Top Shelf: Sunchoke Vichyssoise with Smoked Salmon and Golden Quail Egg

Mar 17, 2019 by Timothy MacDonald

Top Shelf: by Chef Timothy MacDonald

All that glitters is not gold. But when in desperate need to elevate a dish to new heights, gold, silver and bronze leaf is the way to go.

With Indian sweets, it’s common to garnish with silver leaf – to impress guests, I assume. In essence, it’s a sign of respect for guests, and its use in the megayacht industry is well-suited.

I have two standbys for which I use gold and silver leaf. The first, the Mittel Thunderball, is a white chocolate sphere filled with a potent green chili and coriander paste, wrapped in silver leaf and served with frozen yogurt and cilantro cress. The guests are presented with a silver Thunderball. An explosion occurs, then there is the post-diffusion cooling element of the frozen yogurt.

The second dish is the Golden Quail Egg. The already harmonious smoked fish and egg are teamed with the earthy and often-neglected sunchoke. The nutty earthiness of the cold sun choke vichyssoise is in perfect company with the smoked-fish shavings and quail egg. The presentation of the bird’s nest with the golden egg and pea shoots is perfect charter fodder to begin an evening on a balmy night at anchor.


500 milliliters of chilled sunchoke soup. The soup is a vichyssoise preparation of mirepoix, sunchokes, potato and water. Allow to chill for service.
6 slices of smoked salmon, Scottish if available,
6 quails eggs, cooked soft, peeled and wrapped in gold leaf. (Good luck with that one – it’s easier to read than do.)
6 (approximately 50 grams each) scrunched muffs of pea-shoot tentacles. If you are in Antigua, try Joanne Lighthizer`s farm for these.
60 milliliters yuzu oil


Flood the sexiest main/soup bowl you have with the sunchoke soup.

Add the pea-shoot scrunch, then wrap around the smoked salmon to form a bird’s nest.

Add a golden quail egg, and drizzle with yuzu oil.

Tim MacDonald ( has more than 20 years experience as a chef. He was named Concours de Chefs winner for Yachts over 160 feet at the 2011 Antigua Charter Yacht Show. His recipes are designed for  owner and guests. Comments are welcome below.