Grand Cayman becomes the centre of the culinary world this weekend as the Cayman Cookout gets under way Thursday night.
The centrepiece of Cayman’s Culinary Month, the Cookout features some 34 events at different locations on the Island through Sunday night.
Internationally known winemakers and celebrity chefs such as Eric Ripert, Jose Andres, Rachel Allen, Charlie Trotter, Susur Lee and others will cook, talk and mingle with attendees at many of the events.
Tami Corday, director of meetings and special events at Ritz-Carlton – where the majority of Cayman Cookout events take place – said the four-day festival was drawing increasing attention this year.
“In our third year, Cayman Cookout is making an international name among foodies and talent alike,” she said. “This has helped to attract some of the best in the culinary and wine profession for the 2011 roster. In turn, the response from local guests and tourist visitors has been overwhelmingly positive and our anticipated visiting population has grown by 12 per cent over last year.”
The Cookout, the centrepiece of Cayman’s Culinary Month, begins with the Charity Wine Auction/Dinner presented by Jacques Scott on Thursday night. Some of the highlight events over the weekend include Friday night’s SURF and SANDcastles, where many of the visiting chefs will cook at 11 live-action food stations and the entire event will be enclosed in a giant sand castle on the Ritz-Carlton beach; Eric Ripert’s Starfish Point beach picnic on Saturday afternoon; Sunday’s Bon Vivant Champagne brunch that will feature a cook-off by two of Cayman’s top amateur chefs and food prepared at stations manned by many of Cayman’s top restaurant chefs; and Sunday evening’s finale, the Gala Dinner in Blue Kitchen, featuring dishes by seven of the celebrity chefs.
In addition, Saturday night will feature events with visiting winemakers and chefs at Abacus, Brasserie, Luca, Michael’s Genuine and on the Camama Bay island beach by Ortanique.
Melissa Ladley, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman director of communications said the 2011 Cayman Cookout celebrated the “culinary cache of the entire destination”.
“More local restaurants, chefs, purveyors, farmers, etcetera, will be involved than ever before,” she said. “The celebrity chefs want to come to Cayman because of the quality and professionalism of all these partners who make Cayman a world class destination for people who love great food and wine.”
Event Host Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York and Blue in Grand Cayman thinks attendees will be inspired by this year’s event.
“Every year we have had many exceptional moments at the festival and this year is no exception,” he said. “And it is exactly like in the restaurant; your best meal is the next one you are going to cook.”