Cayman Cookout wraps up another successful year

Updated: Jan 24, 2019

Cayman Cookout 2019 served its final dishes on Sunday, Jan. 20 following an extravagant culinary smorgasbord that spanned four delicious days.

Hosted annually by The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman in partnership with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Cayman Cookout features a roster of world-famous chefs, culinary influencers, wine experts, and spirit masters.

Wrapping up its 11th year, Cayman Cookout saw the return of culinary legends including event hosts Eric Ripert and José Andrés, alongside chefs Emeril Lagasse and Dean Max, founder of the Brasserie in Grand Cayman.

Ripert, co-owner of Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City and Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman has hosted the event since its inception alongside Andrés, an entrepreneur named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in 2012 and 2018.

This year’s Cayman Cookout also saw a renewed focus on female chefs, with several multi award-winning participants including Nancy Silverton, Dominique Crenn, and Amanda Cohen.

In addition to renowned chefs, Cayman Cookout also included, as in previous years, wine and spirit experts, including Ray Isle, executive wine editor of Food & Wine Magazine.

Our experience

The line-up of events at Cayman Cookout is staggering, with a packed schedule of tastings, demonstrations, lunches, and dinners throughout all four days. Mouthwatering events the Pink Duck Publishing cast of creatives attended included a series of entertaining culinary demonstrations held on the sands of Seven Mile Beach.

The celebrity presence at Cayman Cookout is not to be understated. Famous chefs casually walked the premises of the hotel, conversing with guests, old friends, and new acquaintances. Indeed, one of the greatest aspects of Cayman Cookout is the sense of rapport between chefs and guests.

During each event we attended chefs narrated in detail the creating of each dish while including humorous personal anecdotes. They also took the time to answer questions from the audience, from culinary techniques to their thoughts on Cayman.

During one such demonstration, From Campanile to Grand Cayman, cookbook writer Nancy Silverton brought attendees a taste of her Italian Los Angeles based restaurants, Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, through delicious plates of garlic bread, known as fettunta, served with mozzarella and various sauces of surprising complexity in flavour.

At Metamorphosis of Taste, Dominique Crenn, owner of Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, demonstrated her expertise in French cooking through a smoked rillette and accompanying crisps, both created from salmon.

Emeril Lagasse, host of the long-running TV shows Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril, showcased his famous New Orleans style at Essential BAM!, treating guests to a boiled mixture of seafood and vegetables and a demonstration of the dessert bananas foster. The audience reacted with surprise and then laughter to the startling utterance of “BAM!”, one of Emeril’s catchphrases.

The event Vegetarian Candies saw Amanda Cohen, cookbook writer and owner of Dirt Candy in New York City U.S., offering a series of vegetable-based creations including potato linguini, risotto with carrot sauce, and spinach soup, which proved a delight for all, especially those attendees who were vegetarian.

Other popular events included the Barefoot BBQ at Royal Palms, featuring an evening under the stars where the event’s famed chefs offered grilled foods alongside live music and the sweet confections of celebrated pastry chef Jean François Suteau.

The packed-out Bon Vivant Amateur Chef Competition Brunch provided a showcase in which Cayman’s local amateur chefs could shine, while receiving the chance to be judged by a panel of celebrity chefs.

Finally, the Great Gala provided a magnificent close to the four-day event. Held at Blue by Eric Ripert, the event featured a large roster of chefs coming together to create an extravagant final dinner.

Until next year

Cayman Cookout 2019 was an experience that seemed to redefine what food could be, from the flavours themselves, to the entertainment, to the company. We enjoyed our time there this year, and we’re sure it won’t be our last. Cheers to The Ritz-Carlton for bringing this stunning ensemble of chefs together in the Cayman Islands.