Drunken Chefs pull off fantastic pop upDeconstructed popular lobster mac and cheese side dish to top pizza and that includes the Elbow macaroni noodle to boot
A person has to be drunk to think about putting Elbow macaroni noodles on pizza — well as their moniker says, Drunken Chefs Jared Forbes and Jeffrey Edgecombe did just that. They deconstructed the popular side dish of lobster mac and cheese and made it a pizza topping they aptly named What the Hell (lobster mac and cheese, spicy sausage and red peppers) because that is the sentiment most people would have when they think of a lobster mac and cheese pizza, for the second in their once-a-month seven-series pop up restaurant experiences.
Having missed the first pop up, I was eager to check out the Drunken Chefs event at The Art Room because they’re not chefs that I have access to. They whip up their delicious offerings at Government House, where Forbes has been the food service manager for seven years, with Edgecombe his assistant for one year. But they’ve come together to give the wider community the opportunity to become familiar with their food through their Drunken Chefs brand.
And they pride themselves on taking ingredients that are predominantly Bahamian and infuse them with different cuisines, serving the food with a more finessed presentation. I was super excited to get my first taste of what the Drunken Chefs have to offer, so the What the Hell was a must-order item because I wondered what in the world it would taste like. To be honest, it worked, really well, so well that I forgot that Elbow macaroni noodles were on my pizza. And the spiciness of the sausage rounded out the flavors.
And I absolutely had to try the conch balls, and their boldly declared chew ya bone guava BBQ baby back ribs that I’d heard so much about, which my husband and I got for appetizers. The balls were filled with huge pieces of conch just the way Bahamians like them; and the ribs were a piece of heaven, tender with a hint of sweetness — I could have eaten an entrée sized portion.
I also went with the ting um (blackened shrimp, roasted corn, pickled fennel and watermelon jus) salad, while hubby opted for the stiff toe gang (salad of julienne cabbage, apples, blueberries, red onions, tomatoes, micro greens and garlic Dijon dressing). And they were good, as we opted to taste off each other’s plates.
I was blown away by the pot cake (soup of the day), a tomato soup that tasted like the chefs simply went into the garden, picked the vine-ripened tomatoes, roasted them, and then crushed them to let the full tomato flavor shine through. It was a delicious intenseness that I appreciated.
Adding to the atmosphere of the evening, most of the menu items were given traditional Bahamian names by the chefs.
“When you hear the drunken chefs, you chuckle, so we said we have to keep the trend going through the menu by using traditional Bahamian names that you would hear like ‘mudda sic’, ‘no broughtupsy’… So we just carried that straight through.
I went with the seared wild Alaskan salmon in white wine, garlic and sage butter and sea grape sauce with butternut squash puree and baby organic vegetables. The sweetness of the squash puree was a perfect counterfoil to the salmon, served topped with micro greens for a five-star restaurant quality dish that was pleasing to the eye and the palate as well.
Dinner was rounded out by all things chocolate — a molten cake topped with a Haagen Dazs bar which satisfied the chocoholics.
Libations like the “Smoking Crabbie” which consists of Crabbie’s raspberry ginger beer, macorix coconut water, Nassau Royale, cotton candy vodka, cranberry juice, rosemary, apple cider, apple smoke); “No Broughtupsy” (hibiscus infused pomegranate juice, spiced rum, thyme infused tequila, lime, raw sugar, smoked Hawaiian black lava sea salt) and “Kerpunkle Up” (white rum, mint leaves, powered sugar, lime, Chambord, raspberries, pink Himalayan sea salt), were to be had to quench the thirst.
According to Forbes, the Drunken Chefs started out doing festivals and they needed a name with a hook. At the time, he had a lot of students working with him and would find himself always having to fuss them out for always being drunk. He dubbed his group of chefs the Drunken Chefs, and it’s a name that stuck, which he took with him when they showed at festivals such as Goombay Summer and the Junkanoo Festival. They were the only festivals people could have indulged in the cuisine of the Drunken Chefs.
They garnered a following from the festivals. Their fans wanted to know when they would open a restaurant, and the idea of the pop-up series was born. They decided to do it a la carte, giving people the opportunity to order off a menu, as they would if they encountered them at a festival.
The menu for the pop-ups is chosen based on what the drunken chefs can get fresh in terms of produce and the best cuts of meat. The menu for this weekend’s pop-up was also decided based on guest feedback from last month’s event.
Forbes said they are looking forward to giving people a taste of their food through the pop ups as they know most people don’t have access to their cooking.