Today’s Editorial for January 18: How about a culinary festival?

For fans of cooking and good food, the last five days were a veritable smorgasbord of deliciousness.

Two major culinary events – The Taste of Cayman and the Cayman Cookout – combined with several restaurant events to satisfy the hunger of even the most avid foodie.

Cumulatively, the events formed part of the inaugural Cayman Islands Culinary Month.

In truth, however, it was probably too much in too short of time, especially so soon after the holidays.

The idea of broad culinary event in the Cayman Islands is a good one. Interest in food and wine has been steadily growing in the United States, Cayman’s primary tourism market. Add the trend for niche travel, and a broad culinary event has all of the ingredients for success.

Mashing 30 or 40 events into what amounts to a long weekend, however, seems like a recipe that is bound to leave a bad taste in the mouths of restaurant industry professionals, who were run ragged the past week.

In addition, Taste of Cayman events ended up occurring at the same time as Cayman Cookout events, making it seem as if the weekend was a competition between the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and its supporters on one side and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman on the other side.

Since both the Taste of Cayman and Cayman Cookout are wonderful events that deserve their own spotlight, it would seem like a better idea to have them form the bookends of a 10-day Cayman Islands culinary festival, with one occurring on the first weekend and the other occurring on the following weekend.

In the week in between, the local restaurants can have their own events, inviting some of the visiting food and wine professionals to take part. At least one of the weekdays could be a dedicated to the pleasures of local cuisine, broadening the scope of the festival.

Consideration should also be given to moving it back in January or into February, to give people a chance to recover from the over-indulgent holiday season.

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