Please note that non-halal ingredients are mentioned in this article.
Our Culinary Business Manager Joan regularly hosts community culinary events with renowned food critic Brandon Stoltenkamp such as Chefs at Home. In this blog post we hope to share with you even a little of what a wondrous experience it was!
On May 19, it was a German edition with JW Marriott Steakhouse's very own Chef de Cuisine; Chef Stephan Benkendorff.
Chef Stephan happy with his Grassfed Striploin purchase!
The event is called Chefs at Home and showcases a talented chef residing in the beautiful capital of Abu Dhabi, cooking a menu of their choosing. It could be a fine menu, rustic menu or something in between! Sometimes it is held at a residence and other times in a hotel residence apartment.
Our German Chefs at Home experience took place in a lovely apartment in the heart of Abu Dhabi of the Csuzis’, who hail from Hungary. The high ceiling and panoramic views, allowed by gigantic windows, gave a light and airy feel to the evening.
Beautiful simple setting, a home away from home.
Our guest list was interesting and intimate, with dynamic beings from all walks of life and professions permitting intelligent conversations over fine European aperitifs and Prosecco.
Brandon pouring aperitifs for the evening.
We knew it was going to be a German experience and so expected stereotypical dishes like schnitzel, potato salad and heavy weissbier (wheat beer). Oh how we were greatly mistaken!
The menu was long, hearty and placed us side by side with Chef's childhood. Many of the dishes incorporated his grandmother's recipes and flavors.
We began with a fine presentation of canapés on multi-level wooden logs in the living area where Chef used La Carne Grassfed Striploin for his version of happen tartar. At a price of 50 dhs he was able to create steak tartare enough for 7 people! A bargain indeed.
Chef's Happen Tartar, which needs no filter.
The second dish appeared as a forest trail of brown and green which we then laid with a thick green pea soup engulfing us in a very sophisticated myriad of vegetable and pork flavors.
Grandma's Pea Soup
The third dish brought us to the streets of Germany where one can be found snacking in a corner on currywurst and crunchy fries.
Curry Wurst and fries, german comfort food at its best!
The ultimate main course had us completely speechless with beer braised pork knuckle over pork lard mashed potatoes, alongside white wine steamed mussels.
6-hour beer braised Pork knuckle on a bed of the most luscious hotel-style mash mixed with pork lard.
A foodie's weakness- green lip mussels in a comforting white wine broth.
Last but not least, the evening was crowned by an incredible cheesecake topped with an irresistible sour cream frosting and berries.
You know a dessert is well done when the crowd is so full, but still eats the whole dessert.
We mustn’t forget the beautiful wine pairing done by Brandon which let the evening flow exceedingly well with Zonin Prosecco to a South African Chenin Blanc and a Hungarian Pinot Noir. Beer made an appearance with the curry wurst which was a fitting decision indeed.
This was our longest Chefs at Home experience, sending us home only at around 2am as we helped clean up! It was a humbling moment to reflect the experience brought by Chef Stephan which clearly needed much time for creativity and reflection. It was more than just a meal. He gave us his heart in those dishes.
Thanks for reading!
Joan, Culinary Business Manager
Chef de Cuisine at JW Steakhouse,
Cooking in his free time
Instagram: @bmstoltenkamp @thebrandonstable