Tuesday 27 October, 2020

DJ Kurt Riley takes a culinary flight to Lebanon, Italy via Chez Maria

Dj Kurt Riley savoured a couple of meals including Chez Maria's popular shrimp Alfredo, topped with Parmesan cheese. (Photo: Contributed)

Dj Kurt Riley savoured a couple of meals including Chez Maria's popular shrimp Alfredo, topped with Parmesan cheese. (Photo: Contributed)

With restricted flights and so many events cancelled or postponed until next year, it’s hard to get your adventure kick.

And, if you’re a frequent flyer like global DJ Kurt Riley you might be feeling a little restricted in these COVID times.

Flying to play parties all over the world from the USA to Europe, and from South America to other parts of the Caribbean was his norm up until recently.

However, between producing and working remotely with the New York-based radio station Irie Jam, Kurt has been missing the foodie adventures experienced from his travels.

His eclectic taste shows in his body of work.

Kurt likes his food like his music: diverse and a hitmaker!

Kurt likes to sample the local fare of the cities he’s visited – street food, fine dining, you name it, and he isn’t afraid to try new dishes.

He admitted he hasn’t been to Lebanon so the Kingston-based restaurant Chez Maria was the ideal substitute for the Mediterranean flavours.

Chez Maria is a family-owned restaurant and has been around for 16 years. The saloon at 80 LMR in Kingston was the diner of choice.

The owners, originally from Lebanon – located in West Asia, came to Jamaica over a decade ago and made The Rock their home.

They pride themselves on supporting local farmers to bring the freshest ingredients to their authentic dishes.

‘Music is like food,’ he says. ‘I play music for a diverse audience – from street sessions to large carnivals and private functions for diplomats – all different musical tastes.’

Trying new foods, he says, ‘inspires me and takes me to that place’.

The first flight: Classic Shish Tawook combo

Riley opted for a quick and fast menu item – a simple lunch meal that he could savour in-between studio sessions.

First up was their classic shish tawook turned into a combo wrap that was served with fries and a small portion of salad topped with pita chips.

A real value meal, this combo costs $1000 and is a specialty menu item, only available at the restaurant until October 31st.

The second flight: Popular Shrimp Alfredo

A trip to Italy with one of Chez Maria’s most popular dishes was next – the shrimp Alfredo pasta.

The tasty fare is typically served in large portions in a creamy, homemade white sauce tossed with sautéed shrimp and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese.

Riley this to be a hit as Chez Maria is known for their pasta dishes which include everything from spaghetti Bolognese to Penne al Fuoco.

After having a little chat with co-principal Nancy Hado, Riley admitted to trying different types of food but vegetarian cuisine is his least favourite. 

The final leg: Falafel platter

She brings out the falafel platter served with fresh veggies, homemade cucumber pickles, and turnips along with a fresh tahini sauce.

He took a bite… ‘Is this vegetarian? This isn’t vegetarian!’ Kurt exclaimed in disbelief. He asked twice, because it’s so flavourful.

Moments later they both laugh and Nancy confirms it's vegetarian and the conversation drifts to the different musical genres they have on their playlists.

Take a trip to Italy and Lebanon via Chez Maria at 80MLR to try something different.

Follow DJ Kurt Riley on IG

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