Culinary month begins today

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    It’s only the first week of January, but it’s already time to abandon New Year’s resolution diets because Cayman’s Culinary Month begins this week.

    Culinary Month 2011 comprises a series of epicurean events that take place across various venues. The blend of culinary and beverage events is designed to highlight local flavours as well as show off the talented chefs, restaurateurs and drinks experts from around the globe which the Cayman Islands can boast.

    It all begins on Thursday, 6 January, at 6pm with the Culinary Month Breezes by the Bay Rum-Filled Adventure. Breezes 
General Manager Joann Calma said guests can experience the lure of the classic mojito, while snacking on rum-infused dishes and learning about the drink that is such a Caribbean staple.

    “Culinary Month plays a really big part in making people aware that Cayman really does have talented chefs and restaurateurs down here. It also has great ingredients and local items that can be utilised in the dishes as well,” said Ms Calma.

    From Friday, 7 January, through to Sunday, 9 January, the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort hosts Culinary Month Food & Art Festival, from 6pm to 9pm. While perusing works by local artist Al Ebanks, attendees will also be eating food with a Caribbean flair, which Nicholas Marzioni of the Marriott said was designed to complement the artworks.

    “From our part what we’re trying to do is match up his art with our food. It’s going to present the food of Cayman in a contemporary way.”

    Cayman Cookout

    From 13 to 16 January, Culinary Month Cayman Cookout takes place largely at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, but around other venues on-island. The event features a host of wine tastings, food demonstrations, guest chefs and an incomparable roster of world famous chefs, sommeliers and spirits blenders. The event will bring together celebrity chefs Eric Ripert, Charlie Trotter, Susur Lee, Rachel Allen, Cindy Hutson, Dean Max, Jennifer Carroll and regulars José Andrés and the ever-engaging Anthony Bourdain. Chef Eric filmed episodes of his television show during last year’s Cayman Cookout, which is a significant pull for the tourist sector. He said Cayman is developing as a top culinary destination.

    “Cayman has changed over the last six or seven years, with more diversity in the restaurants and great quality of food,” he mused.

    A very contemporary angle on cuisine takes place at Cobalt Coast and Divetech on 20 and 27 January with the Lionfish Hunt and Cookout. The dive operators will be combining the premier sport of Cayman with cuisine. The Lionfish presents a significant threat to the ecosystem and attendees of the event will be given an educational briefing, a tank dive and a cooking demonstration to boot.

    Rum infusion

    On Saturday, 22 January, the Culinary Month Rum Infusion Dinner takes place at Rum Point restaurant, with a feast of flavours that features the signature drink of the Caribbean – rum.

    The month continues with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s charity wine dinner and auction at Ortanique on Wednesday, 26 January, and then on Saturday 29 January, there’s the Taste of Cayman festival at Camana Bay, which showcases local restaurants, producers and flavours from Cayman. The event, which this year has a record number of vendors, also features a children’s area, music and more. It is anticipated to attract well in excess of 3,000 people and is preceded by an exclusive cruise on board the Cayman Elusion with a capacity of just 14. Erin Bodden of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association said that Culinary Month comprised wide variety of events during January and celebrated the culinary excellence of the Cayman Islands.

    “The month aims to bring our culinary industry to the attention of the world through creating not just one but many first class events throughout the month giving their members and other local businesses the opportunity to host unique and creative CITA-endorsed events that will ultimately draw people from around the globe to experience world-class food and wine.”

    The month is also sponsored by many local and international companies, including the Caymanian Compass, and the Cayman Islands Government, presented in partnership with Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.

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    Chefs plate food during the Cayman Cookout 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton. Cayman Culinary Month begins today. – Photo: Justin Uzzell
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