Hitting the Sweet-Tart Spot: Lychees On Deck

Bradley digs into Luc’s citrus poached shrimp surprise!

A week from today, the largest MGFD contingent to date — and with a farmer in tow — flies to St. Thomas to board Oasis of the Seas and test the next pair of South Florida farm-sourced menus  at 150 Central Park: Meadow and Artisan.  For the summer shift, we are introducing two new players: lychee, a favorite locally-farmed fruit native to Southeast Asia with a fast and furious season, and an exotic import of another kind named Luciano.

Meet Englishman Luciano “Luc” Bonci, the Royal Caribbean sous chef who will be taking the helm as our new chef de cuisine at 150 Central Park beginning June 2.  As superstar Jamie Seyba heads back to MGFD land after a job well done bringing Michael’s menus to life at sea for 8 (read: e-i-g-h-t) months, we are making a genuine transition by moving Luc into the MGFD kitchen for a couple weeks.  Here he’ll be able to train with chef de cuisine Bradley Herron on all things fresh, simple and pure, as well as flex his creativity a bit away from the structure of life as a ship chef.  We gave his shrimp above two thumbs up for flavor and texture, with brunoise chorizo, brioche croutons soaked in syrup and a confetti of other ingredients.  A lot going on there, but as Bradley likes to say, it didn’t suck!

My next victim! I catch Luc redhanded in the Chef’s Table galley on Oasis, October 2011.

The two join Michael, Wine Director Eric Larkee, and myself seaside next week, where, in a matter of four days, Meadow and Artisan will be put through the ringer as they currently stand conceptually to make them implementation-sound for their first service on June 2.  Hopefully the lychee harvest will kick in on-schedule, but in the meantime, we will be working with last year’s harvest of this freeze-friendly fruit for dishes including Florida Rock Shrimp and Lychee summer roll, sweet and spicy dipping sauce; Hedy’s Lychee “Tres leches” Hani’s goat milk sherbet, biscotti crumbles, toasted meringue; and Pan Roasted Scallop, whipped celeriac, lychee butter sauce, parsley salad.

The Samimy grove at peak of harvest on June 11, 2011. When this season’s sweet spot will be remains to be seen with this wacky weather.

On Friday, Luc treks down to Homestead to meet owner Roland Samimy, Michael’s longtime lychee supplier for MGFD, to experience the farming of lychee first-hand in the grove and tape the next in our Farm-to-Ship Webisode series with Royal Caribbean.  Read about the Samimys and their product here on The Genuine Kitchen, and find out more about Luc, his background, and how he got hooked up with this gig in the coming weeks.  We’re excited to have new blood onboard and someone passionate about learning what we’re about here at The Genuine Hospitality Group to represent Team Schwartz.  It’s a great opportunity for all of us to grow and learn!

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