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Island treasures: the Eat Jersey food festival at the Atlantic hotel

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Island treasures: the Eat Jersey food festival at the Atlantic hotel
Written by:

At the end of last year, chef Mark Jordan and hotelier Patrick Burke played host to the first Eat Jersey food festival, which showcased the island’s fine produce. Amanda Afiya took in some of the delights

 


Mark Jordan

This Saturday, the Atlantic hotel’s executive head chef, Mark Jordan, will be guest-cheffing at the renowned Obsession food festival at Northcote in Langho, Lancashire.

Along with the likes of Tom Sellers from Restaurant Story in London, three-Michelin-starred chef Annie Féolde of Restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, Italy, and two-starred chef Jean-Luc Rocha of Château Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac, France, Jordan will be strutting his gastronomic stuff as part of the 16-day event, created by The Caterer’s recent cover boys, Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft, and now fêted the world over.

On top of its obvious marketing success for Northcote, the 16-year-old Obsession event has also proved to be something of an inspiration to chefs and hoteliers further afield, and can be credited for galvanizing a similar event at Jersey’s beautifully situated, four-AA-red-star Atlantic hotel in St Brelade.

Eat Jersey, which took place in November, ran across three days and saw chefs from the across the British Isles and France joining the family-owned hotel to celebrate the island’s luxury ingredients.

Over the course of the weekend, guests were invited to attend one of two gastronomic evenings at the Michelin-starred, four-AA-rosette Ocean restaurant – it was matched with fine wines by head sommelier Richard Burton and Champagne from the house of Taittinger – with the festival concluding withan all-day dining event at bistro Mark Jordan at the Beach, run by Jordan’s wife Magda, where Jordan and head chef Tamas Varsanyi created an exclusive menu.

Speaking of the inspiration behind the event, the Atlantic’s owner, Patrick Burke, whose father opened the hotel in 1970, says: “We are passionate about promoting the wonderful produce available from both coast and country on our beautiful island. Eat Jersey has been a number of years in the making, and we were delighted to welcome so many highly respected chefs to Jersey.”

The festival has also proved to be another plank in the “layer upon layer” of marketing effort within the business, says Burke. “It is absolutely driven by the idea of putting Jersey on the map, and through that, hopefully, our brands – the Atlantic hotel, Ocean restaurant and Mark Jordan at the Beach – and Mark and I see it as becoming integral to everything that we do and becoming another brand, another level of interest around what we’re doing which we’ll be talking about on a year-round basis. So Eat Jersey is really about marketing.”


The view from the Atlantic

The hotel also had the advantage of having both its flagship Ocean restaurant and its bistro on the beach to showcase, but Burke imagines there will be the opportunity in future years to involve other venues on the island, such as one night at the Atlantic and one night at Lawrence Huggler’s Bohemia, for example. Bohemia chef Steve Smith, meanwhile, was more than happy to cook at the Atlantic on the first night, and Huggler dined front of house as a guest.

“What we’ve discovered, which is not a great surprise, is that it is hugely expensive to put on something like this. There’s a lot of hard cost associated with public relations, with advertising, with getting people to Jersey, and so on. So we are seeking to recover as much as we can through sponsorship. What we would say to someone in year two or three, is ‘come and be a part of what we’re doing, but please give us a contribution towards our marketing costs’.”

Measuring the success of such an initiative can take as much as three years, he explains. “I don’t think you can do it in one year. If, after three years, we could do this and not lose any money, that would be a win because the win comes in the recognition, in the PR – it doesn’t come financially.”

From Jordan’s perspective, his focus is broadly on the atmosphere in the dining room and the execution of the dishes. He thinks the debut event went swimmingly well. “There were no hiccups to the format and a great line-up of chefs, although we were very sorry that Éric Chavot was unable to be with us in the end [for personal reasons]. It was a great period over the three days with lots of different styles of food,” he says.

For the line-up, Jordan brought together local chefs that he had worked with before, and chefs that he knew well throughout the industry. “It was quite easy to sign the chefs up – in fact we’ve already got Nathan Outlaw and Kenny Atkinson for 2016. I don’t have much room for egotistical chefs, and the guys I do know are really solid, really approachable, and nice guys in general. I couldn’t have worked with mavericks.”

Who you choose to come into your kitchen is, of course, of great importance to your brigade. Guest cheffing can bring a huge opportunity to exchange knowledge and educate more junior members of the team, and it’s important that the invited chefs respect the culture of the kitchen they are entering.

For Jordan’s brigade, used to their boss’s laid-back style and way of working, it was an insightful exercise. “Keith Floyd taught me about food and flavour and not to ponce around with ingredients. Adam Smith and Michael Wignall are what I would describe as completely focused chefs, which was an eye-opener for my team, but it’s important to take them out of their comfort zone a little. I try and mix it up with different chefs – some new, some old favourites – and see how it develops. As a result, I’m now doing a pop-up with Pascal Proyart at One-O-One at the Park Tower Knightsbridge at the end of January. There’s the potential for lots of spin-offs.”

