Chef Georgia Stoica, of the 58ft catamaran Secret Oasis, blew the competition out of the water at the Charter Yacht Society 2016 BVI Culinary Contest. Her winning dish, Chocolate Lobster Mafongo cup filled with Mount Gay rum flambé lobster tail in a tarragon cream sauce, topped with avocado mousse, and served on black cacao molé with a scotch bonnet infused mango sauce, was also named top entrée in the Up to 60ft category.
Born in Brashov, Romania, Georgia says there’s a lot of Italian and German influences in the dishes she creates. When asked about her competition-winning recipe, she describes how she likes to focus on local foods and bring together different elements from all over the Caribbean, including Mexico.
A fulltime cook since owning a guest house in 2006, Georgia moved onto charter boats in 2012.
OTHER WINNERS IN THE UP TO 60FT CATEGORY:
Rebecca Evans – Graham’s Port
Georgia Stoica – Secret Oasis
Jade Konst – Xenia 50
WINNERS IN THE OVER 60FT CATEGORY:
Chrizaan Troch – Xenia 62
Nia Mora – Otterside
Briar Smith – Akasha
Chef Nia Mora, working aboard the 62ft catamaran, Otterside, created the winning entreé in the 60ft and over category. Nia grew up between Detroit and Mexico City. “My mother is African American, my father Mexican,” Says Nia. “Both are cultures with their own distinct culinary styles, with dishes that express the history and soul of the people. But what I feel is that the deep flavors of African American cuisine in contrast with the bright spicy flavors of Mexican cuisine has shaped my palate as a chef and I always strive to maintain a similar balance in my cuisine – full deep flavors with bright acidic or spicy accents.”
Nia says she has been pushing herself to do more modernist cooking.
“I bought a sous vide immersion circulator and thought to myself, what protein can this machine transform? Immediately I thought local conch. It’s a staple of Caribbean cuisine, it’s tough and difficult for many chefs to cook. I wanted to make conch that melted like butter. I paired it with a sous vide local lobster to heighten the flavor profile and served the seafood over a spicy peanut sauce that I got really good at making. I also made a pickled salad with local cucumber, fruits, and veggies. For me, the bright acidity cut through to the palate and complemented the seafood.”
Nia has been cooking since she was a kid and says she received her first cookery lesson from her dad. “He was making stir fry, and told me two very important things about cooking: 1) cook with love, and 2) clean as you go!
Held at beautiful Nanny Cay Marina in the British Virgin Islands, the Charter Yacht Society BVI Culinary Contest ranks among the top competitions in the charter yacht industry. With 25 entries, divided into categories classified by boat length (up 60ft, and 60ft and over), 2016 was no exception.
SPICY COCONUT AND SWEET POTATO SOUP WITH CILANTRO CREME FRAICHE AND RUM GLAZED BACON
FOR THE SOUP:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 clove of garlic, chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
2lb sweet potato, roughly cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups, unsweetened coconut milk
In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil and sauté onion until tender. Add curry paste, curry powder, paprika, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes, to release the flavors. Add the sweet potato, chicken broth and coconut milk. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is nice and soft. Pureé in a blender (careful the soup will still be hot)! Return to pot and season with salt and pepper.
FOR THE CREME FRAICHE:
1 tub of creme fraiche
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Mix well and return to fridge to set.
FOR THE RUM GLAZED BACON:
8 pieces of Bacon
3 tbsp Sugar
2 oz Dark rum
2 oz Butter
Heat oven to 200C/292ºF. Spread bacon strips out on a baking sheet. Do not overcrowd. Bake in over for 15 minutes. Heat butter in a pan and add sugar and rum, stirring until combined. Add bacon and let is sit for about 3 minutes. Return bacon to the baking sheet and sprinkle with pepper. Let it cool down and harden. Chop into small bits and set aside.
To serve: Pour soup into individual serving bowls.
Sprinkle with chopped bacon and top with a small amount of cilantro cremé fraiche