2017 International Culinary Series RecapSeptember 13, 2017 | 735 Views
By Patricia Wu
The West Coast Fishing Club | Marketing Director
It’s always a nice touch when our guests bring the sun with them to Langara Island. Our guest Chef Mario Castrellon, owner and chef of Panama City’s MAITO restaurant and his sous chef Samuel Gonzalez Laborda proudly proclaimed just that as their helicopter touched down at The Clubhouse on a beautifully sunny warm day. A week of sun, calm waters, great fishing and internationally acclaimed chefs from Panama – it was a perfect setting to experience the exotic flavours of Latin America while on a luxury fishing vacation and The West Coast Fishing Club’s inaugural International Culinary Series did not disappoint. As Deepwater Don said, “Summer is not yet over… and neither is the fishing”.
One of the most popular seafood dishes of Latin America is ceviche. Simple to make, but a fresh, bright dish highlighting the delicate flavours of salmon, Chef Castrellon hosted a hands-on morning cooking class walking guests through a B.C. salmon ceviche recipe. His recipe was uniquely Panamanian, using Aji Chombo peppers, the fiery Panamanian Pepper, with its extra hot heat and fruity flavor. During his cooking demonstration, Chef Castrellon taught guests how to slice the salmon against the grain of the fish and how to squeeze fresh ginger juice directly into the ceviche – a technique he learned early in his career.
We suspect many salmon ceviches will be served in the coming weeks since guests caught many coho and chinook during their visit and quickly snapped up extra copies of Chef’s Castrellon’s recipe to take home.
Later that evening, Chef Castrellon masterfully combined the flavours of Latin America with a four-course menu beautifully highlighting the seafood of Haida Gwaii.
Chef Castrellon showcased the chinook salmon in one of the freshest ways to eat the fish with flavours of lime, cilantro, soy and ginger.
An octopus was caught recently and kept by the kitchen for a future dish. Chef Castrellon blanched the octopus three times in hot boiling water, boiled and roasted it to make it perfectly tender. The octopus was paired with a coconut, fresh herb sauce reflecting the African influences in Panama.
Many cultures delight in the treasure trove of crunchy, golden and nutty rice that sticks at the bottom of a pan most often in a paella. In Panama, they refer to that bottom-of-the-pan crispy rice delight as concolón. Chef Castrellon used a special technique to create a comforting, crunchy saffron risotto.
Our tropical culinary journey starring British Columbia’s finest seafood ended wonderfully with a Latin American’ classic dessert: tres leches. An exquisitely sweet dessert, Chef Castrellon’s tres leches, a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream topped with a light meringue and served with local B.C. strawberries, was perfectly executed and a guest favourite of the evening.
Muchas gracias to Chef Castrellon and Chef Samuel Gonzalez Laborda for taking our lucky guests on a wonderful culinary journey through the flavours of Panama while incorporating local seafood from the majestic waters of Haida Gwaii. Nothing beats thrilling our guests with the world’s best salmon fishing experience during the day and delighting their taste buds with an international culinary experience at night. We can’t wait to continue our tradition of hosting world-class gastronomic experiences next year as we look to celebrate our 30th anniversary with more spectacular culinary events.