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South Seas kicks off monthly events with vegan-themed dinner

By Staff | Jun 13, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED One of the vegan dishes created by the South Seas Island Resort's culinary team for a recent event. Pictured is beet poached tofu served with parsley mousse, carrot puree and a fennel and celery salad.

South Seas Island Resort is jumpstarting a new initiative in an effort to better utilize the property’s spacious grounds and to highlight the range and depth of its culinary team’s skills.

On June 12, it partnered with onsite yoga studio Ambu Yoga to host its first-ever vegan dinner, featuring locally-sourced produce. Patrick Faas, director of Food and Beverage, explained that the studio scheduled a retreat in honor of its third anniversary and the dinner was the culmination.

“That was kind of the motivating factor,” he said.

Paired with vegan wines, the four-course dinner featured items like Florida-grown mushroom pate, king oyster mushroom “scallops” with rouille, corn bisque served with crispy kale and pickled onions, an eggplant moussaka entree, and dark chocolate and cashew pots de creme with whipped coconut.

“There’s some really fun things you can do with vegan food,” Faas said.

The event was held on King Crown’s Lawn, overlooking the Pine Island Sound.

“It’s a very organic kind of an environment,” he said.

For those who missed out on the opportunity, there is still more to come.

“We really want to do this every single month of the year – a different theme or type of dinner that might be attractive to our local clientele and our guests,” Faas said. “To feature the resort itself, but also some of the culinary excellence we have. To provide a creative, engaging and interactive experience.”

So planning three months out at a time, that is what the resort plans to do.

On July 6, it will host Brews on the Beach in the luau area of its Sunset Beach.

“The luau space that we have, it’s really nice,” Faas said. “It’s nestled between palm trees.”

The resort is partnering with Big Top Brewery to feature some of its local brews, which also will be incorporated into the menu. The food will be seafood forward and include, among other dishes, “wreck fish” – a mild, locally-caught white fish. Guests will be able to interact with the chefs and brewery.

“No shoes allowed,” he said. “Basically, a fun kind of theme.”

Resort Executive Chef Keith Nickerson, who is working with Harbourside Bar and Grill Executive Chef Patrick Popores and Executive Sous Chef Ken Clasen on the menus for the pop-up dining events, explained that Big Top Brewery is even altering one of its brews specifically to pair with the menu.

“We’re really trying to compliment the flavors of their beers,” he said.

For example, a coconut porter will be used to create French vanilla bourbon-infused ice cream.

“It’s a delicious kind of dessert beer,” Faas said.

Nickerson pointed out that the mission is to utilize local available ingredients.

In addition, during the month of July, South Seas will serve craft beer from local breweries.

“All month long we’re doing a local brew, a craft brew celebration,” Faas said.

On Aug. 10, the resort will host a wine-focused dinner on the Marina Walk.

“We’re going to try to create somewhat of a summery feel with four or five chef stations,” he said. “It’s not going to be a formal sit-down dinner – it will be a fun, fluid flow of dining.”

“We’re going to really try to highlight some of the summer wines,” Faas added.

Food and beverage items will include frozen wine slushies, including a “fros” as well as a slushie made with New Zealand sauvignon blanc, and watermelon prepared with liquid nitrogen.

“We’re going to incorporate some fun and exciting thing,” he said of the watermelon, explaining that it will look like seared ahi tuna. “You would have no idea that you’re eating a piece of watermelon.”

Nickerson again plans to use local fish and shellfish to create the menu.

“We want to pair as many refreshing items that we can,” he said.

The aim is to present highly interactive dishes for the guests.

“We want chef interaction,” Nickerson said. “We want our guests to come and experience something different.”

Themes for future dinners could include a lobster boil, clambake and pig roast.

“We want to do a full-on seafood boil,” Faas said of when stone crab is back in season. “We can do a full-on bury-the-pig-in-the-sand kind of thing – there’s a lot of those types of ideas in play.”

The plan is for it all to culminate in December with a wine and food tasting.

Faas explained that the resort normally holds a holiday walk, but the goal is to take it up a notch.

“We’re going to really elevate it this time this year,” he said of the tentative food and wine event planned for the year’s end. “We’ll have a heightened theme to bring all that together.”

On a smaller scale, the resort is considering initiating weekly wine tastings, incorporating food and wine into its existing painting classes and more as a way to offer daily pop-up restaurant experiences.

“We’re getting our feet rooted into making that a part of our culture,” Faas said.

For more information, call 239-472-5111 or visit www.southseas.com.

South Seas Island Resort is at 5400 Plantation Road.