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Celebrating Colin Hylton

Thursday, April 22, 2021

“Just trying to stay relevant and current with well-executed events, because for a while I had lost the vibe and fell off the radar. I am clawing my way back to the top. Hard but necessary.” — Caterer extraordinaire Colin Hylton

Colin Hylton's sudden passing on Tuesday, April 6, certainly sent shock waves throughout the country. There was no doubt, however, that he was back and at the top of his game.

Thursday Food has chosen not to mourn his passing. He would have hated that since he always boasted of his joie de vivre and took every opportunity to not only live, but to also encourage others to follow suit. We take pride in sharing aspects of his palate-pleasing reductions as we remember his words: “Anybody who knows me hears it all the time. Life is not a dress rehearsal; we do not get a second take. This is the real deal — go big or go home. Too many persons are alive without really living. They are unconscious of the many small and beautiful things. The smell of rain or night jasmine, someone's look of unconditional love, helping unselfishly”.

Cheers to you forever, Colin x

Published: August 16, 2018

A Dream Marriage Of Dishes By Chef Colin Hylton

Twelve years ago NYC chef Bradford Thompson married Jamaican Kerry-Ann Evans-Brown at Round Hill Hotel and Villas. The top chef-studded ceremony took place on Saturday, August 5, 2006. Chef Thompson, named as one of Food and Wine's Best New Chefs in 2004, received the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South West, a few months before his nuptials.

The weekend of activities was centred on food. Naturally. A modern Jamaican feast that included jerked suckling pig, red snapper run down and salt fish fritters was prepared by the Round Hill kitchen, run then by executive chef Trevor Duncan. Only Round Hill and the happy couple could get the great Daniel Boulud to eat run down! Other star chefs attending the event included Johnny Iuzzini, who was then the executive pastry chef at Jean Georges and Café Nougatine; Salumeria Biellese head honcho Paul Valetutti; Riviera Produce principal Benjamin Friedman; and local chef Colin Hylton of Guilt Trip.

In 2006 Guilt Trip was the place to see and be seen and Chef Hylton's gateaux were legendary. No wonder chef Bradford Thompson had Hylton do the dessert table for his wedding. The divine treats included rum and raisin cheesecake (remember Guilt Trip's rum and raisin cheesecake? Swoon!), mango parfait, Guinness dacquoise, white chocolate June plum bombe and passion fruit and tamarind crêpes. The weekend was, in a word, unreal.

Fast-forward 12 years, Chef a day) and their adorable children Cassius and Lucea were on The Rock to celebrate the couple's anniversary. Close friends of the couple, Annette Francis-Barnett and husband Mark Barnett, decided to host an intimate dinner party at their home to celebrate the anniversary. As a surprise, chef Colin Hylton was asked to cater the event. And, man does he still have it!

His menu coa day) and their adorable children Cassius and Lucea were on The Rock to celebrate the couple's anniversary. Close friends of the couple, Annette Francis-Barnett and husband Mark Barnett, decided to host an intimate dinner party at their home to celebrate the anniversary. As a surprise, chef Colin Hylton was asked to cater the event. And, man does he still have it! His menu comprised spiced chicken and pig's tail stew; oxtail lasagne with hoisin and ginger; ackee and red herring with vine-ripened tomatoes. Tomato and radish salad with pickled artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes; smashed and minted English peas; lentil and celery salad; lemony asparagus with Scotch bonnet and capers; steamed jasmine rice with parched coconut; and ripe avocado (pear) with a good slick of freshly squeezed lime juice. To finish things off, passion fruit gelée with fresh blackberries and mango, and a carrot cake/ cheesecake gateau. Apologies for you being hungry right now.

Thursday Food does not have enough columns to do Chef Hylton's meal justice. It exploded with flavour. It was also unfussy — an indicia of a confident chef who doesn't need contrivances. Each dish was strong and could easily be judged individually. The chicken and pig's tail stew was spectacular. Done in a deep and rich Malaysian red curry, the meal would make a Lipitor user double up on doses and dive in. It is in simplicity that you find true beauty, and chef Hylton's minted English peas dish was just that — a thing of beauty. Only a skilled chef can make green peas that satisfying.

