721 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco
740 North Collier Blvd., Marco
Before Naples mayor Bill Barnett was sworn into office he might never have considered having the opportunity to put together a welcoming speech for the President of the United Nations, representatives from Congress, and the official ambassador from Macedonia.
With the great melting pot that Southwest Florida is, and all the visitors, dignitaries, and global icons that frequent our shores, anything is possible when a diverse colony of international citizens are busy creating cause and effect scenarios.
When Collier County resident Lou Vlasho was officially appointed as honorary Consul of the republic of Macedonia, Chef Laura Owen of the Bayview restaurant in the Esplanade had no idea that she would be preparing dinner for the President of the United Nations General Assembly and the entire Macedonian diplomatic corps.
When Bayview proprietor and maître d’ Gligor Tuparov requested that Chef Laura served a dinner featuring fresh seafood and specialties from local gulf waters, it wasn’t considered to be an unusual request until a very special guest list was revealed.
“When you work at the Bayview,” Chef Laura explained, “Anything can happen. Restaurants on the water always attract a special clientele, and every night at the Bayview is an international night. We often have any number of languages spoken on the terraces and in the dining room, but as every Chef understands... with well traveled patrons, the food just has to be a little beyond special.”
She continued, “When Gligor explained the importance of the guest list and that, there might not have ever been a more prestigious group to dine at the Esplanade, I really felt my favorite culinary coach and mentor sitting on my shoulder. At first, I was a little nervous until I thought about Peter and the Queen. After all Peter Marek was my favorite and most confidence-building teacher, and he did cook for the Queen of England! When Gligor gave me the news I thought about everything, all at once — that’s just something that all Chefs do — and then I went to work on the specialty menu. I knew it had to be outstanding, but simple in a local Florida way.”
“As far as local specialties,” Chef Laura confided, “There couldn’t be anything more local or special than fresh Gulf shrimp and snapper straight out of the gulf.
“For an appetizer, I decided upon a jumbo shrimp cocktail of sorts but with a Mediterranean flair. The shrimp were the largest and freshest available. I prepared them cocktail style with boiling but with a watchful eye for just the right color of pink. After the shelled shrimp were presented fan-style on a cocktail plate, I added a Mediterranean-style octopus salad. After the octopus was cooked, I then chilled, sliced, diced and tossed the octopus with fresh parsley, lemon juice, diced Bermuda onions, and extra virgin olive oil.
“For dinner, I prepared my own version of a Yellow tail snapper provincial. When preparing this dish, the snapper has to be absolutely fresh to compliment the flavors of a rustic tomato and olive fondue.
“To prepare the fondue, simply make a stew with tomatoes, onions, Greek style olives, garlic, anchovies to taste, fresh oregano and extra virgin olive oil.
“Preparing the fish is really simple. Just sauté the snapper in butter on both sides and gently ladle on the tomato and olive fondue on top and serve with a fresh sprig of parsley.
“When I was presented to the table of over twenty major diplomats and their wives it really was a moment to be proud of. When I met the President of the United Nations and all the ambassadors and foreign ministers, I couldn’t help but wonder: how many famous chefs from around the world have prepared these folks dinner?”
In attendance at the Bayview restaurant at the Esplanade on Smokehouse Bay and presented to Chef Laura Owen and maître d’ Gligor Tuparov on Feb. 9 were: Dr Srdjan Kerim, President of the United Nations General Assembly; Dr. Antonio Milososki, Minister of foreign affairs of Macedonia; Dr. Zoran Jolevski, ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia; Dr Riste Gusterov, and Lou Vlasho, honorary consul of the Republic of Macedonia, their wives and companions.
Congratulations Chef Laura Owen!
The Paradise Shrimp Company at 721 Bald Eagle Drive in the Pelican Plaza, always has some of the highest quality seafood around. To recreate Chef Laura Owen’s Fan of Jumbo shrimp cocktail with Mediterranean style octopus salad, and her yellow tail snapper provincial ala Bayview, visit the folks at Paradise Shrimp Company for some of the freshest seafood available.