The Harvest Dinner series at the Brasserie in George Town was in full swing Thursday night, as roughly 25 guests shared warm laughs and delicious family-style cuisine.
Brasserie General Manager Kyle Kennedy gave diners detailed tours of the outdoor, organic farm as they sipped on pink grapefruit margaritas with Cayman sea salt foam.
The range of fresh produce was remarkable, with fruits and vegetables like plantains, mango, radishes, eggplant, watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce, all in various stages of growth.
Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres of local black snapper sashimi with soy pickled garden cucumber, and braised lamb crostini with garden mint and olive salsa.
Chef Dean Max then said a few words about the concepts behind the organic farm.
“We’re really passionate about localism and enhancing the farm to table concept,” he said. “So pass around the food, enjoy the wine, and have a good time.”
The first course started with one of the highlights of the night — local tomato gazpacho — accompanied by garden leaf greens with local lemon and lime, Florida pink grapefruit, pickled red onion, sliced garden radish, poached North Sound lobster and a citrus vinaigrette dressing.
Guests learned each other’s names and stories as they passed each dish around the table.
If one didn’t know any better, one would think that this was a large and loving family out to dinner, where everyone was smiling and enjoying each other’s company.
A couple from Connecticut — Herbert and Ineke van Wyngaarden — were vacationing in Grand Cayman and decided to partake in the dinner.
“We like to try different islands every time we come to the Caribbean,” Mr. van Wyngaarden said. “And we really enjoy trying new and different foods.”
They sat with locals Sandy and Natalie Urquhart and it didn’t take long before they felt right at home.
Their plates were filled with parma ham and mozzarella flatbread with garden sweet and Thai basil, partnered with a Chateau St. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc from Washington State.
Cooked in the restaurant’s Caja China box, the chefs served a marinated pork shoulder with Brasserie garden pak choi kimchi and Yellowtail Snapper escabeche.
The fish was caught Thursday morning with the Brasserie’s very own boat, “Brasserie Catch.”
Local roasted pumpkin, sautéed calaloo and turnip tops, sautéed garden eggplant, gloden beets, garden white turnips, braised red cabbage, local purple kohlrabi, steamed basmat and new potato salad with dill and fennel accented the pork and fish.
As the Chateau St. Michelle Syrah flowed, perfectly matching flavours with the second course, guests became fast friends.
Dinner guests savoured local lemon meringue tarts, nanaimo bars and garden basil panna cotta while sipping on a dessert Chateau St. Michelle late harvest Chenin Blanc — all wines were provided by Blackbeard’s Fine Wines, Beers and Spirits.
They listened to local farmer Kirkland Nixon talk about the science and art behind growing the perfect tomato.
“I’m not a farmer, I’m a gardener,” he said, explaining how tomatoes need a lot of sun and very little water.
He talked about the two basic varieties, the soil, the temperature needed to produce the favoured yield, and the importance of the season.
The night concluded as seemingly old friends that only hours earlier were new acquaintances exchanged emails and phone numbers.