If you're not an ackee lover, our apologies. The ackee with red herring was so well seasoned that it could only be described as moreish. Perfectly cooked ackee gently sautéed with red herring, vine-ripened tomatoes and enough Scotch bonnet to make you say “yes, chef!” But not so much that you're panting and asking for a glass of milk.

The meal was a dream marriage of dishes.

Just a note about Cassius and Lucea Evans- Thompson. To be that young and possess such laser focus when it comes to food is inspiring. Their poise belie their years and they could easily engage the adults in conversation. Both siblings made a study of every dish on the table, and even knew to stay away from the Scotch bonnet peppers. They assisted chef Hylton in plating the evening's dessert. From what Thursday Food witnessed, they are definitely a couple of future James Beard Award winners!

Guests exchanged stories from the wedding day and friends caught up over an amazing meal. It's hard to think of how the event could have been improved. Oh, maybe to witness Daniel Boulud eating some of that chicken and pig's tail. Thursday Food is certain that he'd love it!

Published: August 10, 2006

Sweet & Dandy: Big Fun and a Fine Feast @ Round Hil

l It came together exactly a year after that wonderful Independence supper hosted by DB&G's Assistant VP, Treasury & Investment Kim Edwards. The wedding, that is, of James Beard chef of the year, Food & Wine chef of the year and chef de cuisine at Mary Elaine's at the Phoenician, Scottsdale, Arizona, Bradford Thompson.

Thompson was in the kitchen on that occasion. This time around, he traded in his clogs and whites for a custom-built cream and black pin-stripe suit complete with a dusky pink silk tie and became the nervous groom standing on the perfectly manicured lawns of Round Hill Resort & Spa, awaiting his beautiful Jamaican bride Kerry-Ann Evans-Brown.

But how does a foodie couple plan a wedding not just for themselves, but one that piqués the interest of some of the world's celebrated chefs and restaurateurs especially when the engagement party was held at Daniel, in New York — an establishment that's rated as “one of the 10 best restaurants in the world” by the International Herald Tribune and of which the venerable New York Timesdeclares, “There is no food in France better than what you'll find at Daniel”.

Kerry-Ann and Bradford contracted the services of 'attention to detail' pro Carole Fullerton and afforded their guests (some 115) the sights, sounds and tastes of the island before the big day. Guests feasted on jerked chicken, pork and sausages at Scotchie's with copious amounts of Red Stripe Beer. The rehearsal dinner — The night before — held at Dervy's Lobster Trapp, became, in the words of the couple, “not your typical rehearsal dinner but laid-back good times... food, rum and reggae... a real Jamaican lyme.”

And on their special day, post-wedding cocktails facing the Caribbean Sea comprised Round Hill Jamaican patties; plantain chips with the most delicious curry dip; smoked marlin bruschetta; fruit kebabs; crab cakes; rotis filled with curried pumpkin; crab salad on cucumber; glasses of old-fashioned lemonade; fresh coconut water (with the meat too); rum punch and sangria.

A Jamaican wedding feast followed in a family setting “typical”, according to groom Bradford, “of the compact fit when riding a minibus”. It worked, as guests certainly got to know each other.

To begin… Heirloom tomato salad. Lightly smoked marlin. Mixed green salad. Spicy crab cakes. Salt fish fritters.

Followed by… Red snapper rundown. Jerked suckling pig. Curried shrimp accompaniments… Jamaican rice and peas. Seasoned steamed callaloo. Fried bammies. Roasted sweet potatoes. Sweet plantains.

The pièce de résistance came in the form of the wedding cake and dessert station.

The four-tier abstract wedding cake, with every layer 'constructed' at a different angle, and with details of the bride's exquisite lace gown with intimate family memoirs of ladybugs and butterflies, was created at Round Hill by acclaimed executive pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini III, of New York City's 3-Michelin star restaurant, Jean-Georges. Iuzzini created a piña colada cake with ingredients of roasted pineapple with piña colada cream and coconut sponge soaked in Appleton Jamaica rum.

