Lunch at Chef Luis’s Table

Imagine a culinary master class
with a top chef dishing out trade secrets. Imagine two hours in one of the
Islands’ most celebrated kitchens learning cooking techniques with a
three-course meal and an introduction on wine pairings from one of the
Ritz-Carlton’s sommeliers.

Well all this is now possible
thanks to Lunch with Chef Luis held at Blue by Eric Ripert, the Caribbean’s
only AAA Five Diamond restaurant. And if that does not have you salivating,
then one hardly knows what will.

The restaurant has recently
introduced its twice monthly lunch events, where 20 attendees get to watch Blue’s
charismatic chef de cuisine, create a sumptuous starter, entree and dessert from
scratch. After each demonstration, participants get to eat the dish with an
accompanying wine.

Eric Ripert’s signature restaurant
and kitchen is the ideal setting for the culinary odyssey.

Chef Luis Lujan and Blue’s Head Sommelier
Kristian Netis guide seasoned foodies and gifted amateurs on how to discern the
main elements of each dish and perfectly pair any meal with wine. Attendees
even get the rare and novel privilege of eating in a busy working kitchen.

Participants will come away
learning a lot about the culinary arts and even more about the passion and
professionalism it takes to be a top chef.

Chef Luis, who was trained by Chef
Eric Ripert, is a lively and engaging host who can tailor his presentation to
suit any audience. Affable and gracious, he deconstructed how to prepare a
first-rate dinner menu and demystified the workings of one of the most
prestigious restaurants and kitchens in the Caribbean.

Dynamic, quick witted and supremely
knowledgeable about his craft, it’s little wonder that the talented young
Mexican runs Blue’s kitchen, despite being younger than 30.

Chef Luis said: “Every second week
we are going to be preparing new food and wine pairings, teaching them things
they can do at home.

“We want to give people a lot of
fun at the lunch events and for them to leave with tips and menus they can take
back home and use… I’m always thinking of what can I do to bring them back
another time.”

“We hosted two similar events during
the recent Cayman Cookout,” said the Ritz-Carlton’s Marketing Coordinator, Nancy
Harrison, whose heavy task it was to sit in on last Saturday’s sold-out event.

“They were among the first to sell
out and so we knew that we had a winner in terms of the concept,” she said.

Lunch with Chef Luis was a lively
and informative affair.

 Participants were free to ask questions and
were often surprised by what they learnt.

The group was ushered into Blue –
that bastion of fine dining for hors d’oeuvres – and introduced to Mr. Netis.
He cut the ice by teaching the party how to effortlessly sabre bottles of champagne
(up end the bottle and set it in a bucket of ice for at least five minutes
before running a blade along the join.

The group was then handed mini lever
arch folders containing their individual recipe and wine notes before heading
to Blue’s legendary kitchen.

Many of the attendees had never
toured a restaurant kitchen and fewer still had experienced the novelty of
eating in one. Five tables of four were decked out in crisp white linen and
silver service cutlery settings.

Colin McKie and wife Aimee are
regular guests at Blue. They were very impressed by the lunch event.

“It was delectably informative and
we learnt a great deal,” he said.

“With only 20 people, it is quite
an intimate setting and we were at close quarters and got to see the prepping
and the creativity first hand.”

Marlene and Philip Feldman from
Maryland were part of last Saturday’s group. As visitors at the resort, they
welcomed the opportunity to meet people who live locally while sharing a table.

“I signed up when I got the resort’s
newsletter, and my husband kind of piggy backed on my reservation,” said Mrs.

“We always have dinner at Blue when
we stay at the Ritz. We enjoy the food and the tasting menu. [The lunch event
has] given us a fascinating, real-time insight into a working kitchen. I’ve met
some great people, learned a fair bit about Cayman and have a stylish new
dinner plan to try out when we get back home,” she said.

Tobookyour seat at the kitchen, learn the
tricks of the trade, and enjoy a meal complete with wine, call the Ritz-Carlton
at 943-9000 and make a reservation.  Lunch with Chef Luis is $110 per

Chef Luis schedule

Saturday, 13 March –SOLD OUT

Saturday, 27 March

Saturday, 10 April

Saturday, 24 April  

Saturday, 8 May


Olive oil poached wahoo

Nicoise salad, basil and lemon vinaigrette

2007 Pouilly-Fuissé Domaine Faiveley Burgundy,

Grilled halibut

Local pumpkin pureé, potato and organic
vegetable medley, chorizo emulsion

Laurent ‘Haidegrund’ Schloss Gobelsburg Kamptal, Austria

Vanilla panna cotta

Mixed berry compote and caramel tuille

Moscato D`Asti Vietti Piedmonte, Italy.

 Chef Luis has worked in senior positions in
several Ritz-Carlton’s and is recognised forhis
culinary acumen. Selected to compete for the prestigious award of Best National Young Mexican Chef 2007, he
won first place. In turn, this award earned him a position at Ferran
Adria’s El Bulli restaurant, a
3-Star Michelin awarded restaurant in Spain voted #1 in Restaurant Magazine’s
World’s Top 50 Restaurants in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. 


Blue by Eric Ripert’s Chef de Cuisine, Luis Lujan, gives the group a tip about how to ensure fish is always cooked to perfection.
Photo: Submitted