Dear Readers (I’m looking at you, Baig),
Sorry for the recent stretch of inactivity. I’ve been feeling quite uninspired lately, and decided it’s best to hibernate the laptop and take a break for a
few days week- from blogging and tastings alike. Bake some granola. Make some pumpkin hommus. Binge watch Bourdain in all his eloquence. Eat aforementioned granola and hommus (preferably not together). But then Jason Atherton came to Dubai.
When I did flip open the (dreadfully procrastinated) list of pending posts, the entry that excited me most was of the recent masterclass I was privileged enough to attend at Marina Social, under the tutelage of Jason Atherton (whose introduction precedes him), and Tristin Farmer (the Chef Patron at Marina Social). All the heavy labor was done by the extremely talented kitchen staff though, but considering how delightful they were, I’m not complaining. I seriously couldn’t stop thanking the PR for inviting me, she’s one of the best PR people I’ve ever worked with, but that’s another blogpost for another day.
We kicked off what would later be remembered as one of the most memorable events ever, with a buttery breakfast of croissants, coffee, and anecdotes of Jason’s culinary career and how it progressed from humble to (enviably) swanky- I mean come on, the guy has internationally acclaimed restaurants across the globe, is Michelin starred, and chills out with the likes of Gordon Ramsay and David Beckham like it’s no big deal. It’s a pretty big deal, ok. As if that wasn’t enough, we also (keenly) observed demos being made of some of Marina Social’s most iconic menu items, try our hand(s) at making them, AND got to bag copies of their coveted secret recipes to bring home with us!
We started off by making the Goat Cheese Churros with Truffle Honey and Goat Cheese Salt. This is where I’m going to let you all in on a secret that is no secret: I can’t stand goat cheese; a whiff of goat cheese will give me goat cheese nightmares for weeks, if not months. To me, goat cheese tastes and smells like goat hair. Therefore, I am perhaps the only person in Dubai (if not the planet), who isn’t nuts about these churros. My lack of appreciation for them in no way undermined my appreciation for the nearly scientific process it takes to make them though. I could tell you how exactly they’re made, but I choose not to.
Next, we made pizzas. Now I was excited. The sourdough culture they use for their pizza crust should be celebrating it’s first birthday next month; Stephania will be a year old, yay! Here’s what you need to know about sourdough culture: it’s safe for gluten intolerant people too, because you’re not overworking the dough. I was nodding in approval and fist bumping the sky because this reaffirmed my theory that its not gluten that people are allergic too, its the over processing of gluten and artificial yeast that causes a problem. With a sourdough culture, you’re not using any artificial yeast, and it adds such an earthy depth of flavor, almost like it’s wholemeal bread. Although the sourdough culture is a year old, the dough is made fresh everyday, and it’s no surprise they serve up 24 to 36 pizzas a day!
For dessert, we made the Rhubarb Souffle with Vanilla Custard that is without doubt THE most iconic Marina Social dessert. Every time I see a Bird’s Eye custard container, my heart skips a beat. I was legitimately so excited about getting my hands on this recipe, it’s not even funny. The recipe was surprisingly a little different from a traditional souffle, We also learnt how to make the Apple Tatin, which I was foolishly less enthusiastic about till I ate a spoonful and realized what I had been missing out on all this time. The reason I’m usually not a fan of apple tatins is because they’re too sweet for my liking. These guys, however, use Pink Lady apples, which are deceptively tart (but not overly so), and manage to soften up without losing their form, which makes them a perfect fit for this dessert.
And then of course we got to reap the fruits of our labor and stuff our faces with arguably the best food in Dubai, in the company of arguably the best bloggers in Dubai 😉
Thank you once again, Marina Social and Jason Atherton, for this wonderful initiative.