At The Mastertable With Gary Mehigan

Dec 14 2023.

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Celebrity chef and former MasterChef Australia judge, Gary Mehigan took Colombo by storm last week with his visit to Sri Lanka in collaboration with Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts. The beloved chef, who came to the country on 27th November, hosted a series of sold-out dining experiences with Cinnamon Hotels including two fine dining sit-down dinners at the London Grill and the Atrium and a carvery at Cheers and High Tea. On Friday, 1 December, Chef Gary Mehigan hosted a grand 5-course dinner at the Atrium, Cinnamon Grand. The dinner showcased Chef Gary’s culinary expertise combined with influences from his travels with a carefully curated menu that leaned towards the French style of cooking with simple yet rich flavours that also incorporated local ingredients as well. 

CANAPES: Jamon Croqueta | Tostadita | Sesame Prawn Toast | Smoked Salmon Waffle We started the evening with a delightful selection of canapes, or the ‘snack pack’ as Chef Gary called it. The Jamon Croquetta, served with a tomato Romesco sauce was crispy and creamy. At the same time, the Tostadita with Dilmah Ceylon cinnamon tea-cured snapper and charred corn and pickles offered a burst of tangy flavours. Our favourites were the crispy waffle with creamy smoked salmon cream topped with Australian Yarra Valley Salmon caviar pearls and the Sesame Prawn Toast with Gomashio mayo and  Bonito flakes. 

1ST COURSE: Mushroom Parfait with Vodka & Cranberry Jelly and a Red Wine Shallot Relish An indulgently creamy mushroom parfait with mousse-like consistency was served with a dollop of vodka and cranberry jelly and a sweet shallot relish reduced with red wine that quite coincidentally, tasted very similar to the Sri Lankan seeni sambol which is also a variation of sweet and spicy onion relish.

2ND COURSE: Lagoon Crab Salad with Coconut, Sweet Nelna Mango, Crispy Fish and Coriander Inspired by the Korean bibimbap concept, the salad course starred fresh Sri Lankan Lagoon Crab and sweet Nelna mango with crispy crumbed fish and julienned vegetables in a spicy mayo dressing. 

3RD COURSE: River Prawn Ravioli in Bouillabaisse Sauce and Olive Oil Poached Prawns This dish showcased Chef Gary’s fantastic skill in working with simple ingredients and elevating them to gourmet levels. The handmade pasta, handcrafted into bite-sized ravioli pockets was served in a rich, earthy and flavourful seafood bouillabaisse sauce. The olive oil-poached prawns were tender and buttery, and the execution of this dish showcased the chef’s love for the French style of cooking. 

4TH COURSE: Slow Roasted Rump of Australian Lamb with Ras Al Hanout, Grilled Haloumi and Jus Gras One of the star dishes of the evening -  imported Australian marble lamb, slow roasted to perfection, resulting in the most divine tender and juicy rump of meat. The use of Ras Al Hanout, a Moroccan spice blend, attended an aromatic flavour profile to the dish. We loved that the chef chose to let the real flavours of the marbled lamb come through by including the grilled Haloumi cheese to add the salty contrast to the dish while the Jus Gras and the mint apple sauce added an element of sweetness and tang to this exquisite lamb dish. 

5TH COURSE: Dark Jaggery Caramel with an 18k Gold Coffee biscuit served with a Hazelnut Cream and Dilmah Earl Gray base An incredibly decadent finish to our evening, the Dark Jaggery Caramel Flan was reminiscent of a Sri Lankan watalappan and the 18k Gold Coffee biscuit was a touch of luxury. The real star however was the Hazelnut Cream, a mousse-like cream that was so incredibly decadent, sweet and nutty, we genuinely wanted a whole tub of it to take home. 

Overall, the Mastertable with Chef Gary Mehigan was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The carefully curated menu showcased Chef Gary’s ability to transform simple ingredients into extraordinary dishes. Each dish not only displayed the chef’s skill and technique, but it spoke volumes about the years of experience he has under his knife and what he has to show for it. In a culinary landscape where rich, heavy and bold-flavoured dishes are taking the limelight, Chef Gary exemplified how exquisite and decadent a dish with simple ingredients and the right pairings can be. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..


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