Master Chef Leah tapped into the obtuse areas of her brain and asked her sous chefs to explore connections between the Gracelands (Elvis and Paul Simon).
Sous chef Abe declared he would bring back the H'ors D'oeuvre with his trio of gourmet corn dogs and trio of sauces - success! We dipped the corn dogs of smoked mozzarella, chicken confit or shrimp into his homemade catsup, garlic aioli and mustard - so many great flavours and textures to start our meal. The Velvet Elvis was a lovely treat of a cocktail, enhanced with a dash of Chambord and lime. Overheard during the course "8 minutes to cheese!"
We moved to the table for Sous chef Amy's appetizer, a nod to the cuisine of South Africa she enjoyed for a few years. She balanced the salty/sweet elements of the dish, with an ostrich slider on a blue corn bun complemented by an apricot puree and butternut squash chips. Sous Chef Amy's cocktail was layers of Rooibos tea, wth infused vodka, concentrated syrup and a taffy spoon. Overhead during the course "I can't eat this right? <glass cube in hand>".
Sous Chef Christine reimagined the favourite sandwich of Elvis into an amazing peanut soup. The banana bread croutons fried in bacon fat both complimented the flavour of the soup but also kept the tribute pure #legit. The banana butter inspired one sous chef to declare "I would make this, like, for life". Sous chef Christine re-concocted the Blue Hawaii with a Elvis shooter of bourbon. While waiting for the next course, the sous chefs were entertained by Graceland karaoke that more or less kept on theme ("Do I hear Whitney Houston?")
Master chef Leah lit up the BBQ for the main, tapping into the tradition of the braai. Grilled boerewors and slow cooked memphis-rubbed ribs (#meatsweats) were served with a side of grilled mielipap, tomato and onion salsa and roasted peanuts. The hearty fare was washed down with a Blue Hawaii, with elements of pineapple, coconut and blue curaçao. Overheard during the course "I eat my last meal at least two times a week".
The sweet finish to our meal by sous chef Vanessa was a visual treat. Layers of blueberry and peanut butter mousse (so good!) was held in a chocolate lined waffle bowl, with a beautiful a passionfruit coulis and banana fritter. One overheard comment during the course "Me and the lambo....". The layers continued into the cocktail, with bands of whisky, vanilla vodka, pineapple puree, bitters, lavender syrup - beautiful!
What a meal! Clearly Graceland is delicious regardless of your geography. The courses were connected by some shared elements of peanuts, corn, bananas - a surprisingly cohesive meal.
We missed the company and talents of Sous Chef Dallas this event, which also created a risk of #meatsweats. Next up is Master Chef Abe!
Let's go to Graceland! But which one?
It is a Graceland vs. Graceland battle!
Biltong or fried pork chops? You choose which Graceland you want to invigorate your dish. Will you be inspired by the famous album of Paul Simon, tapping into South African culture? Or will we be dining on the homemade Mississippi dishes Elvis Presley was raised on? Both men were inspired by the music of other cultures and brought them to mainstream audiences. #Co-opt
Be it a hunk-a-hunk-of-melty cheese or soy-in-a-bubble, i have no doubt the evening will be full of deliciousness. Until then!