Occasionally in the course of writing food and restaurant reviews one meal will really stand out from the others. Usually this is due to the chef excelling above all my expectations, and I will quickly tell readers of my experience.
Gourmet Getaways mission statement is that we sample everything in our travels, and share only the best with readers. Negative food experiences have no place on this website… until now!
The odour emanating from the dish placed in front of me was not one I would usually associate with a meal being served in a restaurant.
The sauce was pungent. The aroma was an acidic, sickly mixture of something both sweet and sour.
Disturbingly, I would even be comfortable using the term “offensive.” The dish smelled repulsive in a way that only something which completely invades your nostrils can be.
I am dining at a restaurant very familiar to me. There has been a change in chef for tonight’s service. Mahalia Williams has prepared my meal according to a recipe which forms part of the GISHWHES Challenge sheet for 2014.
GISHWES is short for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World has Ever Seen!
Once registered the participants are placed in random teams of 15. On the GISHWES site there is a list of challenge items to be collected or achieved. The challenges are documented and submitted for judging and point allocation.
This is the reason I am sitting in front of a bowl of food which has turned my stomach in the same way that cleaning up an individuals vomit might.
The item on Mahalia’s list reads – VIDEO or IMAGE Challenge.
“It’s time the Internet’s bourgeoning Culinary Master was recognized… or panned. Prepare West Collins’ “Pasta with Jam Sauce” and have a noted food critic review it. It must be a qualified, published critic. If they’re not a published critic, don’t submit.”
I was told I would be served “Pasta with Jam Sauce.” The title of the dish had not prepared me for what I would be served. I had imagined a delicious dessert pasta dish!
Visually I could determine some of the various ingredients contained in the dish. An apple had been halved, some berries were noted, pasta shapes and crackers were also present. I was also told the sauce was made using a combination of orange juice and tomato sauce.
Nothing I learned about the dish was inspiring me to take a spoonful.
The Pasta with Jam dish was served hot. This allowed the acidic fumes from the concoction to waft freely around the room. For the comfort of other diners it was decided the meal should be served to me outside, alfresco style.
The fresh air also settled my stomach a little.
Sometimes it’s best to just jump right in.
I raised a large spoonful of the dish and moved it toward my mouth. I smiled for the camera. My lips quivered as I tried to pries open my mouth. The smile was frozen on my face and my jaw had tightened. I was unable to move. I continued to hold this pose, and my breath.
I was willing my lips to part. I knew that very shortly I would need to breath and the smell of vomit from the dish would once again overcome me.
“I should just get it over with!” I thought
Then it happened… I took a breath in, and gagged involuntarily! I was now in grave danger of losing my previously meal.
The dish had to remain untouched. It was completely unsuitable for consumption. Not even a little piece of animal shaped pasta had escaped being tainted by the sauce.
So my review of Pasta with Jam Sauce is one about the experience, the aroma and thankfully not the flavour. As I complete this article I again have that familiar queasy feeling I will now always associate with GISHWHES.
This has been a review of the all time inedible dish. Even black and white couldn’t make the dish look attractive!
Good luck Mahalia xx