As the demand for locally grown farm products among Aruban’s top restaurateurs is growing, more and more farmers-at-heart are attempting to take on the island’s lack of good soil and fresh water and rise to the challenge of agriculture.
The Hyatt Regency recently hosted a luncheon where local produce was featured. It was the initiative of Gerald Kock, from the University of Aruba’s Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management Studies (FHTMS). Following the success of that first event, Kock asked chef Urvin Croes of White Modern Cuisine to host the second round.
White Modern Cuisine staged an impressive luncheon on Thursday, featuring local products, organically grown and foraged by “cunukeros,” Aruba’s farmers, pioneering crops and producing high quality, fresh and delicious surprises.
As chef Urvin explains it, White Modern Cuisine is a regular client of local forager Frank Kelly of Taki, the Landfarm in Santa Cruz as well as Deli Caribbean, incorporating the just-harvested treasures into his stellar menu.
On the occasion of Thursday’s luncheon, chef Urvin planned a three-course extravaganza. The Summer Vegetable Salad was made of 30 fresh ingredients, 20 of which were grown in Aruba including tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers provided by The LandFarm’s owner Ari Lichtenstein. The other salad ingredients and flowers such as traditional seida, watapana, okra cress, flamboyant flower, frangipani flower, and reef bananas (banana di rif), were foraged by Taki Aruba, and Frank Kelly, a childhood friend of the talented chef.
The main course featured Mushrooms in SIX different styles, from risotto, to duxelle, with mushroom chips and steak in between, provided by Deli Caribbean, and Rick Wouters, who grow the world’s most beautiful champignons.
The dessert, with fruit provided by Frank Kelly featured a watermelon pico de gallo and basil pannecota. The event was orchestrated by Geeta Khemlani, of Trinity Promotions, and was attended by guest of honor Otmar Oduber, the island’s Minister of Tourism who explained the overall goal of the pronmotion, as showcasing the island’s farmers in support of the local economy, and the environment, and generally reducing the demand for imported goods.
The name of the promotion, Chanita ta di Fiesta, refers to a folk song describing a humble Aruban lady who sells her local delicacies in the city of Oranjestad every day, symbolizing the commitment of organizers to revive traditional heritage of locally produced dishes.
Pictured here Chef Urvin Croes, Gerald (Gino) Kock, the Minister of Tourism, Frank Kelly, Mary-Ann Werleman and their guests.
White Modern Cuisine at Palm Beach Plaza focuses on the experience of fine dining, where each dish is presented in a modern and unique style by Chef Urvin Croes, delivering a perfect balance between food and wine. The restaurant is highly rated on Tripadvisor.com.