The Sister Islands Cook Off, which took place on Saturday, 2 July, was deemed a great success and an evening of “incredibly fine food”.
The 14th annual event was judged by Vico Testori (Pappagallos Restaurant), Geussepe Gatta (Lighthouse at the Breakers) and Frederic Morineau (executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman).
Organisers said the judges all had big smiles and full bellies.
“It is incredible that, on an island with very limited resources and a sometimes weekly supply barge, the quality and freshness of the food can be at this level,” says Testori.
Host Peter Hillenbrand adds that enough could not be said for the effort and quality of all participants, from the professionals in the resorts kitchens to locals entering in their own category to fight for the coveted Cayman National Grand Champion Sister Islands Cook Off Nambe Trophy.
“It was an evening of incredibly fine food, good companionship, and healthy competition. Pretty much the whole island was on hand for the experience,” Hillenbrand says.
“The raffle, held after the cooking competition, helped the fundraising event by raffling off prizes donated to the Sister Islands Tourism Association by Cayman Airways, and a host of other resorts, restaurants, and business’s on all three islands. It was the most successful fundraiser in the 14 years of the competition.”
The Grand Champion Cayman National Trophy had a surprise this year. LCBR Head Chef Anthony Pizzarello (Braised Beef Short Ribs) and local hero Mathieu Pothier (Saucisson au Chacolat), tied for the highest judge point total of all dishes entered. After considerable debate among the judges on which deserved the Grand Champion title, it was decided to split the title for 2011 and award them both with a Cayman National Grand Champion trophy and the $250 cash prize. Mathieu’s Mum, Sabine Hubaux , had a wink and a sly smile as she sang the praises of her young boy’s cooking skills. Mathieu, it turns out, is six years old. Talented chap.
Cayman National Bank, the event’s primary sponsor, were joined by Cayman Airways, Cayman Imports, Jacques Scott, Island Supply, Cayman Distributers, Cayman Islands Brewery, Tortuga Rum, and many others to help support the Cook Off, The Sister Islands’ only fundraising event supporting the Sister Islands Tourism Association.
The association’s purpose is to represent the Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac in the Government, at the Department of Tourism, and in other marketing efforts. This year Little Cayman Beach Resort hosted the traditional Caribbean jerk dinner, while attendees had the option to upgrade their dinner choices to sample the 46 entrees after the judges had done their duty.
Local (non-professional cooks) – First Place Mathieu Pothier – Saucisson au Chocolat. Second Place Mirelda Messias – Land Crab Fritters
Soup/Appetizer – First Place, Debbie Truchan, Little Cayman Bahai’ Community – Conch Pate with Caribbean Herb Bread served with Plantain Coconut relish and Sweet Chili Pepper Jelly. Second Place, Diane Sherer, Pirates Point – Caribbean Seafood Corn Chowder.
Salad – First Place, Diane Sherer – Pirates Point – Ahi, Avocado, Heart of Palm with Wasabi Dressing. Second Place, Team SCC, Southern Cross Club – Tropical Sweet and Spicy Crab and Fruit Salad with Passion Fruit and Honey Vinaigrette.
Entrée – First Place, Anthony Pizzarello, Little Cayman Beach Resort – Braised Beef Short Ribs au jus with Corn Pudding. Second Place, Team SCC, Southern Cross Club – Yam Crusted Mahi Mahi with Trilogy of Vegetable Puree
Desert – First Place, Debbie Truchan, Little Cayman Bahai’ Community – Cayman Triple Treat Tower (Papaya Heavy Cake Mango Mousse Almond Coconut Crunch garnished with Sugared Papaya Flower). Second Place, Team SCC, Southern Cross Club – Little Cayman Naseberry and Mango Cheesecake.