Partying in paradise
The party, to put it into a nutshell, is spectacular, featuring amazing food, delicious drinks and art that will wow, Paradise Plates – the event that is all about culinary compassion, with proceeds going directly to Hands for Hunger (H4H), and towards the organization’s mission to keep their food trucks on the road six days a week each year – offers it all.
Top chefs and beverage purveyors around the islands prepared culinary and cocktail creations to impress patrons at the one-night affair at the Atlantis on Saturday, December 7.
Tiffany Barton, chef de cuisine at Regatta Buffet at Baha Mar, was one of those chefs whose offering – island mashed potato with cassava, plantain, sweet potato and Idaho potato with a glazed rack of lamb which was finished with a red wine reduction and mint jelly – was one of the sought-out items that had her and her staff constantly churning out plates to keep up with the frenetic pace of the demand as they plated on the fly.
In her first appearance at Paradise Plates, Barton said she hadn’t known what to expect, and only went in with the knowledge she was given to prepare for approximately 1,500 people. She was pleased people were excited about their food.
“We’re a buffet, and one of the best buffets on the island, and always have lamb, so I wanted to offer something to the persons that they know they can get when they come to Regatta. For us, it wasn’t just putting food together, but putting food together with flavor and taste. And we wanted to offer what we serve at our buffet in a miniature setting.”
Barton was also pleased they were able to alter their offering to cater to the non-meat eaters as well, who were able to enjoy the loaded mashed potato which on its own proved to be quite filling.
“Going into it, not knowing what to expect – the crowd was large. Didn’t know that everybody who attended wanted to taste our lamb, except persons who were vegetarians. We had people coming up to us saying they heard about the lamb and had to have it,” she said.
Barton took Regatta’s showing to the next level with their amazing, completely edible table display of fruits and vegetables designed by Charles Brown and his team.
“We just wanted to go all the way with our appearance,” said Barton. “So, the edible table displays allowed people to walk up and as they waited for a lamb, be able to interact with us by picking a fruit off the display and enjoying. It was also our way of displaying items that we use in the kitchen and incorporating it into our buffet display.”
She described her first appearance in the 11th year of Paradise Plates as “awesome”. She was amazed by the experience.
“It was a different experience, but one that I support, because Hands for Hunger helps the community and helps the country. It was marvelous…breathtaking! I was speechless.”
Barton said she’s also a believer and supports Hands for Hunger’s organization’s mission which is about making The Bahamas a better place for those people in need.
Jameel Lightbourn, Cheesecake Heaven proprietor, who participated in the culinary compassion event for the second consecutive year, said he found it even more lively this year than his first appearance.
“They had a more open layout, so you could see from one side of the room to the next. It was more free-flowing and more of a big party. It was extremely delightful,” he said. “Instead of persons just picking up and moving, I had a lot more interaction with people taking time to stop and chat.”
He liked the fact that patrons took the time to interact, which he attributes to people having become more familiar with his company and its offerings.
This year, Cheesecake Heaven’s sweet additions to the party included mini fried cheesecakes, chocolate-dipped bite sized cheesecake, mini pumpkin and sweet potato pies and an assortment of mini cheesecake flavors. They also showcased their in-house-made hummus.
Andy Huynh, executive chef, Nobu, Atlantis, participated in his second Paradise Plates with a two-course menu – salmon sushi served with a tamari soy truffle sauce and topped off with fried capers and a chachimi almond topped with baby arugula; and a Japanese-style potato croquette topped with sliced A5 Wagyu and amarillo aioli with a frisee salad for a hot and cold play.
He said he was honored to participate for a second year.
“Charity events are always fun,” said Huynh. “It’s fun to see the community and to share the good food,” he said.
Interspersed throughout the evening were awe-inspiring art presentations by The Coffee Lady – Wine Art (painting with wine), Allan Wallace with his live coffee art, Stefen Legend’s live painting, Island Gal Henna tattoo art, WayneHead caricature art, Picturesque photo booth and cigar rolling by Graycliff. A Junkanoo rushout by Stan Burnside’s Junkanoo group wrapped up the spectacular event in true Bahamian fashion, while hot tunes played throughout the night from The Lady’s Band and Essence Band as well as DJ Nikki Kynard, DJ Cleancut and DJ Ignite.
Paradise Plates also showcased food and beverage from 3 Tides, Café Madeleine, Café Martinique, Carna by Dario Cecchini, Cleo Mediterraneo, Drifters at da Fry, Fi’lia, Fish, Flying Fish, Katsuya, Le Petit Gourmet, Luciano’s, Mexicaba, The New Duff, Nobu, Pink Octopus, Shuang Ba, Wild Thyme, Aquapure Water, Aliv, Bahama Barrels by Graycliff, Bacardi (Bristol), Bristol Wines & Spirits, Courvousier (Bristol), Cuba Libre, Dasani (Caribbean Bottling), Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits, John Watling’s Distillery, Liquid Courage, Louis & Steens, Pirate Republic, Sands Beer, Young’s Fine Wine, Yummy Sky Juice, Dunkin’, Graycliff Chocolate Factory, Pop Stop, Puffee Gourmet Cotton Candy and Pulpy Frozen Desserts.
Paradise Plates, which has been in existence since 2009, is the signature fundraising event for Hands for Hunger.
H4H was started by a group of Bahamian students, led by Alanna Rodgers in early 2008. The students were committed to making a difference in The Bahamas. The inspiration came from the critical realization that an incredible amount of unspoiled food was thrown away daily by restaurants, hotels and other local vendors; meanwhile, countless people struggled to secure their next meal. H4H became the bridge between people who had fresh, surplus food and the people who needed it. The goal is a transformed Bahamas where everyone has access to three nutritious and fortifying meals each day.
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