Gourmet cuisine pairs well with Bee Gees
As much as I appreciate and enjoy all the wonderful music created and performed by the Bee Gees, I have to confess that their music and singing (as channeled by the visiting Australian Bee Gees) was over-shadowed and out-matched by the superb culinary creativity demonstrated by our local celebrity chef, Veronica “Ronnie” Perez (of Cup & Saucer and Firefly fame), who led us on a six-course Italian-inspired gastronomic odyssey with remarkable wine pairings.
I had not been back on Guam for 12 hours when I received a call from “Uncle Jerry” Calvo who requested my presence at a special event at the Sheraton. It was my writing night and I was already suffering from jet lag, however, when I arrived and saw the menu, I was re-energized and ultimately excited by the presentations and tastes that would indulge my palate. Let’s briefly explore these highlights and let the photo presentations convey what words can barely reach!
For the antipasti course, Chef Ronnie put a glorious plate out that drew audible gasps of delight and excitement from the assembled audience of some of the island’s top social echelons. it was a dazzling presentation composed of seared foie gras, sweet baby greens, strawberries, toasted pistachios, with a balsamic glaze. This was paired with a Windy Peak Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay, which accented the strawberries and bubble scrubbed the foie gras. Chef Ronnie’s selection of ingredients entertained the foie gras like I’ve never had it before. This was a playful, delectable, and imaginative dalliance.
This was followed by the primi (first course) which was a pumpkin gnocchi, with carbonara sauce and sage, joined by a Barton & Guestier Passeport Pouilly-Fuisse! Again, Chef Ronnie pushed the envelope past any of our usual collective pasta experience using pumpkin as her base ingredient. It was brilliant and well-received. The wine stood up magnificently with its intensely rich bouquet and full-bodied structure, leaving a creamy aftertaste that was smitten with the sagely carbonara sauce!
Continuing on this cuisine crusade came the pesci (fish) course, which was a Norwegian salmon, with curried risotto, and a citrus-cashew gremolata. This was betrothed to a glorious Sofia Riesling, which had a combination of nuanced flavors on par with Chef Ronnie’s complex course. Curried risotto (a first) and her gremolata had an unexpected nuttiness that won favor with the wine and enhanced the salmon’s flavor profile.
For her intermedio (pause) Chef Ronnie put out a refreshing and palate-washing lemon basil sorbet, which was essentially what it sounds like but with full Technicolor tastes from fresh basil and lemon.
The “carne” (meat) course was awesome (and strained the superlatives). It was a peppered American Kobe filet of beef with roasted Yukon gold potatoes, wild mushroom ragout and white truffle oil. Partner with this was the Barton & Guestier Passeport Saint-Emilion. This is probably as good as it gets to where European fine-dining meets an American-Japanese tour de force and finds a dynamic synergy from its forced encounter. The legendary Saint-Emilion performed an oenological absolution to this dish blessing it on its journey to oblivion.
In respect to Italian dining protocol, Chef Ronnie provided a formaggi (cheese course) with Italian fruitcake, parmesan, gouda, and white cheddar, all to be quashed down with the muscular Barton & Guestier Passeport Medoc.
A final send-off was in the dessert course (Dolce) where her last conjuring was a trio of ice cream, with each accented with contrasting elements that produced amazing outcomes. Vanilla paired with extra virgin olive oil – you really get to know ice cream and olive oil – not just Popeye’s girl friend! Strawberry and Balsamic Reduction – a Wow Plus! Chocolate ice cream with Frangelico - this we could do a lot! Delicious. A plateful of cookies accompanied the ice cream partnering, complete with her signature colorful macaroons!
What an amazing, unparalleled dinner! What Bee Gees? No, they were very good, awesome in fact. Still, it was Chef Ronnie’s night all the way!!
Ken ”The Guam Food Guy,” Stewart