In October 2016, Simone joined the team at Strahan Village as a Chef and has been introducing her colleagues in View 42° Restaurant & Bar to some of the exotic flavours of the Caribbean since.
The crew at Strahan Village will host a Caribbean buffet in the 8th of July so we sat down with Simone as the menu was being finalised to hear more about her impressions of Tassie so far as well as what’s she’s excited about serving at the upcoming event.
What were your first impressions of Tassie?
“I didn’t really know much about Tasmania before I decided to come here so I did a lot of research. When I arrived, it actually reminded me a lot of the part of Jamaica that I come from, with the mountains and a really nice climate.”
What’s different about working as a Chef here in Tasmania?
“Most of the produce we cook with at Strahan Village is quite similar to what I’m used to cooking with in Jamaica but Tasmania does have a greater variety of seafood, for example with calamari and so many types of shellfish”
“Tasmanians eat a lot of lamb, which I am used to in Jamaica but Jamaicans tend to eat more goat. It’s generally slow-cooked to maximise the tenderness and is very similar to lamb. It’s delicious and we’ll be serving it on the Caribbean buffet menu!”
Have you been able to experience some of the local activities in Strahan?
“Yes, some of us grabbed some sand boards and tried sand boarding at Henty Dunes, which was good fun. I have also been out to Ocean Beach and Macquarie Heads, as well as going on the Gordon River Cruise. The cruise was awesome and it’s great to see the food we prep on the morning shift in the kitchen, being served on board the Lady Jane.”
Your family is joining you in Tasmania quite soon?
Yes, it’s very exciting. They’re arriving in August… I can’t wait!
So, let’s hear about this buffet. What are the specialities?
“Top of the list is jerk chicken because this is unique to Jamaica. It should have an amazing charcoal flavour and is prepared with a number of different seasonings. I think everyone has one or two secret ingredients for their own recipe though.”
“You’ll also see ackee and saltfish on the menu. Ackee is a fruit that is sautéed with the salted fish. The fish is also called codfish in Jamaica. This is the national dish and I’d recommend eating this with something a little sweeter like a ginger beer on the side.”
What about dessert?
“One of the deserts we’ll be serving is coconut drops, which are small pieces of coconut in a caramel sauce. There’s also a British influence with one of our desserts, the bread and butter pudding.”
Does it have a Jamaican influence though?
“Of course! We’ll be making it with a rum cream. Oh, we’re also going to serve a rum cake.”
There’s a theme emerging here isn’t there?
“Yes! An in line with that theme, don’t miss the pina colada cups!”
You must be showing your team in the kitchen some new flavours and techniques?
“They always seem to love my food when I cook our staff meals. It’s nice to be able to show the guys some new dishes.”
Strahan Village will host its first ever Caribbean buffet dinner as part of its 2017 winter dinner series. The buffet will be held at View 42° Restaurant on Saturday 8th July 2017. The buffet will feature more than 27 exciting dishes including ackee and saltfish, fried dumplings, macaroni pie, griot- fried pork and coconut fish curry. Bookings are still available. Click here for more information.