If you are hosting this year, then pull up a chair because Chef Sam, the private chef behind SamKanKook, is here to serve a big portion of expert tips to help you create a fine dining Carib-Fusion menu for the festive season.Hailing from Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean, Sam has spent a part of his formative years helping his mother and grandmothers to cook and quickly became the magician in the kitchen blending different flavors and innovative techniques to his family recipes. With more than 10 years in London as a private chef and a great passion for travel and the richness of different cultures, Sam offers Caribbean recipes infused into worldwide cuisines. “I am like a chemist who has been traveling throughout all continents experimenting and experiencing different techniques and flavors which I mix, marry, revisit many times trying out different combinations. My first love is Caribbean cuisine which I am bringing a new twist”, says Sam.
We know that in the UK Christmas and New Year tend to be very traditional occasions. However, a lot of people are open to more disruptive ideas, so we couldn't stop asking his recommendation to strike a chord for the Christmas and New Year's menu!“For a starter, I would preconise a Cauliflower & Cassava velouté with butter poached lobster. Our vegetarian friend will appreciate a grilled cauliflower & seaweed instead of the lobster. For the beverages I would recommend offering non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks to please all guests including children. You can go crescendo. Start with a cocktail made of champagne and red hibiscus syrup with drops of vanilla extract and orange blossom. The champagne could be replaced by a slim lime tonic water for a refreshing and festive mocktail”, he reveals.“For a main, I would go for Roast pork caramelized with orange & pineapple, roasted carrots with Thyme & Garlic, and mash Yam. The pork could easily be replaced by butternut squash for a vegetarian option”, adds Sam. Regarding the beverages for this step “I will go for a red hearthy wine, with a smooth tannin. You cannot go wrong with a Bordeaux”.
And as for sweets lovers, there can be no dinner without a good dessert, that was a must-asked question. “I would suggest a baba with the seasonnal french caribbean liquor, the "shrubb". This liquor is served during the festive season in Guadeloupe. It is fruity and spicy. I love to serve this baba with a scoop of orange sorbet. The shrubb is a spiced orange liquor. You could use a sweet spiced rum instead"
“However, if I had only one advice to give, please use seasonal fruits and vegetables and avoid too heavy or sugary dishes. And of course, drink responsibly”, he recommends.
As we always say, the devil is in the details and we know that Sam is a professional not only in the kitchen but also creating an experience throughout the 5 senses. From What a Host Home we were witnesses of it in its last edition of the Supper Club (make sure to keep an eye on it for the next edition, which you cannot miss!). “I want all dishes in my menu to be a multisensory experience, so I pay a lot of attention to the manner in which I set my plate, from the plate I choose, to the colours, the music in the background, the cracking of the dish when the guests tuck in…”, points out Sam.
Evoking a great symphony, Sam adds: “I picture not only the dish, but also the atmosphere and the mood I would like to create for the guests. I visualize it as a journey”.
Unfortunately for us, SamKanKook does not offer its services during Christmas and New Year's. Those are the 2 dates of the year which are blocked and dedicated to his family. “I usually return to Guadeloupe, to my hometown, enjoying a bit of sun, friends and family to whom I owe so much. It is my time as well to give them thanks”, Sam eds. However, we already have a good portion of inspiration to get down to work this holiday season!
Check out SamKanKook website and follow him on Instagram and Facebook for more inspiring recipes.