All this cooking out is thirsty work

Cayman Islands Department of Tourism 

The Department of Tourism is proud to sponsor Cayman Cookout and recognise its tremendous ability to attract new groups of visitors to our shores, further solidifying our destination as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. Now in its fifth year, Cayman Cookout is providing yet another reason why world-famous chefs, sommeliers and food lovers are choosing the Cayman Islands to enjoy our Caymankindess and outstanding fare that few other Caribbean destinations offer. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman 

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is proud to be one of the presenting sponsors as Cayman Cookout hosted by Eric Ripert celebrates its fifth season as the Caribbean’s premier epicurean event. Along with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and FOOD & WINE Magazine, we work year-long generating creative culinary event concepts that truly make the Cayman Cookout stand above many food and wine festivals. 

This year, we are particularly excited to have Eric Ripert, José Andres and Anthony Bourdain serving culinary delights from grill stations in the water at the Barefoot BBQ welcome event at Royal Palms, and are thrilled that guests partaking in the Burgers in Paradise lunch at Rum Point get to experience one of the wonders of Cayman with a stop at Stingray City beforehand. 


In 1984, while working for Cayman Airways, Capt. Robert Hamaty and his wife, Carlene, an in-flight supervisor, founded the Tortuga Rum Company, Ltd. They introduced the first rums of the Cayman Islands, primarily to appeal as a souvenir to the growing tourist and cruise passenger business, then rum cake. Tortuga is a great supporter of culinary events in Cayman. 

Jacques Scott 

The Jacques Scott Group’s wholesale and retail sale of products to hotels, restaurants, licensed premises, in-bond outlets, supermarkets and grocery stores are done throughout the Cayman Islands. Giving back to the community isn’t an option for Jacques Scott – it’s a must. Jacques Scott Group sponsors or co-sponsors several weekly, monthly and annual events. 

Joseph Spellman is winery sommelier for Justin Vineyards and Winery. He has worked with wine since 1979, principally as a sommelier, in Chicago’s top restaurant cellars. He has been a leading wine educator, writer, and consultant, and has led wine seminars in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia. Joseph earned the prestigious master sommelier diploma, the 29th American to do so, in 1996. 

A wine industry veteran, Bruce Mooers has held several key positions in premium wine sales, indulging his passion for fine wine and meeting fascinating people across the globe. 

Kristian Netis was born a Greek citizen of Germany – places renowned for food and drink. He worked in such leading restaurants as the 3-star Michelin rated restaurant, Juan Amador in Frankfurt and the Ente restaurant located in Wiesbadenwhich earned Wine List’s Best Award of Excellence. Kristian Netis joined Blue by Eric Ripert in 2008. 

The 2013 Cayman Cookout is the Caribbean’s premier epicurean event. Some of the world’s top chefs gather here in paradise to celebrate everything foodie – but a meal without wine is like a day without sun. And if there’s one place that we can’t be without old Sol shining down on us and warming our souls, it’s Cayman. 

The event takes place from Thursday to Sunday, 17 to 20 January and there are oodles of excellent demonstrations, talks and dinners from which to choose, all of which showcase the world’s finest ingredients, beverages and meals with some of the extraordinary talents which congregate for the occasion. 

Thursday, 17 January, for example, kicks off the Cayman Cookout in much style with the Wine Auction Dinner, which is presented by Jacques Scott and chefs of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. It’s held at the Cayman Islands Royal Ballroom and as well as the celeb chefs – you can pay to sit at their table – there’s a brilliant auction for not only wine but all sorts of experiences. Proceeds benefit The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Culinary Arts Scholarship and Cayman HospiceCare. 

Ray Isle is also a friend of the event and on Friday, 18 January he’ll be leading For the Love of Bubbles. What better way to start to toast the weekend than by necking a load of champagne? Well, you might want to go to The Bold and The Blind wine tasting with Anthony Giglio at Blue instead, which takes place at the same time – 10am.  

Napa Valley wines are on show at Luca at lunchtime that day along with contemporary Italian cuisine. Tuck Beckstoffer vineyards are showcased at 2pm with a special Napa Treasures wine tasting then at 3pm you can choose from wines to savour in the tropics or chateau haut-brion reserve tasting. This is an enchanting Bordeaux and a real treat. 

How to eat 

If you’ve been wondering how to enjoy your food and wine then join Ray Isle again on Saturday at 2pm. He should know more than most, although Weekender suspects it’s all about eating the food and drinking the wine, not the other way around. See, we’ve been around a bit – you can’t fool us none. 

Three events coincide at 3.30pm – Pinot pedigrees with Anthony Giglio; Beth Nickel introducing Exquisite Far Niente; Restorative Rhum with Adam Seger. The latter is a mixology demo, so it will be brilliant fun. 

The Ultimate Dinner Party at Camana Bay once more has plenty of pairings that evening. 

Not forgetting Sunday, 20 January and that famous Bon Vivant Taittinger Champagne Brunch and Cook-Off Brunch. Who will be Cayman’s Top Chef? Spike Mendelsohn is hosting this one, but with that amount of top class champagne we’re all winners. Especially the taxi drivers who take us home afterward. 

Anthony Giglio is one of the most entertaining wine authorities on the planet. He is a journalist, sommelier, educator, author and raconteur who has written several books, including three editions of the annual “FOOD & WINE Wine Guide”, a review of 1,000-plus wines; five editions of the enormously popular “Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide”; and his highly regarded first book, “Cocktails in New York”. 

After several years exploring the Bordeaux wine business, Turid joined the team of Domaine Clarence Dillon in June 1999. Here, she worked as a guide, receiving visitors from around the whole world at Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion for tours in Norwegian, English, French and German. Since her arrival in Bordeaux, Turid has deepened her passion for wine and has obtained a diploma from the Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology. 

Stuart Blackwell’s winemaking career spans four decades. As senior winemaker of St. Hallett, Stuart has developed not only a deep understanding of the rich tapestry of site and climatic variances in the Barossa, but also an appreciation of the importance of both dedicated growers and “old vine” Shiraz. 

In 1997, he began producing a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon under the Tuck Beckstoffer label that quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed wines to come out of the Napa Valley. In 2004, Tuck created Tuck Beckstoffer Wines. He and his family’s farming legacy, combined with his personal knowledge and experience in the vineyard and cellar supports his commitment to produce these creative, exquisite wines. 

As the proprietress of Napa Valley wineries Far Niente, Dolce, Nickel & Nickel and EnRoute in the Russian River Valley, Beth Nickel is involved in the wineries’ marketing and public relations programmes, interior and landscape design projects, and she serves as a winery spokeswoman at local and national wine events. 

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