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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Alexander Powell with his Jamaican heritage is adapt at infusing a Caribbean flair to the contemporary European dishes created by his mentor Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Powell has helmed the kitchen of Vongerichten's 10-year-old Dune at the One & Only Ocean Club on Bahamas' Paradise Island.
The 52-year-old spoke to Reuters about his culinary inspiration and adopting dishes he was making in New York:
Q: How do you maintain the standards and style of Vongerichten's dishes you were making in New York at Dune?
A: "We grow locally the herbs and greens like arugula. What we can't grow here, we bring in from a local company. Some things like salmon we bring in daily from Florida. Here we use also the local grouper, which in New York we use cod fish."
Q: Which dishes at Dune do you consider the most Bahamian?
A: "The crab salad and the grouper. Even though the crab is not local, the vegetables we could get are often locally grown. When you are in the Bahamas, you think about the grouper."
Q: Dune is 10-years-old. What are some of the constants on the menu?
A: "The chocolate cake has always been on the menu. It has never been removed. The grouper dish is so popular that it has never been removed from the menu."
Q: Who are your inspirations as a chef?
A: "On the island of Jamaica, we are always around the kitchen. My mother was a great cook. Professionally when I came to the United States, Jean-George (Vongerichten) was the first chef I worked with. He has been the number one influence on my entire career."
Lamb with Black Trumpets
6 oz. lamb loin trimmed and cleaned
1 cup flour
2 oz. dried black trumpets
2 eggs beaten
Leave black trumpet mushrooms on a sheet pan for 6-8 hours (to dry further), then grind into a medium fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Dust with flour then dip in egg wash. Wipe off excess egg then coat well with black trumpets. Season lamb then sear on all sides and finish in oven to desired temperature. Remove from oven and rest.
1 large leek
1 tbs. butter
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Cut bottoms of leeks and trim off hard green parts. Blanch in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and puree in blender with butter until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
4 oz. Mixed wild mushrooms (chanterelle, black trumpet, oyster, shiitake, hen of the woods, blue foot, etc)
Discard stems from mushrooms then cut caps into chunks. Heat oil and butter in saute pan and add shallots. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Season and finish with chive.
Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Patricia Reaney