This November saw the inaugural Eat Jersey Food Festival take place at Ocean Restaurant at The Atlantic Hotel and at sister restaurant Mark Jordan at the Beach. The three-day gourmet event saw acclaimed chefs from across the British Isles and France join Executive Head Chef, Mark Jordan, to celebrate the island’s finest produce. So when an invite to attend the exclusive Friday night event I jumped at the chance to go along and have my tastebuds tantalised, which believe me, they were!

Now I don’t profess to know a huge amount about food, but I am an avid consumer of food related television programmes and cook books, both of which have led to a great love and appreciation for good food and also a huge amount of admiration and respect for those that produce it for our enjoyment.
On the bill at the Eat Jersey Festival were an array of today’s most renowned chefs, a fair few Michelin stars and AA Rosettes, all of whom would be cooking with Jersey produce under the watchful eye of Mark Jordan.  Not one to shy away from the chance to get behind the scenes of an event of this kind I went along to meet Mark during the afternoon of the first day of the event.  I expected things to be fast and hectic, with everyone fighting for space and attention in unfamiliar territory.  Instead what I found was chefs were working together in perfect harmony, watching one of the masters putting the finishing touches to his dish, ahead of service that night.
The hugely impressive list of chefs is, a testament to Mark’s standing with his peers and the regard with which the Atlantic is held, he even managed to spare the time to talk to me about the inspiration behind the event.  Which is thanks to his own experience as a chef at Obsession, a 16 day event held at Northcote, Lancashire. The annual homage of the finest food and wine, was established in 2001 and is one of Europe’s premier gastronomic events with guest chefs traveling in from all over the world.  Mark’s vision was to bring a little bit of this event to Jersey so he and the guys at the Atlantic got together and managed to coordinate the diaries of some incredibly impressive chefs in a relatively short period of time.
So what did the Friday night bring to those that attended, well mainly it was any foodies dream come true.  Not only was the menu itself enticing but we were also to hear first hand from the chefs who produced each one of the six courses on the tasting menu, as they entered the dining room prior to the serving of each course.  Here they explained the components of the dish and the inspiration behind it.  It didn’t stop there, as of course there was a superbly paired wine flight to accompany the menu, this was put together by Richard Burton the Atlantic’s Sommelier and again each wine was explained thanks to a representative from Maison Louis Jadot.
Speaking of the inspiration behind the event, Patrick Burke, owner of The Atlantic Hotel, said: ‘As The Atlantic Hotel celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, we continue to do our utmost to have Jersey recognised internationally, for everything from the finest dining, to the spectacular scenery, and the most luxurious retreats. This inaugural event was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary, and look forward to the future for both the growth of the Eat Jersey Food Festival and of Jersey as a ‘must-visit’ destination globally.’
All of this and they also managed to raise £7,500 for Durrell, thanks to a silent auction held over the duration of the event.  I for one cannot wait to see what future Eat Jersey Festivals bring to the island I hope that it will continue to grow and blossom and that eventually we may see something similar to that of Obsession here on our fair island.

 

THE MENU:

Aperitif
Taittinger Brut Reserve, NV, Reims, France

Created by Adam Smith
Jersey Brown Crab
Yuzu, fennel and sea herbs
Louis Jadot, Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru, Cote de Beaune, France, 2011

Created by Eric Chavot
Scallop Ceviche
Jersey scallops, lime and shallot dressing,
coriander and basil cress
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs, Reims, France, 2006

Created by Pascal Proyart
Turbot Cassoulet
Pavé of Jersey turbot, langoustine dumpling and pork belly, Paimpol coco bean and truffle cassoulet, watercress béarnaise, bisque Nantua
Vidal Legacy Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 2012

Created by Mark Jordan
Beef
Fillet of Jersey beef, oxtail pavé, butter poached lobster, beef Marmite
Cune Imperial Gran Reserva, Rioja, Spain, 2007

Created by Michael Wignall
Violet
Violet ice cream, ginger beurre noisette, aerated chocolate and rocks, crystallised petals, ginger cake

Created by Michael Wignall
Yeast and Milk
Yeast parfait, milk skin, salted caramel, condensed milk ganache, caramelised chestnuts, malt styrofoam
Errazuriz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2013