Sharing skills: John Ash, left met Club Manager at Mid Ocean Stanley Ray, middle, in the 90s. They are pictured with Head Chef Thomas Frost, right. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Sharing skills: John Ash, left met Club Manager at Mid Ocean Stanley Ray, middle, in the 90s. They are pictured with Head Chef Thomas Frost, right. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

The 'father of Wine Country cuisine’ John Ash is on the island teaching Mid Ocean Club members some of his culinary secrets. 

During this, his first trip to the island, he has been preparing special dinners and hosting wine seminars and pairings at the Club.

He met Mid Ocean Club Manager Stanley Ray back in the late 90s at a culinary competition in the Fetzer Vineyard, California. Bermuda won the competition and the pair hit it off. Ray has been trying to find an opportunity to bring Ash to the island ever since. 

Ash told the Bermuda Sun: “We did our first event yesterday and it’s the first time it’s ever been done here — a kind of cooking class and lunch in the brand new kitchen here. 

Poultry

“We showed members what they spend their money on through four courses while I talked to them about how to cook those courses. I have a new book called Culinary Birds so we were cooking poultry — we did duck breast salad and oranges and Korean chicken wings that were spicy and good.”

Ash has been taken around the island and has been eating at some of the establishments. Asked whether Bermuda had much of a reputation for its food within the culinary industry, Ash said: “There’s not much reputation about Bermuda or its cuisine — being from California people don’t know much about it, they know it’s beautiful and British-influenced and that is about as much as they know. There is a lot of storytelling that could be done from Bermuda but for some reason it is a little bit mysterious to us.”

He said that will change when celebrity chef Marcus Samuellson opens the Fairmont Hamilton’s signature restaurant next year. “He is great and I think that is exactly what you need to do to get people and locals to appreciate it here. My sense is so far at least and I certainly haven’t done a survey of the island — I haven’t been to Hamilton yet — but it seems a little stuck back in time food-wise at least the menus that I have seen. There is a whole world of things out there I think Asian —  in the rest of the world Asia is the place. 

“There are lots of flavours that I haven’t see here. There is also the whole world of sustainable foods, which is really my thing about really paying attention to where things come from and how they are produced, harvested and packaged. It doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda here.”

Ray said that he hoped to introduce more events, bringing prominent
members of the food and wine community, to the island.

He told us: “It is something I am trying to introduce, at least once or twice a year, high- prolife personalities come and partake of the island itself and learn a bit about Bermuda.”