Celebrity chefs lined up for Cookout

A tempting taster was given to guests of the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange as to what treats the forthcoming Cayman Cookout will hold, which organisers say will be unlike anything the Caribbean has ever seen before.

‘The Cayman Cookout is going to be Caribbean’s premier epicurean event,’ Deputy Director of International Marketing with the Department of Tourism Shomari Scott told international travel wholesalers and members of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association at the opening of CITE last Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

The event boasts such celebrity chef names as Eric Ripert of Blue and Le Bernardin fame (as host chef), along with Anthony Bourdain, author, chef and host of culinary series ‘No Reservations’ on The Travel Channel. Also involved will be famous chefs Laurent Tourondel, of BLT restaurants; Dean Fearing, of Fearing’s Restaurant; Michael Richard of Citronelle; Laurent Manrique of Aqua; and Ingrid Hoffman, the host of Food Network series ‘Simply Delicioso’.

Taking place from 16 to 19 January, 2009 the event is being organised by the Department of Tourism partnering with the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman and Food and Wine Magazine.

‘Cayman Cookout will target an affluent demographic including top players in the financial industry, CEOs and travellers looking for a unique, luxury culinary offering,’ said Mr. Scott.

The decision had been made not to hold the Cayman Classic culinary event this year and, instead, efforts were made to develop a new culinary event unlike anything the Caribbean has ever seen before.

Cayman Cookout will catapult the Cayman Islands out of the ‘Caribbean Culinary set’ and will showcase the destination as the region’s culinary leader, said Mr. Scott. ‘This culinary event will take every aspect of the ‘tried and true’ to new and incredible levels.’

The weekend of events, tastings, demonstrations and wine seminars will offer visitors the opportunity to fill the days taking in the beauty of the island and Seven Mile Beach while enjoying culinary delights.

During the festival, for instance, there will be a boat trip with Eric Ripert where he will demonstrate preparation of a dish on the way to Stingray City. There will also be cooking demonstrations on the beach, with local fisherman carrying fresh catch right up to the chef.

A six course meal in Blue Restaurant will involve each of the celebrity chefs producing one of the courses.

An event at Pedro St. James will have all-Caymanian fare and there will also be an iron chef type of cook-off.

Featured wine experts will be: Joshua Wesson, a sommelier and contributor to Food and Wine Magazine; Anthony Giglio, a sommelier and a journalist and author; Ray Aisle – Food and Wine Deputy Wine Editor; and Joy Spence who is a master blender of Appleton Rum.

Mr. Scott explained that the aim is to make sure that this weekend is going to be the top epicurean event in the world and not just the Caribbean.

More than 25 international travel wholesalers attended this year’s CITE and met with over 20 local tourism operators who had the chance to provide information on their products and services. The event included a business session with updates on tourism developments, property tours, pre-scheduled appointments, networking functions and activities for all delegates.