The past couple of years haven’t been the best for tourism
in the Cayman Islands, but there have been some successes in the industry.
Last year, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and the
Cayman Island Tourism Association teamed up to join the Cayman Cookout – which
had its roots in the old Cayman Classic culinary event – with the well
established Taste of Cayman to create Culinary Month.
Partially because too many of the events were scheduled at
the same time, the inaugural Culinary Month had some growing pains last year.
This year, however, the events are scheduled throughout January, with the first
one happening Thursday night at Breezes by the Bay.
Over the course of the month, visitors and residents will
have an opportunity to try great food prepared by our top local chefs, as well as by some of the biggest names in the international
restaurant business. The chefs will use plenty of local ingredients in their
dishes and there will be one event dedicated to catching and cooking lionfish,
the invasive species that is threatening Cayman’s reef ecosystem.
There will also be great drinks – from the Caribbean classic
mojito to California cult wines like Screaming Eagle, Cakebread and PlumpJack,
as well as some of the world’s top Champagnes
One event also mixes Caribbean food with Caribbean art in
the form of works by Caymanian artist Al Ebanks.
While some of the events are fairly expensive, others – like
the Taste of Cayman – are very affordable. Best of all, several of the events
raise money for good local causes.
The quality of the food and service in Cayman’s restaurants
is very high and probably the best in the Caribbean. Culinary Month gives the
Cayman Islands a chance to show off its wonderful epicurean scene, not only for
the benefit of residents, but for many tourists – including visiting media.
government has talked about the importance of establishing niche medical and
sports tourism markets, but with so many pieces in place, the culinary tourism
market is already well established.