Iconic Cayman restaurant Blue has agreed a new deal to continue operations at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
“To me it was like two years ago but the hotel is celebrating its sixth anniversary,” said Eric Ripert, chef and driving force of the restaurant. “The Ritz-Carlton, me and my people work together because we want to. It is a very rewarding association, not only on a financial level although business is business.
“Without me the Ritz-Carlton would survive and I would survive without the Ritz-Carlton, so we are together because we like to create an experience and a product which is an extension of what we do in New York,” he said.
Mr. Ripert’s restaurant in New York, Le Bernardin, is feted on the culinary scene and he said the ethos is to bring that style to Grand Cayman.
Ritz-Carlton Communications Director Melissa Ladley expressed the establishment’s happiness at the continued relationship. “It is significant that after the recession and everything that’s happened Eric’s feelings about the Cayman Islands and the Ritz-Carlton are such that we renewed the agreement to go forward for many more years,” she said. “Anybody else who is looking to talk to Dart about the restaurant at theirs is going to be helped by the fact that Eric has renewed his agreement, from a business perspective.”
Ms. Ladley said the agreement framework had been established for ‘at least the next five or six years.’
“It is important because we are building Cayman Cookout into a sustainable business model for tourism for the Cayman Islands – but it is Cayman Cookout, by Eric Ripert,” she said.
Developing the concept
Mr. Ripert said it was an easy decision and it allowed development of the restaurant.
“[The restaurant and Grand Cayman are] surrounded by the Caribbean sea and therefore the restaurant has a very strong identity,” he said. “At Blue we are not cloning something or copying. To me that would be boring, not interesting. We get inspired by the culture of the Caribbean and Cayman; we try and use local products. We have a restaurant in a resort which is more relaxed than it would be in Europe.
“People have a tendency to linger which is a good sign,” he said. “We are excited about the opportunity to create not only a dish or food but an entire concept.”