Chef Todd Henderson, Executive Chef of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, spoke with the Examiner yesterday about the exciting menu for the upcoming Barrel Series Caribbean Island Rum Dinner. “Rum is a little more forgiving of a liquor for cooking. You notice more of the nuances of the rum than you do with a bourbon or scotch. It also makes it easier to blend in with the foods”, Chef Todd said.
The dinner will feature Mount Gay Rum from Barbados, including a special Black Barrel Rum blended exclusively for the Queen Mary by Allen Smith, Mount Gay Rum's Master Distiller, along with Twain Screiber, who flew to Barbados to join Mr. Smith in making the perfect blend for the Queen Mary. Each course has been designed to not only complement a specific Mount Gay Rum, but to use rum as a flavoring in the dishes.
Chef Todd, who designed the menu, said “I wrote this menu thinking I was in Barbados. I did some research on local cuisine in Barbados, not so much a French restaurant in Barbados but 'what do Barbadians eat'. We pulled some items in like that with hors d'ouevres such as the Sweet Potato Puffs, the Smoked Duck, the Bacon Wrapped Scallops for seafood and a Jerk Chicken Tomato and Fig Kabob. I was working on different flavors and different nuances”.
Barbados, as part of the West Indies, has long been a producer of rum, with Sir John Gay establishing his namesake distillery in 1703 on the island. Mount Gay Rum has also been associated for many years with sailboat racing, with some boats sailing right past the Queen Mary while racing in such events as the Long Beach Race Week and the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race. Mount Gay Rum has been in the forefront of sponsoring many of these races.
Chef Todd continued, '”Looking at the first course, I thought, 'why not do a lobster?'. This is one of those great courses that I call 'Spice and Ice Lobster', meaning that it's a cold dish but has some heat to it. The heat comes from different chiles like jalapeno and poblano. The garnishes bring out the islands too; it's garnished with coconut. Everybody has that notion, 'pirates, rum and coconuts!'”. The lobster comes with a citrus salad with a rum-infused vinaigrette. A glass of Mount Gay Silver Rum will be poured to complement the food.
Not only was Chef Todd's menu influenced by the people on the island, but also by native animals found there. “Pigs and javelinas are very indigenous to Barbados, so for the second course, we went for a nice pork tenderloin, some nice creamy cabbage and some spiced apples, again infusing the rum into the demi-glace”, Chef Todd said. The Roasted Kurobata Pork Tenderloin will be joined by a glass of Mount Gay's Eclipse Rum.
Chef Todd decided to pair a meat course with the next rum, the 'Extra Old' Mount Gay Rum, the signature rum from one of their previous Master Distillers. “For the third course, I took the popular Smoked Peppered Rib Eye with a Bordelaise Sauce and modified it for an island taste with a New Potato and Plantain Hash”. The plantains, a popular starch throughout the Caribbean, will add a distinctive island taste to the dish.
Chef Todd talked about the fourth course, saying, “I thought about dessert and said, 'you can't go wrong with chocolate and rum! Plus, a little espresso in there too'”. The '1703' Mount Gay Rum, Allen Smith's high-end signature rum, will make a fine match for this delicious dessert. He namesd this special rum after the year that the Mount Gay Rum distillery was established.
Following the dessert course, guests will be invited to enjoy the nighttime skyline view of Long Beach's harbor and downtown area. Once there, they will have the chance to partake of a very special rum and some excellent cigars. The Queen Mary Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum was blended exclusively for the Queen Mary by Allen Smith, with Twain Schreiber working with him to make sure the rum had the perfect taste to match the Queen Mary's high standards. Along with the rum, Twain has chosen the La Gloria Cubana cigar from General Cigars to be enjoyed with this exclusive rum.
The Caribbean Island Rum Dinner will be held on May 22 in the Queen's Salon on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Cigars and Rum will be served on the Verandah Deck overlooking the Long Beach skyline after the meal. Commemorative bottles of the Queen Mary's Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum will be available for purchase. Tickets are available through the Queen Mary's website or by calling (877) 342-0738.
The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802