Rum and Food Pairings: A Spirited Experience
“We are rum people’’ continues to resonate in the minds, hearts, and bellies of friends and family. So what happens when such smooth liquid is infused with the most decadent of dishes? A spirited experience like no other!
Rum, according to Chef Damion Stewart, is a significant part of Jamaica’s culture. He not only embraces the spirit of his country, but he also shows support in whatever way he can as well. “In our kitchen, [Broken Plate], we use both white and red rum a lot. This will always be one of my little ways of supporting my country.”
The culinary mastermind went on to explain that the selections are something that he thinks about at great length, choosing to keep the dishes simple yet wow taste buds in the process.
At the recent Kingston leg of the Jamaica Rum Festival (JRF) media launch, scores of A-listers, rum drinkers, and food lovers met in a season of merriment for what is anticipated to be JRF’s best staging yet. Timing the world’s reopening, organisers of the festival decided to switch up the location to the island’s Second City, Montego Bay, with plans to pique palates with spirited taste. Providing an extraordinary epicurean experience for the evening was none other than Chef Stewart, who enlisted the pastry expertise of Zein Nakash, who created the desserts.
To cook up these mouthwatering delights, he used some of the favourites already starring in his restaurant’s line-up.
“The crowd definitely loved the coconut shrimp. We made a coconut white rum sauce to pour over the shrimp. The bacon-wrapped dates with blue cheese were quite popular as well, topped with a Honey Appleton 62 drizzle,” he said. He also made special mention of the other items on the night’s menu, like the chicken lollipop with a rum guava BBQ sauce and the oxtail and feta cheese wonton cup.
Stewart, the 2012 University of Technology graduate, has performed as a chef de cuisine at Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited under the brand’s CRU Bar and Kitchen, CPJ Deli and corporate from 2013 to 2016. He then went on to showcase his skills at Uncorked Wine Cheese and Bistro as a chef de cuisine from 2016 to 2017. In 2018, he decided to take his abilities up a notch, sizzling as a chef while tapping into the world of entrepreneurship with Broken Plate Restaurant.
“Broken Plate has been a dream before I even knew it. It’s hard work but it’s the perfect job or career for me. Kwasi [Henry] and I have been working assiduously to ensure that our product is true, not just a popular restaurant. But a popular restaurant that gives great food, wine and cocktails. We, however, have to give it up to the team; they are the real deal,” he shared.
If he is to be honoured with the opportunity to be a part of the event’s culinary team this summer. In that case, Chef Stewart aims to showcase the intricacies, complexities, and niceties of rum from its early stages of sugar cane to where it is now, ensuring that guests in attendance are taken on that journey as well. After all, that’s the whole mantra behind this fused experience: tantalising the palate with food, love, and good spirits.