcurrants
• Beef – horseradish, mustard, bay leaves
• Pork – apples, sage, onions
• Eggs – chervil, nutmeg, paprika
• Fish – dill, tarragon, capers
In some cases there may be a combination of ingredients that will work well together as a garnish, but be aware of over garnishing which will detract from the dish rather than enhance it.


Splendid seafood at Cinnamon Lakeside

Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo is dedicating three days this month to a gastronomic journey through the oceans. The day’s catch will be brought out to the Terrace overlooking the waters of the Beira and the hotel’s infinity pool. It is an idyllic setting for the seafood promotion which will take place from May 4-6.
“Being surrounded by ocean that teems with exotic seafood freshly available to all us Sri Lankan natives, is truly a blessing,” says Neroy Marso, General Manager of the Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo. “We need to celebrate this and therefore, bring to all our patrons; the ‘Splendours of the Sea’ promotion!” During these three days, guests can revel in a selection of seafood including Red Snapper, Oyster, Sea Bass, Seer, Prawns, Crabs, Tuna, Oysters and Handallo. Guests may also order Lobster, which is not included in the buffet but can be served at an additional Rs. 680++++ per 100g if requested.
Once the selection of seafood is made, the diner is presented with a variety of preparation methods to choose from. Be it Chinese, Thai, grilled, fried or devilled, with the assistance of the Chefs on hand who will advise you on your choices, the meal promises to be a flavoursome treat. The seafood will be accompanied by an extensive international dinner buffet consisting of salads, pastas, rice and lasagna, along with a variety of vegetable and meat dishes followed by a spread of desserts.
Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, true to its word, offers affordable indulgence for all ages, making the seafood buffet available to patrons at just Rs. 1,500 ++++. Beginning at 7.00pm, food will be served up until 11.00pm. Considering the popularity of seafood amongst diners, it is advised to make a prior reservation. For this and further information, the hotel may be contacted on 2491998.


Give Mum a treat to remember this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated all around the world on May 8. Hilton Colombo too is getting ready to give that special person the best. Two of their outlets have been especially reserved for this occasion.
To start off with an extravagant, Sunday Brunch will be served on Sunday, May 8 where mums will be treated like Queens. A complimentary glass of sparkle along with a gift awaits all mothers. You can also enjoy the pool free of charge. Kids can take maximum advantage of lots of candy floss, Playstation 2 and have great fun with the entire family.
Hilton Colombo’s Spoons will also dish out a very special four-course set menu during lunch and ala carte menu for dinner. Mothers will receive a complimentary drink on the house along with a rose. Spoons the hotel’s “stylishly casual” restaurant is famous for its prime cut meats and fresh seafood using the best of ingredients.
Fine Things pastry Shop will also have beautiful designer cakes, hand-made chocolates available from May 6 onwards. If you want a special flower arrangement done, you may call Fine Things 24 hours in advance and make your order. Gigi De Silva, Marketing Communications Manager of the Hilton Colombo said, “Our team is looking forward to pampering all mums on their special day.” Advance bookings are recommended.”
For more details you may call the Food & Beverage Office on 2544 644 or log into www.colombo1.com


Salads; a complete meal
Salads to me have been one that is purely restricted to being a dietician’s best friend. Earlier I used to think that these are meant to be only on the menus of those on a health spree. However, whether the salads have undergone a complete makeover or I have had a rethink “it” all made a great difference. On closer introspection and trying to understand the making and importance of salads has made me look at this beautiful and delicious dish from a totally new perspective. Salads have now come to assume centre stage in my menu whether it is a daily menu or one for a gathering.

Salads for me today is one that propagates healthy eating on one hand, and on the other it offers a lot of scope for creativity and innovation. It is the best way to bring in the greens, fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the garden to my table. With a simple and tasty dressing I have a complete meal that is ready in minutes.
What I personally like about salads is that there are some basic principles for combining a salad and the rest is all yours to decide. I am my own boss and am not tied down to using anything in particular. I add apples if I like or else just have to keep the overall taste and blend of ingredients in mind and choose another ingredient.
A large lettuce leaf that forms a perfect base and an assortment of vegetables from potatoes to beet or maybe beans, that’s the way for me. If fresh fruit is the choice then apples, oranges - the choice is truly unlimited -just have to keep my palate in mind. For hardcore non-vegetarians like me too there is a treasure house waiting to be explored. From the traditional never fail chicken salad to a slightly more innovative version of including shrimps, sausages or any other meat of my choice. I truly believe that the world of salads is an empty canvas waiting to be painted with the colours of your choice.