Jordan reckons it took him “a good six months” to prepare for the event, saying the mise-en-place, planning and logistics were critical. “The recipes vary from chef to chef depending on those that have written a cookbook and those that haven’t. You have to interpret things – it’s quite typical of chefs not to mention a squeeze of lemon, for example, when they’re writing a recipe for you. Pascal’s recipe was three pages with lots of components – I did think ‘oh my god’ when I saw it!”

In addition to Atkinson and Outlaw, Jordan says that he has Marco Grill executive chef Roger Pizey lined-up for Eat Jersey 2016. “We’ve got history,” he says. “When I was working as sous chef to Jean-Christophe Novelli, we did a dinner with Marco Pierre White and I was left making the lemon tarts while Roger, Marco and JC went fishing. When Roger came back, he didn’t like what I had done and threw them in the bin. He showed me how to make them, and I’ve been making them to exactly the same recipe ever since.”

In the meantime, Jordan is looking ahead to Obsession and cooking at Northcote on 23 January. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do; I’ve known Nigel for years and have long wanted to be part of it. And the fact that my night sold out in three hours was just fantastic.

“Festivals just give people variety. Chefs are like rock stars now and people seem to want to flock to see their style – and them. In the UK, you’ve got top chefs dotted all around the country, but to be able to bring them to one place, on Jersey, well, it attracts an awful lot of interest.”

Eat Jersey Food Festival – the menu

Thursday 5 November 2015

  • Taittinger, Brut Reserve, NV, Reims, France.
  • Royal Bay oysters, cucumber and dill by Steve Smith, Bohemia at the Club Hotel & Spa, Jersey. Served with Louis Jadot, Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume, Burgundy, France, 2012.
  • Rabbit ballotine, pumpkin, pear and Parmesan by Simon McKenzie, the Brasserie restaurant at the Old Government House Hotel & Spa, St Peter Port, Guernsey. Served with Louis Jadot, Nuits Saint Georges, Cote de Nuits, France, 2008.
  • Jersey scallops and langoustine, walnut leaf, crab emulsion, Jerusalem artichoke fondant and garlic purée by Philippe Hardy, Restaurant Le Mascaret, Basse-Normandie. Served with Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs, Reims, France, 2005.
  • Loin of Scottish venison, vegetable dauphinoise, sautéed wild mushrooms, celeriac and vanilla jus by Mark Jordan, the Atlantic hotel, St Brelade, Jersey. Served with Villa Maria, Reserve Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2013.
  • Jersey cream panna cotta, poached autumn fruit, mulled cider and sultana syrup by Russell Brown, chef consultant, Creative About Cuisine, formerly of Sienna, Dorchester. Served with Taittinger, Nocturne NV, Reims, France.

Friday 6 November 2015

Jersey Brown crab by Adam Smith

  • Taittinger Brut Reserve, NV, Reims, France.
  • Jersey Brown crab, yuzu, fennel and sea herbs by Adam Smith, the Burlington Restaurant at the Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa. Served with Louis Jadot, Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru, Côte de Beaune, France, 2011.
  • Jersey scallops ceviche, lime and shallot dressing, coriander and basil cress – an homage to Eric Chavot. Served with Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs, Reims, France, 2006.
  • Pavé of Jersey turbot, langoustine dumpling and pork belly, Paimpol coco bean and truffle cassoulet, watercress béarnaise and bisque Nantua by Pascal Proyart, One-O-One at the Park Tower Knightsbridge, London. Served with Vidal Legacy Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 2012.
  • Fillet of Jersey beef, oxtail pavé, butter-poached lobster and beef Marmite by Mark Jordan. Served with CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva, Rioja, Spain, 2007.
  • Violet ice-cream, ginger beurre noisette, aerated chocolate and rocks, crystallised petals and ginger cake by Michael Wignall, formerly the Latymer, Pennyhill Park, now Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon.
  • Yeast parfait, milk skin, salted caramel, condensed milk ganache, caramelised chestnuts, and malt Styrofoam by Michael Wignall. Served with Errázuriz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2013.

Mark Jordan at the Beach – Saturday 7 November

Created by Mark Jordan and Tamas Varsanyi.

  • Sharing platter of bistro-style bites.
  • Burger and lobster.
  • Grilled Jersey lobster with hand-cut chips or Mark Jordan’s signature Manor Farm burger.
  • Jersey apple crumble and black butter ice-cream.

Tickets were priced at £175 for the first night, £250 for the second night and £45 for the event at Mark Jordan on the Beach.


Charitable gains

The Atlantic hotel is a huge supporter of the Durrell charity, and chose the Jersey-based conservation trust as the festival’s philanthropic partner.

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, created by the author and broadcaster Gerald Durrell in 1963, works with some of the most endangered species across the world in places such as the Galápagos Islands, India, Madagascar and the Caribbean Islands, taking action within the animals’ habitats and securing their future through captive breeding and research within its wildlife park in Jersey.

