IRG chefs prepare to go head to head

The Bermuda Sun Mar 22 2013
By Mikaela Ian Pearman

 Zaid Khan of Hog Penny and Suresh Amarathunga of Barracuda Grill beat out five other chefs and will face each other in the finals. Both restaurants are part of the Island Restaurant Group.

Mr Khan competed on Monday Night and Mr Amarathunga on Wednesday night. The chefs were given a box of ingredients each night courtesy of Butterfield and Vallis.

They were tasked with creating three different canapés from the box, one hot, one cold and one discretionary item.

Mr Khan and Mr Amarathunga will compete for the title of Best Canapé.

The Hog Penny chef told us what his winning 
dishes were. “I made a chicken wings and a take on a spicy buffalo wing vol au vent and I also made a confit chicken wing with Asian stir fry, chicken caramel and crispy chicken skin. I wanted to show the flexibility with the chicken wing.”

Mr Khan also did a take on coronation chicken.

“We had 30 minutes. Before, we had to make 50 canapés for the guests as an example of one of the ways I was doing.”

Asked how he felt to have won the first round, the chef said: “It was okay. It’s always a bit of fun. It’s always fun to see people’s different interpretations of what the rules are and what they come up with and how they see food.”

He continued: “I’m Australian and I’m French-trained. That would be my interpretations to what a canapé is.”

Chef Amarathunga cooked Spanish-style meat canapés in the first round along with two other dishes. “I also made flank steak lollipops with local rum and ginger glaze,” he said. “Another was a Malaysian-style curry on a lentil cracker.”

Asked how he felt about the win, Mr Amarathunga said: “I felt pretty good with that because there were another two more contestants there. It was all about small canapés. I used to do a lot of canapés at Barracuda Grill.

“Mostly, I work with the French chefs and trained in the French training school back home in Sri Lanka.”

He continued: “I felt pretty awesome because it’s the first time I have done it in Bermuda. I’m looking forward to the finals.

“I hope they keep doing it and really encourage the chefs to do different things in front of the audience.”

Phil Barnett, President of IRG said: “ I think it is a further testament to the quality of our Chef de Cuisines at our restaurants, and I’m glad they are willing to put their reputations on the line to compete.

“I will go out on a limb and say the quality overall of chef talent on this island from the largest hotels to the smallest bistros is outstanding. 

“Some of the best meals I have experienced in the world have come from little old Bermuda, from the likes of Eddie Smith at Ascots, Serge Botelli at Lido, Michael Scott at Fairmont Southampton, and of course our own Executive Chef Derek Myers.”

The final competition will be held at the Bermuda Gas Showroom starting at 5:30pm. Tickets are $30.