The dessert station, created by Caribbean pastry whiz Colin Hylton was a veritable smorgasbord of sweet treats — rum and raisin cheesecake, mango parfait, Guinness Stout dacquoise, white chocolate June plum bombe, sweet potato bites, plantain tarts, gizzadas, passion fruit and tamarind crepes.

Published: July 17, 2014

Guilt On the Go

If time doesn't allow for indulging in Guilt's scenic wrapped-verandah locale at the stately Devon House mansion in Kingston, then one can still delight in the eatery's decadent fare through its recently introduced Guilt “To Go” lunch menu.

Guilt chef and owner Colin Hylton has packaged his creative dishes into artfully decorated boxes for those short on time, and maybe short on extra cash. “It is to appeal to a wider customer base,” Hylton told Thursday Life. “People can only afford so much these days.”

And though the packaging has changed, patrons can still expect to enjoy Hylton's sublime twists on local favourites — don't expect to find your everyday curried goat when ordering out at Guilt. “We don't do the regular thing,” Hylton said. “That's why we add the jasmine rice to the curried goat — to add an interesting flavour.”

While there are certain staples like the curried goat and the divine roasted chicken salad, lunch patrons can expect to see menu options change daily. “It depends on what's available — what's fresh and seasonal,” the celebrity chef told us.

Guilt's “To Go” lunch menu doesn't offer delivery service as yet, and Hylton has so far kept a low profile on the lunch option in order to refine the service. But response to the new dining option has already been positive from both individual and corporate patrons, Hylton said. “I remember the Hendricksons started by ordering 10 [meals] one week. Then it went to 45 meals the next. Then 65.”

Guilt “To Go” is available during lunch hours at Guilt — Tuesday to Friday: 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Editor's Note: Both takeout options get two nods of approval

Published: March 15, 2018

Meatless Monday Chef Potluck — PART 1 —

My late mother used to say “you must live good with people”. How right she was! I consider my chef and food producer friends family. During my 10 years of working in food on the island, I have established a strong and incredible network of passionate culinarians who have supported me from JuicyChef to Kingston Kitchen and now Meatless Monday Jamaica. I have called upon them to spread the Meatless Monday message throughout the island and without hesitation those I have communicated with so far have said, JuicyChef, we are with you. What do you need us to do? How blessed to be loved and to share a sincere fellowship with industry peers! There is strength in unity. Jamaica has an amazing food corps of individuals, from humble street-side cook shops to five-star properties, daily vanguards of local food culture.

Chef Colin Hylton was a member of Jacqui 'Juicy Chef' Sinclair's food family for the Meatless Monday Jamaica launch/potluck.

Who: Colin St A Hylton, chef, culinary consultant and ex-restaurateur

Dietary Profile: Carnivore

Dish: Scotch Bonnet Peppered Couscous I wholeheartedly endorse Meatless Mondays as a brilliant healthier lifestyle. I myself have now embraced this at least three times per week and the health benefits have been stupendous. For me, a fair amount of weight was lost concomitantly leading to a new wardrobe as my clothes started falling off. A lot of my health indicator numbers happily declined. I'm feeling all of 16 again.

Inspiration: The inspiration for my dish is to show how couscous. an underutilised product in Jamaica, can be jazzed up and packed with Caribbean flavours and healthy colourful veggies, providing essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. This can be a lovely side dish or a main with the addition of some smoked tofu and cashews.

Published: May 4, 2006

Pastry chef to dazzle guests at Almond's Taste of the Tropics

It's official! Pastry chef extraordinaire Colin Hylton will be chef-in-residence from June 8 to 11 at Almond's Taste of the Tropics. During Hylton's stay in Barbados he will, in addition to serving delightful afternoon teas, spend time introducing his eclectic pastry designs to the staff of Almond Beach Resort & Spa.

Almond Beach Resort & Spa's operations manager James Samuels, in Jamaica last Saturday for final discussions with the 15-year pastry veteran, sees this as an opportunity for Caribbean chefs to share skills and ideas. “It's a win-win situation for us all,” said Samuels. “We are (those of us in the industry) for the most part unaware of each other's talents. It's time for that to change… We can perhaps envisage breakfast in Jamaica, lunch in Antigua and high tea in Barbados… What a magical vacation that would be.”

