There is a reason why we have a strong connection to food. It is the only thing that engages all five of our senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. A good meal can make you feel as if you’ve been transported to another place in the world. It can evoke emotion and is usually how we celebrate big moments, entertain or even conduct business deals. American Express has developed an expertise in providing its Cardmembers with access to some of the most exclusive fashion, live music, sports and culinary experiences across the globe and its Platinum Dining experiences have quickly become one of my favourite perks.
With an American Express Platinum Card, the world is your oyster. It gives you first class access to phenomenal dining, travel and entertainment benefits, while allowing you to unlock memorable moments to the most exclusive experiences. Another benefit of the Card is access to the Platinum Concierge. Cardmembers can take advantage of the global network of concierge teams to help with any request, big or small, like dinner reservations or travel suggestions. If you’re a self-proclaimed savvy traveller and enjoy food as much as I do, this service makes owning the Card completely worth it. No matter where you are in the world, the Platinum Concierge can help create an itinerary completely based around your interests, in addition to making dining recommendations and suggestions for planning an unforgettable experience wherever you are in the world.
Last week, I was lucky enough to partake in an American Express Platinum Dining event at Jump, Oliver & Bonacini’s globally inspired American restaurant, located in Toronto’s financial district. For $155 per person, guests of this dining experience were treated to a customized menu by Chef Ben McNally, wine pairings, and a meet and greet with renowned British Chef, Nigella Lawson. Popular across the pond in the UK for her delectable cookbook recipes and popular cooking shows, the former journalist chatted all things food and entertaining with the privileged diners in attendance. Later that evening, we got to nosh on four delicious courses, all from Lawson’s most recent cookbook, “Simply Nigella”.
Throughout the course of the evening, Nigella shared a bit about what’s happening currently in the London food scene – apparently East London is where it’s at these days. She expressed the one thing that all restaurant patrons are looking for from a dining experience, which is to feel and be treated as they are a regular, even if it’s their first time there. “This will no doubt give restaurants repeat customers,” she said. My first impression of Nigella is that for one, she is strikingly beautiful and has that great British wit about her. As posh and refined as she is, she is also down to earth and relatable. It was interesting to hear the basic kitchen items she can’t live without, which she listed as lemons, fresh ginger, sea salt flakes, English mustard, good bread, cottage cheese, blue cheese and as she claims, “I have a real thing for chick peas.”
The menu read as simple and understated but the flavours in each course were anything but. During the cocktail hour, we started with passed canapés of Broccomole on Tortilla, Brazilian cheese bread and an unforgettable oxtail on Sourdough toast appetizer that had people talking about for the remainder of the evening. To top it off, it was paired with Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne. This was followed by a feta and avocado salad and red-cooked chicken with Cuban black beans and steamed rice as the main; paired with a 2006 Stratus “Red”. To round out the four courses, we ended with Nigella’s infamous Lemon Pavlova, also paired with the champers, which I consumed in micro bites, hoping that it would never end.
Photography by Danielle Reynolds and Ryan Emberly
Platinum Cardmembers can take advantage of the Card’s relationships with over 1,000 highly acclaimed restaurants both in North America and abroad. Would you like to receive a menu and wine list review before choosing a restaurant to dine in? Directions to where you will be eating? Not to worry, American Express has you covered. And it doesn’t stop there. After making a reservation at one of their restaurant partners, you can receive additional perks such as: glasses of champagne, complimentary appetizers and much more.
The current directory of restos in Toronto that have partnered with the program are the best of the best: Byblos, Blowfish, La Societe, Momofuko, Montecito, Patria, The Chase, Weslodge, Café Boulud, Canoe, and Harbour Sixty. For more information on American Express and its Platinum Dining Program, head to AmericanExpress.ca. If you’re already a Cardmember and would like to take advantage of these amazing benefits, call Platinum Card Concierge at 1-866-323-6979 or log onto the Platinum Card Website.