By Mina Whorms
Foodies are in for a treat this month with the annual Cayman Cookout kicking-off on Wednesday, Jan. 16.
The gastronomic four-day event is hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman in partnership with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and features a roster of world-famous chefs, culinary influencers, wine experts, and spirit masters.
Now in its 11th year, the event features a slew of unforgettable cooking demonstrations, tastings, and luxurious dinners to tantalise the taste buds of even the most discerning foodies.
The event is hosted annually by famed seafood chef Eric Ripert, co-owner of Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City and Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, alongside José Andrés.
Headlining chefs this year include Dean Max, the president of DJM restaurants and founder of the Brasserie in Grand Cayman; Amanda Cohen, cookbook writer and chef/owner of Dirt Candy; and Emeril Lagasse.
Chef Emeril has hosted more than 2,000 shows on Food Network, including the popular Emeril Live. He has been a guest judge for three seasons on Top Chef on Bravo and is the food correspondent for Good Morning America on ABC.
Other notable chefs include Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. Chef Andrew has explored food cultures in more than 170 countries and has written three books. His life’s work is about promoting cultural acceptance, integration, and tolerance through food.
In addition to renowned chefs, Cayman Cookout also includes wine and spirit experts, including Ray Isle, executive wine editor of Food & Wine Magazine. He often appears as a spirits and wine expert on various national television channels, including NBC’s “Today” show and CNBC.
Two more beverage experts (although there is a plethora more) are Terry and Mary Peabody. Terry is one of Australia’s most renowned beverage experts and has been successful in building waste management extending from the U.S. all the way to New Zealand. His partner, Mary Peabody, specialises in the hospitality business in Canada and Australia.
The event also includes some of the island’s best talent, including: Chef Mark Jeffers, executive chef and food and beverage director at The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe, California; Thomas Seifried, executive Chef of Blue by Eric Ripert; Melissa Logan, executive pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; and chef Kyle Jenkins of Kaibo restaurant.
Photo credit (right): Rebecca Davidson
With so many delicious events to attend it can be hard selecting which ones to attend. Here are some of our favourites.
Photo credit (middle): Rebecca Davidson
Barefoot BBQ at Royal Palms, presented by Certified Angus Beef and Moët & Chandon
Friday, Jan. 18, 7p.m.
Come on down to this backyard BBQ where you can dine under the stars on Seven Mile Beach in true barefoot elegance. Enjoy various local and international grills in the sand with chefs Eric Ripert, José Andrés, and other acclaimed experts. Decadent beef dishes are presented by Certified Angus Beef, accompanied with delicious cocktails featuring Moët & Chandon, Avión Tequila, Flor de Caña Rum, and more.
Tickets are US$375 per person.
The Beach Bash by Al Roker, presented by Progressive Distributors Ltd.
Saturday, Jan. 19, 11:30 a.m.
Set sail on a catamaran across the sparkling Caribbean Sea to Stingray City and enjoy a swim with the friendly southern stingrays who inhabit the shallows of this stunning sandbar. Then sail on over to Rum Point for a street food extravaganza with chefs Nancy Silverton and Emeril Lagasse. Shuttles depart from The Ritz-Carlton at 8:45 a.m. to Safe Haven Harbour to travel via catamaran. For attendees with their own means of transportation, the event begins at Rum Point at 11:30 a.m. Departures are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.
Tickets are US$399 per person with transport and US$350 without transport.
Craft Beer Master Class with 1981 Brewing Company
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2pm.
Celebrate the opening of Cayman’s newest brewery:1981 Brewing Company and learn how to make your own craft beer. Create your desired taste by discovering the unique flavours that contribute to the popularity of craft beer around the world. This is a truly subjective experience, and great for beer lovers to expand their horizons to different individual brands and flavours.
Tickets are US$75 per person.
Bon Vivant Amateur Chef Competition Brunch with Supporting Sponsor Kirk Market Presented by Impulse
Sunday, Jan. 20, 12 p.m.
The heat is on as Grand Cayman’s amateur chefs face-off in a live duel in The Cayman Islands Ballroom. The ambitious finalists will go head-to-head during Sunday brunch, where the winner will be determined by chefs Andrew Zimmern, Emeril Lagasse, Eric Ripert and José Andrés. This event also offers bottomless Moët & Chandon Champagne alongside an enchanting brunch selection. With mixing, mingling, and lots of bites to eat, there is no better way to spend your Sunday afternoon!
Tickets are US$315 per person.
To purchase tickets, visit www.caymancookout.com.