For Hylton, it is “an immense privilege. It's something I've always wanted to do. Naturally I'm hoping to make a formidable impression, but most importantly the wish is for greater communication and exchange of ideas. We are all Caribbean people in search of excellence.”

Published: September 13, 2018

The Adtelligent 8@8 Dinner Series: Jerk Rice and Cultural Appropriation

Cultural hotbeds embrace controversy and Adtelligent 8@8 Dinner Series follow that format. For its first event, the topic was: jerk rice and cultural appropriation. A few weeks ago, Thursday Food highlighted that world-renowned chef Jamie Oliver was peddling a microwavable-ready meal called “punchy jerk rice”. Oliver was accused of cultural appropriation (“the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society”) by a number of Jamaicans including Dawn Butler, the MP for Brent Central in north-west London and the Labour Party's shadow minister for women and equalities. This egregious move by Oliver also caused a worldwide debate as to what culinary cultural appropriation looks like versus paying homage.

Digital marketing agency Adtelligent decided not only to tackle this question head-on but also challenge local chef Colin Hylton to make, well, you guessed it, jerk rice.

Dinner began at 8:00 pm (hence the name) but the rousing conversation began before the soup course was even served. Speaking of dinner courses, Hylton prepared a smoky split pea soup with ham, classic pumpkin bisque, jerk rice with caramelised plantains and sausage, mango peanut salad and lychee cheesecake. The pea soup had layers upon layers of flavour only intensified by the smokiness of the ham and jerk seasoning and the earthiness of the split peas. The pumpkin bisque was creamy and delicious — we wouldn't expect anything less from chef Hylton. But Thursday Food is confident that you're burning to know if rice can be jerked. Put it this way, if a Jamaican chef with the pedigree and inventiveness of Colin Hylton does it, then, kinda. Hylton toasted the rice and built the flavours in the pan similar to how one would make a paella. The toasty notes would mimic that of jerk and the jerk seasoning added the flavour profile that Jamaicans can quickly discern. Compared to Oliver's “punchy jerk rice” with its eggplant, red jalapeño peppers and lemon juice, this version can easily be embraced as a bona fide Jamaican dish, even though 's not. This flavourful interpretation of jerk rice was paired with a Thai-inspired green mango and peanut salad with parched coconut and coconut dressing. The serving of the main course segued into a debate on authenticity.

The evening served as both food history lesson and brainstorming session on how to protect the intellectual property that is Jamaican jerk. Suggestions ranged from having jerk training accreditation akin to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana — the organisation that promotes and protects true Neapolitan pizza — to government institutions taking local chefs to present on the main stage of festivals like the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Published: November 15, 2012

Salut! Colin's Cuisine

The culinary talent of Chef Colin Hylton was called upon for an outdoor Salut!-themed dinner hosted by Tina Matalon, Rebecca Packer and Lisa-Gaye Chin at the luxe upper-St Andrew residence of their long-time friends, Duane and Elizabeth Marzouca, last Wednesday evening. Being a Hylton-catered event, the menu was decidedly gourmet fare with four fantastic courses and two decadent desserts. Sipping cocktail mixes and engaging in friendly conversation, the dinner party of 10 enjoyed a sumptuous Salut! in an Aiesha Panton-decorated setting. We share scenes.

Published: July 30, 2009

Hylton Gets Another Salt fish Nod

For participation in the Norwegian Seafood Export Councils (NSEC) Seafood Culinary Adventure Kingston leg, Champion Norwegian Chef Sven Renaa (right) presents a certificate of participation to Chef Colin Hylton of Guilt Trip. The event was held in the Gardens of the Jamaica Pegasus on Tuesday, July 28.

Published: October 25, 2018

A D'vine Dégustation

The 2018 Jamaica Food & Drink Festival's D'vine event lived up to the name (and hype). Chefs Colin Hylton and Christina Simonitsch created an eight-course menu that at some points made guests giddy with delight. Select Brands carefully chose four wines to accompany Hylton and Simonitsch's menu.