All this without compromising on the nutritional aspect is what makes me go crazy about salads. With a high nutritional value it is a great choice whether for kids or for adults.
Salads are not only a wonderful treat to the tastebuds but also are a visual treat. The colourful combination of varied ingredients makes in absolutely irresistible to dig in and scoop out a whole spoonful. The goodness of greens, fresh fruits and vegetables is what makes the salad so special. With a beautiful and creative presentation, your salad can form a beautiful centrepiece at your next party. Compliments galore - that’s how the surprise for the evening is going to unfold for you.

A few tips that would go a long way in putting together a delicious salad:
Choose ripe and fresh vegetables it will make a great difference both to the taste and appearance of your dish.
It would be best to go in for local produce or fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Harmony in taste is one that you need to keep in mind. However, this doesn’t limit your scope of experimenting. A good blend of ingredients would only add to the taste of your dish.
Make it colourful and interesting -one that appeals to your taste.

As I mentioned earlier, and you are all set on the road that is best experienced through your own discoveries.
With TV dinners getting popular by the day, a great tasting salad that combines the goodness of a variety of ingredients like tomatoes, broccolis and chicken or shrimp for the non-vegetarians. Enjoy the match of your favourite football team with a bowl of freshly made salad. Make a healthy beginning with a great tasting salad.


Joey Lewis at Margarita Blue

Sri Lankan born singer/songwriter Joey Lewis, will be performing at the Margarita Blue of the Galadari Hotel from May 7.
Joey who will be stopping over in Colombo on his way back to the UK, after performing in Australia at a charity show organised by Sri Lankan promoter Bertie Ekanaike, will be performing with Sri Mirage. Two of the members of the band, Benjy and Donald were founder members, with him and Tony Silva, of the pop/rock band ‘Amazing Grace’, a group that has left a lasting footprint in the western music industry of the country.
Joey is an unwitting Neil Diamond sound-alike and is a big draw when he does his ‘Neil Diamond’ shows.
It was his manager in the UK in the early 80’s who pushed him to acknowledge and exploit this talent and he soon became one of the highest paid performers in the club circuits there at that time, singing the music of the great man. It is said that, after hearing him sing at an industry party, Sheila Ferguson of the ‘Three Degrees’ had said that he was nothing short of fabulous and that Neil Diamond had written a whole lot of good songs for Joey to sing. It was of course a very courteous gesture of kindness, Joey always hastens to add. The late Leslie Crowther, a legendary TV personality and the father in law of ‘Thin Lizzy’s’ Phil Lynott said that it was an extraordinary experience to listen to Joey sing, as if you did not see him you would expect no one else but Neil Diamond to be up there on the stage.
What of course was really significant about all this, is that all this happened before sound-alike’s and lookalikes came to be a business, so it is possible that Joey was one of the pioneers of that side of the music business, which is now a huge industry in its own right.
His career crossed over from music to acting and he appeared in many successful TV shows in the UK, getting the chance to work with some of the greats.
Joey has been associated with some of the great names in the music and television business in the UK and is very proud of the success of his once keyboard player, who he nurtured in the UK. Eric Caudieux, who went from strength to strength, working with Trevor Horn from the ‘Buggles’ to Guns ‘n Roses is now with the legendary Joe Satriani.
Joey recently wrote a song for one of the great sons of the nation Murali, titled Murali 800 (King Of spin). The ringtone of the song has been released and is available in Sri Lanka through operator networks.
Visiting his mum, the famous Jazz Singer, Myfanwy Pompeus-De Silva, in Sri Lanka and being able to spend his birthday there, in May after nearly 15 years, Joey is really looking forward to performing at the Galadari Hotel and meeting up with all his friends.