The name was changed from the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust in 1999, in honour of its founder, who passed away in 1995.

 

Recipe: loin of Scottish venison, vegetable dauphinoise, sautéed wild mushrooms, celeriac and vanilla jus by Mark Jordan

Serves 4

  • 1kg venison loin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil

For the glazed red cabbage (serves 12 portions)

  • 1 red cabbage (approximately 1kg)
  • 1 onion
  • 4 apples
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 star anise
  • 250g sultanas
  • 75cl red wine
  • 1kg sugar
  • 100ml sherry vinegar
  • Salt to taste

For the vegetable dauphinoise (serves 8)

  • 1l double cream
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3 parsnips
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 head celeriac

To serve

  • Sprouts
  • Pear purée
  • Confit onions
  • Caramelised hazelnuts
  • Baby beetroot cress
  • Port wine vanilla jus
  • Sautéd mushrooms
  • Seasonal vegetables

For the glazed red cabbage, cut the cabbage in half and into quarters. Remove the stalk and slice finely on a mandolin. Peel the onion, cut into quarters and slice it nice and thinly. Mix the two together in a bowl. Peel and quarter the apples, remove the core, cut into finger-sized pieces and add to the cabbage.

In a thick-bottomed saucepan add a drop of vegetable oil and to this add the cabbage, apple and onion mixture and sauté for a couple of minutes. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add both to the cabbage along with the star anise and the sultanas. Stir well, then add the red wine, sugar, vinegar and salt. Turn the heat down and slowly cook the cabbage, stirring every 30 minutes or so – it will take about three hours to cook, but will eventually cook down into a lovely shiny marmalade.

To prepare the vegetable dauphinoise, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the double cream in a saucepan with the garlic and thyme and bring up to a simmer. Season with the salt and pepper and leave on the side. Peel all of the remaining vegetables, top and tail them, cut into quarters and remove the cores. Slice the vegetables on a mandolin about 2mm thick, but keep them all separate. Line a high-sided oven tray with parchment paper and arrange the sweet potatoes over the complete base of the tray, two layers deep. Spoon over a ladle full of the double cream mixture. Then follow with two layers of parsnips and then follow with a layer of cream. Continue this step with the carrots and then finally the celeriac. Repeat the whole process until the tray is three-quarters full. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto the top of the dauphinoise and place in the oven for around 1½ hours. Test by pushing a knife into the centre of the dauphinoise – it should still have a little crunch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down. Place a weight on top and put into the fridge to set overnight.

To serve, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the venison fillet onto a chopping board and season with salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan and add a few drops of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, lay the venison fillet into the pan and gently sauté all the way around until the whole fillet is nicely roasted. Remove from the pan and place in a tray into the oven for six to seven minutes, depending on your cooking preference. Put the sprouts into boiling salted water.

Remove the dauphinoise from the fridge and turn out onto a chopping board. Cut four rectangular shapes and place in the oven for three to four minutes. Spoon some of the pear purée onto the plates together with a good mound of the hot red cabbage.

Remove the venison from the oven and leave to rest for three to four minutes. Gently place one slice of dauphinoise on each of the plates. Using a very sharp knife, slice the venison fillet into 12 slices – three per person – or into four steaks. Arrange on top of the cabbage. Sit the sprouts on top of the dauphinoise. Spoon over the jus and garnish the dish with the onions, hazelnuts, sautéd mushrooms, seasonal vegetables and cress, and serve.

Recipe: Jersey cream panna cotta with poached autumn fruit and a mulled cider and sultana syrup by Russell Brown

Serves 12

For the panna cotta

  • 700g double cream
  • 350g semi-skimmed milk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 Madagascan vanilla pods
  • 15g Sosa vegetable gel

For the poached pears

  • 250g white wine
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 3 Williams pears, peeled and cored
  • Water to cover

For the caramelised apple

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 250g dry cider
  • 3 Granny Smith apples

For the toffee streusel crumb

  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g soft pâtisserie flour
  • 2g finely ground Maldon salt
  • 50g unsalted butter

For the cider and sultana syrup

  • 110g apple juice
  • 170g cider
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1cm piece root ginger
  • 120g sultanas

To make the panna cotta, heat the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla together and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Whisk in the vegetable gel and bring to a simmer. Pass and re-weigh the liquid, making up to 1,150g with water. Pour into moulds and chill to set.

For the pears, combine the wine, sugar and spices, bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Infuse for 30 minutes. Add the pears, cover with water and simmer until the pears are just tender.

To make the caramelised apple, make a direct caramel, dissolve with the cider and then chill. Ball the apple and vac-pac with the cider caramel. Cook at 85°C for 20 minutes.

To prepare the streusel, in a small bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter and bring together into a rough dough. Spread onto a silpat mat and bake at 160°C for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Roughly break up with a fork and continue to cook for
2-3 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray.

To make the syrup, infuse the sugar and spice in the liquid for 30 minutes, strain and add the sultanas. Reduce until syrupy.

Photography by Russell Brown and Andy Le Gresley

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