These special sunsets are food and drink in themselves; to stand, feet in the white Caribbean sand, watching the yawning sigh of Sol paint the sky with multifarious hues is wonderful.
But imagine pairing that special moment with a barbecue cooked by some of the world’s best chefs, whilst Cayman music and culture surrounds you.
That, friends, is what they call paradise.
And that’s what’s happening from 7pm on Friday, 13 January at Tiki Beach.
It’s the Barefoot BBQ presented by Certified Angus Beef and local partner Progressive Distributors and it’s one of Cayman Cookout’s most popular events, explains Tami Corday, director, Meetings & Special Events at Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
“The premier chefs in the spotlight for this evening are Eric Ripert and two of his good friends – Anthony Bourdain and José Andrés. Eric will be at a grill station preparing a grilled prime beef tomohawk, Anthony a slow-roasted porchetta – a really tender part of the shoulder – and José bringing a different approach as his cuisine is very contemporary in style. He will be making bagels with lox cones, dill cream cheese and marinated salmon roe.
“It is a take on bagels and lox but if I know him it will be some sort of very artistic presentation,” Tami tells us.
The skills on the grills are there for all to see but there’s a whole lot more to the evening than just scarfing down the good stuff.“We have really listened to the guests who have attended the event in the past and also the chefs and the consensus is that we are in this beautiful Caribbean destination – there is nothing more that you need than a fabulous sunset whilst you sink your toes into the sand and people have a great time together.
“This is something that chefs rarely have an opportunity to showcase and what brings them back year after year is that they get to do what they really love to do. On the touring circuit or other events it’s much more formal or a traditional atmosphere, but Cookout is unique, intimate and very casual.”
As for Eric Ripert, he’s a big fan of the event.
“It’s fun,” he tells Weekender, “To have the chefs behind the grill joking around with each other and talking to the guests in such an informal setting. This party really sets the stage for the weekend; everyone is much more relaxed with their feet in the sand.”
On the night, Tiki Beach will be transformed into a venue that takes the very best of the essence of the establishment and adds some Cookout fairy dust.
“When people arrive they will be greeted with some fantastic Patron Popsicles – taking the cocktail and turning it into a frozen treat – and Bombay Sapphire is creating some fun tropical cocktails. There will be fantastic Caribbean live music playing and chefs will be on either side – it’s a Barefoot BBQ and they want their toes in the sand as much as we do.
“We can all watch the sun kiss the ocean and have a really fantastic evening. We are keeping the beauty of Tiki Beach who have been fantastic partners; it will be really laid back and barefoot elegance,” explains Tami.
There will also be a good chance to introduce guests to Caymanian culture, including thatch weaving, rope making and other arts and crafts and a small gift for guests made by local artisans. Watch this space for details on Caymanian musicians at the event, too, she says.
As for the wine, Chateau St Michelle will be presenting a wide variety of wines with members of the programme discussing the complexities of the wines and why they were specifically selected to go in a casual atmosphere.
“It is not often that you see sommeliers or wine professionals pairing their wines with tomahawk steak or bagels and lox so that will be fun and approachable for our guests.
“We are showing them that barbecue can also be wine food and it’s fun to pair those together.”
Ultimately, the shoes are off and the gloves are off. Amidst many intimate events, the Barefoot Barbecue as a limited-ticket event allows attendees to get some serious time with the chefs, chatting and taking pictures. The event, Tami explains, is a very eloquent realisation of the fundamental ethos of the Cookout. In other words, this is what Eric Ripert envisaged when the whole kaboodle begun four years ago.
“That is something that’s woven through Eric Ripert’s vision; he wants the weekend to be an opportunity for him to speak with guests, visitors and the locals who have been such great supporters of Blue by Eric Ripert on the Island.”
She concludes that sponsors of the event Certified Angus Beef and local partner Progressive Distributors have played a great part in developing the BBQ over the last four years.