Paul Jobin spent a productive afternoon in the mighty Waikato on Sunday the 9th of June. Assisted by Sky City apprentice chef Minor Ben-Davies, Paul's menu combined internationally inspired dishes to deliver the bold flavours and interesting layers in texture that people have come to expect from this award winning chef.
Paul loves to challenge his diners to open their minds and he certainly broadened a few of their palates with his colourful entree. Encouraging the diners to try each component of the dish together for the full effect - the rich, smooth pumpkin tortellini was enlivened with a light, yet intensely flavoured coconut foam, the fresh basil leaves and Indian spice oil providing depth of flavour while the tiny explosions of the salmon cavier surprised each diner with each mouthful. The following course showcased a pair of dishes Paul developed during the rugby World Cup. The Argentinian grill steak was flame-grilled on the barbecue before being generously coated in a fresh chimichurri salsa of the same heritage. Paul had produced a rich and creamy salt ricotta which added another dimension to this uncomplicated, yet highly flavoursome dish. Served alongside the beef, tender grilled chicken thighs with a light and refreshing green apple and stem ginger relish. Strips of dried, cured ham finished this dish and lent it a Spanish quality. Rounding up the evening with a coconut milk pannacotta. The light and uplifting little milk jelly defied logic as it was perfectly set and dissolved instantly upon tasting. Paul had made a fresh sorbet of lychee, lime and coconut milk, and the lucky host was left with a tubful in the freezer which I am sure wouldn't last for long! The tropical final course was finished with the fresh flavours of mint and finely diced mango, culminating in a lush, vibrant dessert. The delighted diners savoured each mouthful, enjoying the opportunity to observe one of the countries most respected chefs in action. Winner of this esteemed prize pronounced it as the best idea ever and assured me he will be back to see the Smeg team at next years Waikato home show.