Lifestyle

CHEF ON THE RISE: Ainsley Lambie, Executive Chef at Coyaba Beach Resort

COUNTDOWN TO THE 16th Annual Table Talk Food Awards — Thursday, May 29, 2014 NOMINEE # 2

Chef Ainsley Lambie Executive Chef, Coyaba Beach Resort

Thursday, January 30, 2014    

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While he considers his time spent whipping up creative concoctions in kitchens everywhere, from Italy to the United States, invaluable, Executive Chef at the Coyaba Beach Resort Ainsley Lambie is proud to call himself Jamaican. Hailing from the cool climes of Great Pond in St Ann, this culinary virtuoso is destined for even greater things. Certified as Pro Chef by the Culinary Institute of America while attending the HEART Academy, Lambie has worked his way up the ranks of some of the island's top hotels; including The Ciboney Hotel, Half Moon Club, The Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, Tryall Club, and Boscobel Beach Hotel. His enthusiasm for what he does is almost contagious, and his creations are an absolute treat for the senses. Thursday Life gets to know the man behind the magic.

My passion for food started... years ago when as the oldest child of six children I was the one cooking at home for the family as both parents 'worked out'. My mom's family was great with food so I guess it's in the genes, but truly my mom and grandfather taught me a lot. Those days we only cooked with fresh herbs and spices and the food was great, I still remember those native flavours. At school it grew more when I did a course in food and nutrition where on many occasions I prepared basic dishes for my teachers and classmates, the look on their faces was pleasing to me, so from that day I decided I wanted to see more pleased faces.

I have been in the business for... 24 years and it's been a bittersweet road, but in this profession it's all about the love for food, either you're passionate or not, during these years I have worked at the Ciboney Hotel now known as Sandals Grand Ocho Rios, then overseas for sometime. I came back to Jamaica where I joined the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and worked my way to sous chef at the White Witch Restaurant, (also while at the Ritz-Carlton I worked at some of their properties in Miami, Coconut Grove and Naples, Florida; I was also certified by Culinary Institute of America). I then moved on to Half Moon Hotel as chef de cuisine for Sugar Mill Restaurant, after which I was the executive chef for Tryall Hotel for three years. I also spent a little time at Beaches Boscobel Hotel then was given the opportunity to be the executive chef at Coyaba Hotel where I have been for the last three years.

My larder must-haves are...

a variety of Jamaican products I can find like pimento, jerk spices, ginger, curry powder, limes, cilantro, basil, rosemary, peppermint, peppercorn and Scotch bonnet pepper, there are more but I'll stop here.

What keeps me passionate about food is...

the creation of new dishes and the different types of cuisine and how they just mix and come together like a beautiful rainbow, but this rainbow is tasty, and just having our guests saying Jamaican cuisine is great.

Jamaica is a great food destination because...

of the various types of fruits, vegetables, fish, herbs and spices we are blessed with, and we need to spread this to the world. Our hotel guests marvel at the quality of our food, so we need to do a better job educating the people on how to utilise old versions of our foods and modernise it to international standard and share with our people and the world.

We could be even greater if...

in most of our hotels, we push Jamaican cuisines especially in the dishes served, including techniques, spices and herbs should be present and would make our identity seen. Just think... the work of great food will always spread, and that should be the new Jamaican cuisine.

RECIPES

Escoveitch Lobster Cakes

Ingredients:

1 oz chopped lobster meat

1/2 tsp chopped sweet pepper

1/2 tsp chopped basil

1/2 tsp chopped escallion

1/2 tsp chopped onion

1 clove chopped garlic

1/2 tsp chopped cilantro

Salt to taste

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

1 egg white

Olive oil to sautée

Escoveitch sauce

Method:

Season lobster meat with garlic, salt and pepper. Grill until cooked (do not overcook). Allow to cool. In a medium bowl, add chopped lobster, sweet pepper, basil, escallion, cilantro, mayonnaise, mustard, breadcrumbs and egg white. Fold together. Add salt to taste. Mould into round shapes and use additional panko to coat. Pan-sear in olive oil and serve atop with escoveitch sauce.

Jerk Lobster Summer Roll

Ingredients:

1 oz chopped lobster meat

1 oz Julienne red bell pepper

1/2 tsp Julienne green bell pepper

5 grams Julienne carrots

5 grams Julienne red onions

1/2 tsp chopped basil

1/2 tsp chopped garlc

1/2 tsp chopped Scotch bonnet pepper

Salt to taste

1 cup cooked rice noodles

1 cup spread lettuce

1 tbsp sweet chili sauce

Jerk marinade

2 sheets of spring roll paper

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss lightly. Immerse spring roll sheet in warm water until soft.

Add mixture on wrap and roll. Serve with a guava dipping sauce which is a combination of one tablespoon of sour cream amd 1 tablespoon of guava puree.

Papaya Lobster Salad

Ingredients:

1 oz chopped lobster meat

1 oz diced papaya

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 clove chopped garlic

1/2 tsp chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp fine diced red peppers

Salt to taste

1 clove pepper

1 tbsp chopped basil

2 tbsp mango juice

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp vinegar

Fresh lime juice

Method:

Cut lobster in half. Season with garlic, olive oil and bake. Allow to cool, then medium-dice lobster. Make dressing by whipping together mayo, vinegar, mango juice, mustard, lime juice, and sugar. In a bowl, add the lobster meat, onions, peppers, cilantro, basil, papaya, lightly toss with dressing. Serve with baby green lettuce.

Pumpkin and Lobster Ravioli

Ingredients:

1 oz chopped lobster meat

1 oz chopped blanched pumpkin

1/2 tsp chopped basil

1/2 tsp chopped escallion

1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp chopped Scotch bonnet pepper

Salt to taste

1clove pepper

1 tbsp Pepper Jack cheese

14 wonton skins

1 egg white

1 cup olive oil to fry

Method:

Season lobster meat with chopped garlic and olive oil. Sauté until cooked (do not overcook). Allow to cool. In a medium bowl, add chopped lobster, pumpkin, basil, escallion, cilantro, Scotch bonnet pepper and pepper jack cheese. Fold together and add salt to taste. Brush wonton wrap with egg white then add filling, brush another wonton skin and place on top with Scotch bonnet guacamole. To make dip, add sour cream to guacamole and chopped Scotch bonnet pepper.

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