Asolare Takes Top Entree at Flavors — Happy Fish, East West Catering, Westin and Tap Room Also Win

Asolare’s beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes and asparagus alongside a seared scallop with pumpkin puree and house-cured bacon, below, took top entrée of the night. A huge crowd, above, packed the Westin Resort for the fundraising event. All photos by Tropical Focus

Hundreds of residents packed two ballrooms at the Westin Resort and Villas on Saturday night, November 13, for an exciting night of fine food, wine and cocktails for Flavors St. John.

The annual St. John Rotary Club fundraiser brings together the island’s top chefs and mixologists to show off their skills to support the club’s scholarship fund. Judges from some of the area’s top restaurants selected the best appetizer, entrée, bar food and dessert of the night, while the crowd got in on the fun by choosing the best overall presenter and best mixologist.

The judges for this year’s Flavors were Paloma Helm and Scott Hart from Dove Restaurant on Tortola, Tavia Babb from Salud Bistro on St. Croix,  Brandon Buschart of Blue Shore Grill on St. Thomas and Ched Sharpless from Modern Sauté and The Balley at St. Thomas Yacht Club.

After tasting treats from truffled egg salad and three different banh mi selections, to glazed shrimp and eggplant tapenade, the judges and the crowd had their work cut out for them.

Flavors attendees also enjoyed sampling enticing cocktails and tasting fine wines from Bellows, West Indies Corp., Prestige Wine Group and Dionysus before final decisions were made.

In the end, East West Catering’s lobster and shrimp potsticker won best appetizer. The night’s best entrée went to Asolare, which served up beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes and asparagus alongside a seared scallop with local pumpkin purée and house cured bacon.

East West Catering owner Julie Van Pelt celebrates after learning she won best appetizer for her shrimp and lobster potstickers.

The Tap Room won for best bar food for its pulled pork sliders with savory bacon succotash and parsnip creme. The Westin took home the night’s top dessert with their large selection of treats including chocolate truffles with a variety of toppings and lemon grass creme brulée.

Best mixologist of the night went to Happy Fish. Mixologist Kevin Baker created a tasty spiced concoction of Kettle One vodka with fresh local tamarind, lemon, chai with a Kettle One Citroën agave nectar reduction.

Best overall presenter was a close call between Asolare, which lost by one point, and the Westin, which also served up seared scallops with creamy risotto.

Flavors co-chairs Katherine Steinborn of Weddings by KatiLady and Paul Kessock of West Indies Corp. worked hard to make the night a smash, and the results were obvious.

Before the ballroom turned into a disco for residents to dance the night away, St. John Rotary Club President Bruce Munro announced that Kessock is this year’s Paul Harris Fellow recipient, for his tireless work on behalf of the group.

Westin Resort and Villas won top dessert of the night, above, with a selection of lemongrass creme brulee and chocolate truffles.

Kevin Baker’s spiced Ketel One vodka drink with fresh local tamarind, lemon and chai won best mixologist for Happy Fish.

Some of the night’s fine wine samples included offerings from Bellows, Prestige Wine Group, West Indies Corp., Dionysus and Premier Wines and Spirits.