Written by 7:45 pm Food

Half Moon Hosted Guest Chef Bashir Munye

View of Delmare from the beach at Half Moon (Photos: Aceion Cunningham)

The iconic Half Moon Hotel hosted guest chef Bashir Munye during Heroes’ Weekend for an Afro-Italian, nomadic culinary journey. Munye, a culinary professor at George Brown College in Canada, served up inspirations in his nomadic comfort food style; incorporating inspirations from his birth home Somalia and Italy, where he was raised.

The award-winning Delmare restaurant, nestled inside Eclipse at Half Moon, is very regarded for its Italian seafood experience and experimental menus. Coupled with its luxe setting it made the right pairing for guests to indulge.

The farm-to-dinner experience had each course expertly created by Munye, prepared with ingredients cultivated through sustainable agricultural practices, enhanced by Jamaican and Somalian spices and exquisitely paired with wines.

The journey began with a kitfo for the amuse-bouche. A kitfo is an Ethiopian traditional dish consisting of minced raw beef, marinated in mitmita (a chilli powder-based spice mix) and niter kibbeh (a butter infused with herbs and spices). Chef Munye’s take utilised beetroot as a substitute of beef, berbere, orange, fennel pollen and funky butter served on injera crisp for a chilly canapé.

Breaking Bread Together formed the second course, dubbed Carta Di Musica. This consisted of bread, honey, ricotta, an Italian whey cheese, and dukkah, an Egyptian spice mix combination of fragrant roasted nuts and seeds. Each the amuse-bouche and carta di musica were paired with Mionetto, an Italian prosecco.

Sharable appetisers followed with banana flower (blossom) served with coconut cloud, cassava nectar and roasted peanuts. Frittura Mista made with local grouper fish, a sustainable fish option, prepared with breadfruit and served with a sumac aioli sauce. Grilled djaaja, chicken grilled with Ras el Hanout (mix of several spices), sugarcane and served with a lemon and parsley dip. The sugarcane providing a sweet counter to the spices. All paired with the KWV Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

Entrées for the journey included a chermoula with local snapper and Moroccan orange salad paired with a Santa Christina Cipresseto Rosato from Italy. Lobster tagine in saffron broth served with sides of cassava couscous, and coconut pondu (Munye’s inspiration for a coconut callaloo rundown), paired with a Banfi La Pettegola, Vermentino wine, also from Italy. Abbacchio Al Forno, a Maroon-style jerk lamb nicely paired with a Stellenbosch Mentors Pinotage from South Africa.

Dessert accomplished the journey culminating with a soursop and pistachio cassata. This being a conventional cake from Sicily, Italy consisting of round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit, a filling also used with cannoli. Speak about leaving the doldrums and taking the cannoli!

Chef Munye spoke with Thursday Food on the inspiration behind the dishes and his goal for the evening.

“This evening’s inspiration had much to do with my heritage as Somalians are nomads. And from my extensive research on multi-ethnic African cuisines, I desired to not only bring my love of African cuisine but Italian as well, because I grew up there, and to showcase that Jamaica has numerous beautiful ingredients. We used the banana and okra flower as individuals should not aware that botanically 80 per cent of plants will be eaten. The goal for the evening was to convey my very own personal story, my love of food, making my guests feel wonderful, while making environmentally sustainable food decisions,” Munye explained.

Claudio Facchinetti, sous-chef, Delmare, spoke with Thursday Food on the move to ask Chef Munye and the Afro-Italian infusion.

“We had a combination of African and Italian cuisine tonight, which I might say is analogous in some parts and since everyone has in common food being an element of life, joy and happiness. The enjoyment that we’re making tonight is a visit from Africa to Italy and it showcases why we’re advocating for sustainability in food. We’re appreciative of Chef Munye joining us to spotlight that, as that is the direction that Delmare goes,” Facchinetti stated.

— Text & photos by Aceion Cunningham

Mionetto Prosecco from Italy with aromas of golden apples, honey, and white peach with well-balanced acidity, served because the pairing for the primary two courses.Aceion Cunningham
Carta di musica, the second course of bread, honey, ricotta (an Italian whey cheese), and dukkah, an Egyptian spice mix of roasted nuts and seedsAceion Cunningham
Shareable appetisers (from left) frittura mista, grouper fish with breadfruit and sumac aioli sauce; Banana flower (blossom) with coconut cloud, cassava nectar and roasted peanuts; and Grilled djaaja, grilled chicken with sugarcane and lemon and parsley dip.Aceion Cunningham
Santa Christina Cipresseto Rosato from Italy was among the many selections by Sherrie Lee-McCallum, wine sommelier, Half Moon Hotel.Aceion Cunningham
Chermoula local snapper with Moroccan orange salad paired beautifully with the Santa Christina Cipresseto Rosato from ItalyAceion Cunningham
Banfi La Pettegola, Vermentino wine also from ItalyAceion Cunningham
Lobster tagine (refers to each the cookware and stew) in saffron broth with sides of cassava couscous, and coconut pondu Aceion Cunningham
Coconut pondu, chef Bashir Munye’s interpretation of coconut callaloo rundownAceion Cunningham
Granita a neighborhood citrus sorbet served because the palate cleanser made with limoncello liqueur and lime juiceAceion Cunningham
Abbacchio Al Forno, Maroon-style jerk lamb, smoked and grilled with pimento served with panzanella salad.Aceion Cunningham
Stellenbosch Mentors Pinotage from South Africa was a selection selection for the abbacchio al forno.Aceion Cunningham
Chef Bashir Munye (left) gives insight on the lobster tagine in saffron broth to (seated, from left) Karina Mahbubani of Mystic Thai; Laura Mazabel, director, Solo Jamaica; Lucas Zion Garcia, Ricardo Dominguez, general manager; Secret Hotels and Tristan Alvarado, director, Solo Jamaica.Aceion Cunningham
Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards plaques proudly displayed on the entry to Delmare.Aceion Cunningham
Cassata constructed from soursop and pistachioAceion Cunningham
Petit fours to shut out the evening.Aceion Cunningham
Wynton Hudson’s Night Cap made with Worthy Park 109, coconut and Expresso foam with Half Moon bitters.Aceion Cunningham
Delmare servers (from left) Kevron Reid, Alkan Jervis, Moesha Brown, Aljay Graham, Stephon Burke and Ottania McNaughton Aceion Cunningham
From left: Shakeem Utter, kitchen supervisor; Claudio Facchinetti, sous-chef; Unojay Stewart, restaurant manager; and Sherrie Lee-McCallum, wine sommelier and restaurant managerAceion Cunningham
Chef Bashir Munye adding final touches to the lobster tagine.Aceion Cunningham
KWV Chenin Blanc from South Africa accompanied the sharable appetisers for the third course.Aceion Cunningham
Kitfo made with beetroot, berbere, orange, fennel pollen and funky butter served on injera crisp.Aceion Cunningham

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