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A smorgasbord of significant events in 2018

BON CHANCE AT RUM APPETIT

At Angostura’s second Rum Appetit fine dining dinner on Saturday 28th July at Josef’s in Maraval, chef Josef Habr had a choice of two approaches: he could have prepared dishes that paired well with the four fine rums Angostura proposed for the dinners – Angostura 7 and three aged rums known by years, viz, 1919, 1824 and 1787 – or he could actually have cooked his dishes using the rums as an ingredient. Josef chose the second approach.

Thankfully.

Even before dinner formally started, diners were the principal beneficiaries of this second approach.

From the first bite of the Arabic fish kibbeh hors d’oeuvres actually made with Angostura 7 to the very last course – traditional Lebanese baklava done three ways, with pistachio, almonds and walnuts, served with Angostura 1919 rum & raisin ice cream – every dish was infused with the rums and every guest reaped the rewards in taste of the flavours used in preparation. With a main course of “lamb eye” (lamb tenderloin) in a 1787 sauce, a first course of shrimp doused and served in an 1874 rum-tomato sauce with feta cheese and a beetroot carpaccio salad, this was fine dining accompanied by fine rums. Before dionner, Angostura’s chief mixologist, Raymond Edwards, the understudy of Angostura’s master brewer, John Georges, led diners in a tasting of the four rums used in the cooking; it is difficult to imagine a better aperitif.

TOMMY, CAN YOU BEER ME?

Tommy’s at MovieTowne – properly called Tommy’s Brewing Company, the brainchild of local businessman John Tannous – may have a better chance of surviving and thriving than any of the microbreweries started in Trinidad for a single simple reason: Tommy’s serves its half-dozen locally brewed, handcrafted beers in the same place it makes them. Microbreweries tend to fail because they cannot sell enough beer to cover the cost of the biggest line items in their balance sheets: the cost of bottling and transport of the beer.



Tommy’s stands to overcome the principal challenge facing handcrafted beer – transporting it – by simply piping it straight from the vats Tommy’s customers can see through the glass wall in the dining room straight to the taps behind the counter. And Tommy’s proposes to overcome the major challenge of any business – getting the product to the consumer – by reversing it: Tommy’s hopes to bring its customers to its product. With Tommy’s price points undercutting imported beers significantly, there is certainly an incentive for lovers of ales, stouts, porters, pilsners, bocks and German Dunkels and wheat beers to make the trip to MovieTowne.



Every dish on Tommy’s relatively small, regularly-changing menu has been handpicked by some of the most experienced restaurateurs and chefs in Trinidad (including Peter George and Christian Grini of Trotters and Buzo) to pair well with Tommy’s handmade beers. The brews themselves, the most important part of any microbrewery, crafted by brewer Satyamohan Tripathy, include the Stowaway Indian Pale Ale, a genuine IPA that could be found in the finest pubs in England.

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Huawei Wowee

Cré Olé pictures editor, Carla Castagne, dismissed the hype about the Huawei P10 smartphone camera until she found out it had, not just one, but two lenses made by Leica, the German camera maker, the dominant brand name in high-end cameras for over a century. So Carla put aside her assumption that no smartphone camera could be as good as the P10 was supposed to be. And discovered it is. Here is Carla’s report.

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As a food photographer, I cringe at the food pictures people share on social media; I cringe, not for the people who post these awful pictures, but for the chefs who made those great dishes, and know they really look NOTHING like the mess they see tagged to their restaurant! I feel so sorry for the chefs, sometimes, I contemplate writing a book called, “Food Photography for Dummies”.

But, then, I know food photography is not easy. In the 16 years I’ve been taking the food photographs for Cré Olé, I’ve learned the basics: start with a good – i.e., expensive – camera; learn –slowly, painfully – about lighting, backgrounds, plate positioning and, critically, focus. I’ve also upgraded my cameras often.
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Five years ago I bought my Leica D-Lux 6 to capture a once-in-a-lifetime holiday without lugging my heavy Cannon EO50 SLR all over the Grand Canyon! My Leica quickly became my “take everywhere” camera, even on Cré Olé shoots, because it allows a completely different type of picture and, most important, because it is so much smaller, it is much easier to be creative with my camera angles.

And then I realised the Huawei P10 is even smaller than the D-Lux 6!

So, for shoots for this year’s magazine, I took my Huawei P10 with me, too; in the worst case scenario, even if it couldn’t deliver the high-quality, high-resolution pictures we need in Cré Olé, I could always make phone calls on it! Without expecting very much, despite all I’d heard, I used the phone on several shoots, starting with the professional mode and shooting in RAW, the high-quality format.
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But I quickly discovered it was far simpler – and, often, actually better – to shoot in the auto mode, and rely on the ‘bokeh’ or wide aperture effect as well as such auto-mode settings as monochrome, HDR (high dynamic range), panorama and night shot, as well as silky water, car light trails, light graffiti and star track.

With my Canon, to take a picture with those effects would require a tripod and a pretty long time to set up. With the Huawei, I snapped them. The lenses are that good and the camera’s processing ability that effective.

Shoot first focus later

Even if you mess up the shot with the camera, you can almost always fix it by using a seemingly endless list of options in edit mode, because all the information related to it is saved with the image. If, e.g., in using, the bokeh effect, you realise the camera was not focused on the spot you wanted to be the centre of attention, you simply change the focal point in editing – and you can do this on the handheld phone, without saving to a computer and fiddling for hours. The Huawei P10 gives Adobe Photoshop serious competition.

The pictures on this page show the P10’s quality. But, if you really want to see what it can do, turn to page 69. I took that dramatic picture with the Huawei P10! And I am told the Huawei Mate 10, scheduled for release in Trinidad in early 2018, is even better!

In the end, I have mixed feelings about the Huawei 10. On the one hand, it makes my job far easier; on the other, it threatens to make my job obsolete.

Because the Huawei P10 turns anyone into a food photographer. Anyone’s plate shots look professional taken with this phone.

So, if I were a fancy restaurant chef, I’d have a Huawei P10 mounted on each table, with a cord attached to it, (so it couldn’t be stolen, because people would be tempted to, after seeing the pictures) and I’d make every guest sign a form promising to use only this phone to share pictures of their meal on socialmedia.

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And, if I did write that “Food Photography for Dummies”, it would end up being one page: an advertising flier with a picture of the Huawei P10 on it.

EAT LOVE BAKEThe best thing since sliced bread

Trinidadians believe in their bakeries, so much so that VS Naipaul even wrote a short story – The Baker’s Story – about the art. In a place that actually gave rise to a bakery named “Daily Bread” (as in, “Give us this day our”) it is no surprise to find bakeries are also centres of caring and community. Cré Olé lists here some of our favourites.

SWEET FOR DAYSWhere there’s a whisk there’s a way

Welcome to Cré Olé (pronounced, “Cray Olay”),

The Guide to Dining in Trinidad & Tobago.

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