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On Eating Certified Angus Beef on a Private Caribbean Island

Chef Jay McCarthy shows off his meat
Chef Jay McCarthy shows off his meat

Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands welcomed celebrity chef Jay McCarthy, corporate chef of the six Vail Valley-based Group970 restaurants, as its second-ever guest chef in July. During his weeklong residency, McCarthy squared off with the resort's own award-winning chef, Lisa Sellers in a Colorado vs. Island barbecue cook-off, hosted a six-course Winemaker's Dinner for 30 guests at the resort's $12,000/night Falcon's Nest Villa, and taught a cooking class using local spices sourced from neighboring island Tortola.

At the behest of the folks at Certified Angus Beef, Eater headed down to the Carribean to check out the week of fun first-hand. Here's what went down.

The second-annual Bubbles & BBQ Guest Chef Event at Peter Island Resort & Spa comprised four events — a meet-the-chef Champagne reception, a BBQ beach cook-off, an exclusive Winemaker's Dinner, and a cooking class with Chef Jay McCarthy.

For the BBQ beach cook-off, the Texas Beef Council — who co-sponsored the week's festivities alongside Certified Angus Beef (Peter Island is CAB's top customer in the BVI), the US Meat Export Federation, Caribbean Cellars, and Veuve Clicquot — shipped a classic Texas smoker to the secluded island. Now, in light of the fact that it took three taxis, two planes, two inter-island ferries, and a golf cart to get one human to the resort from New York City, importing a 1,100 lb. smoker is no easy feat. The half-ton steel contraption was trucked overland from Texas to Miami, where it boarded a scheduled shipping container filled with produce and other products already bound for PI.

The smoker can hold between 200 and 250 lbs. of meat — Chef Jay's brisket and short ribs, in this case — or a whole goat or a whole small pig. McCarthy's mesquite chips managed to disappear en route to the island, but chefs looking to infuse their barbecue with island flavor can use a variety of local fruit woods instead — cashew, mango fruit wood, and even mango seeds, after they've been hard-dried by baking in the sun.

Peter Island's own chef Lisa Sellers opted to barbecue in traditional island steel drums. Her skirt steak was marinated in a local concoction of coconut, basil, and other herbs from the resort's secret only-chefs-allowed garden (we tried to talk her into giving us access, but no go) and she also served up a perfect baseball cut — a filet-mignon-shaped cut from the center of the top sirloin.

The epiphanal culinary moment of the week was, hands-down, the Winemaker's Dinner — an exclusive 30-guest evening held at the resort's mindblowing 22,000 square foot Falcon's Nest Villa, perched at the top of a hill overlooking the island. Chef Jay and co. served up a six-course dining experience of grilled shrimp, quail, cucumber gazpacho, pork lettuce wraps, sugar-cured Certified Angus Beef, to-die-for macaroni and cheese (four cheeses: Romano, Brie, Havarti, and Gouda, plus bacon), and finished off with the BVI National Culinary Team's gold-medal winning warm banana and chocolate brownie with avocado and ginger ice cream dessert.

Check out our gallery, above, which features photos of all the dishes, along with captions detailing paired wines from Veuve Clicquot and Caribbean Cellars.

Peter Island, the largest private island in the British Virgin Islands, is home to the 1,800 acre Peter Island Resort & Spa, a luxury vacation destination comprising 52 guest rooms/suites and three private villas—Falcon's Nest (where our dinner was held), Crow's Nest, and Hawk's Nest—meaning that no more than 200 guests are ever in residence on-island at one time.

Home to Deadman's Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the BVI, Little Deadmans Beach, Honeymoon Beach—a private, reservations-only enclave—White Bay Beach (perfect for snorkelers), and Big Reef Bay, Peter Island Resort also houses two restaurants, Deadman's Beach Bar & Grill and Tradewinds, where all meals are served. The ever-changing menus range from casual resort—club sandwiches, burgers, gourmet pizzas, salads—to nouveau island cuisine—spicy gumbos, blackened Mahi Mahi, local herb and coconut sauces, and (our favorite) a weekly Carribean buffet featuring classics like jerk chicken, peas and rice, plantains, pumpkin, roast pork, shrimp skewers, and curry-spiced salads. —Danica Lo

Disclosure: Travel to Peter Island and accommodation provided by Certified Angus Beef and Peter Island Resort & Spa.
· Certified Angus Beef [Official Site]
· Peter Island [Official Site]
· Peter Island Resort & Spa [Facebook]

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