Jan. 2018: Michelin Chef Jonathan Berntsen at the Capital Club Bahrain sounds straight forward enough, although some might read into that that he just popped in. Nope! Jonathan Berntsen is a Danish Michelin Chef from his sole restaurant ‘Clou’ in Copenhagen and he came to cook. Jonathan stayed at least three days displaying his creations to a well heeled membership at the 7 star establishment high up in the Financial Harbour sky in Bahrain. Many wannabe chefs who were lucky enough to be invited by the club got a chance to witness the master at work and garner a few tips in his kitchen.
The media were also invited to sample one menu of Jonathan’s and at a guess for sure, none of the reporters will review the food in any detail, more write about the man and the event. This is Bahrain style and all so very safe, when indeed Michelin couldn’t give a toss about the person, even if they’d been to the moon and back. It should be the food on review, glowing or whether it upsets the host or not. That is how it is in the real world. Big boys don’t cry – much!
In reality, it would be a travesty for ‘Who Does What’ to actually review the dishes as say a main stream magazine or newspaper reporter might. It would do no justice or be constructive since like the other journalists present and to be fair, few if any regularly experience such gastronomic complexity. It is very likely that most of us are standard Middle Eastern and Asian weaned, or bacon and egg in a few cases with perhaps the occasional soirée to the local Italian or even Mexican gaff, claiming ‘you dined out’. The bottom line is then; to claim that Michelin Jonathan Berntsen’s presentations are; ‘tasty, not tasty, magic’or whatever would be incredulous or fake. As Jonathan states; ‘We eat with our eyes’. Presentation is so important and Mr. Berntsen knows exactly what he is doing in that department.
There were a few; ‘Umms and oooo’s and OMG! that is delish emanating from up and down the table and this is where we really failed. As the producer Svetlana wanted to do, take vox pops from some of the American Ladies Association who were also present, to see what they thought. A very lively bunch indeed and always game for a few pix and comments. Again, Jonathan appeared to be of slightly more interest to them than the food. Off camera, all seemed very satisfied, so let’s score Jonathan 10 out of 10
Obviously, one dines at ‘Clou’ for that extravagance, so one is never sure about taste. A good Michelin chef would be more than happy to explain his or her creations and this is what happens at Clou. When we say ‘one menu’ we are not kidding. Watch the video and Chef Jonathan explains that guests to his restaurant don’t actually get a menu as such, they get a list of the dishes they will eat but as for choice, again nope! Jonathan decides what ‘YOU’ will eat and you can be assured that burger and chips will not be offered. He mentions ‘sea urchins’ or ‘uni’ as they are apparently called in ‘Caviar for Breakfast’ land. Now that is an acquired taste without a doubt and not for the faint-hearted, but surely gobbled up with gusto at any opportunity. It is a wonder how such off the beaten track tastes are so sought after by the wealthy. Some of Jonathan’s ingredients are not so easy to come by, so when he gets the opportunity, in the pan they go. Unless a sushi of course, then he rolls that up in some equally exotic cocktail. Jonathan exclaims that there is some arrogance with having a no choice menu, but goes on to say that a Michelin Chef is about ‘their food’, speaking of it as if they own it. Well, they do! This approach seems to be the way to more success and Chef Jonathan has nothing whatsoever to complain about, stating that he is constantly busy.
Of course, we mere minions and not worthy would have to steal a yacht first before we could sell it in order to have enough money to dine in Clou for four to five hours, which is the average time guests stay according to Chef Jonathan in his interview.
One supposes that a recommendation from a Michelin chef would mean that the dish is first class and most desirable. At home, Jonathan eats mainly take away, so I guess we should have asked him which ‘take away’ he would recommend.