Plenty on offer to tempt your tastebuds

The Royal Gazette Mar 22 2013
By Nadia Arandjelovic

Scores of restaurants will set up booths just off Front Street as part of the second annual City Food Festival, which kicked off at the start of this week.

It brings an opportunity to taste a range of food and beverages; entertainment will include competitions to determine the Island’s best fish chowder, fish cakes, rum swizzle and loquat jam.

Organiser Thomas Lightbourne of City of Hamilton, said the event was a great way for people to discover all that restaurants and bars had to offer.

“They can just stop by and get food and have some fun,” he said.

Burrows Lightbourn Ltd has brought in a representative from Dewar’s. Gabe Cardarella will do demonstrations featuring their scotch from 7.45pm until 9.15pm.

Participating companies will offer free samples of some brands of liquor throughout the day; drinks will also be on sale to adults for the duration of the event.

Head chef Antonio Belvedere of Bermuda Bistro at The Beach will offer samples of different types of sliders and the restaurant’s famous Bistro burger.

He said the burger was a cut above others offered on Island because it’s made using homemade patties of certified Angus beef, rather than the frozen variety.

The chef took part in a festival cooking competition at Bermuda Gas earlier this week. He and two other chefs were given ingredients and asked to make three types of hot and cold canapés.

Mr Belvedere made a Dark ‘n’ Stormy chicken pot pie by marinating the chicken with black rum and fresh ginger. He also improvised on the spot to make a curry chicken lollipop and a vegetable crostini topped with celery, raisins, tomato, onions and a citrus balsamic vinegarette.

He didn’t win the event, but the recent Bermuda College’s culinary arts graduate said it was a “good experience” to go head-to-head with more experienced chefs.

He’s now considering entering tomorrow’s competitions for the best fish cake and fish chowder. “I’d probably enter just for the challenge,” he said.

“We do a good fish chowder and fish cakes at The Beach, not year round, but we do it occasionally as a special. They are pretty much traditional recipes, but we add a few secret ingredients here and there.”

He said he was looking forward to the taking part in everything the day has to offer, not just selling food.

Executive chef Derek Myers will represent the Island Restaurant Group Pickled Onion, Barracuda Grill, Hog Penny and Victoria Grill.

They will be roasting a variety of meats fresh that afternoon, including two pigs from Wadson’s Farm, grilled wahoo and marinated chicken and beef short ribs.

Mr Myers described the effort as “a fun barbecue style of food that everyone can identify with”.

He encouraged people to come out to the festival.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity to have a family-friendly space and atmosphere that is promoting the city restaurants, and to see what everyone can do.

“A lot of times you can’t get to visit or taste all the different restaurants, but this way you can see what they are serving and meet the friendly people who work behind the scenes serving drinks and food for everyone.”

Mr Lightbourne said the festival was also meant to showcase all that the city had on offer. Past City of Hamilton events include fashion shows and summer concerts in the park.

“There will be great live entertainment provided by [the band] Working Title, and a fun, safe environment for people to come out with the family and enjoy the day,” he said. “It’s forecasted to be a great, sunny Saturday and most people come into the city with the kids for dance practice or to run errands or whatnot anyway.”

Entry to the City Food Festival is free. Food can only be sampled by purchase. Tickets are $10 each, or $40 for a package of five.

Raffles will also be available, with the chance to win a variety of prizes.

The event takes place from 2pm until 10pm at the Number One Car Park on Front Street. Cooking competitions start at 6pm.