Cookout is a spectacular treat

The Cayman Cookout is celebrating its fifth anniversary of showcasing the very best food and wine on the planet in the company of world-famous master chefs, sommeliers and experts. 

For months people from all over the world have been talking about the event, explains Nancy Harrison of the Ritz-Carlton. 

“There has been a huge lead up; people have been talking about it on Twitter for six months or more and we are excited that lots of people received tickets for Christmas. 

“We are looking forward to welcoming back visitors for their third or fourth year in a row. They are part of the cookout family, we are proud to say.”
The Cookout is curated by Eric Ripert, the super-chef whose contacts and mates in the industry are unparalleled. Anthony Bourdain and Jose Andres are just two of the regular participants in the Cookout (both will be back again) alongside a huge swathe of the hottest talent on the planet. 

“Cookout is a food festival like no other,” Nancy continues. 

“We showcase ourselves differently than any other food and wine festival out there; we have this beautiful backdrop of the Cayman Islands and Cookout really is intimate – here you really can have a beer with your culinary icon. 

“It is also very special for the chefs. They enjoy it as much as the guests and bring their families down for a vacation and a celebration not just of the epicurean side but of the amazing Cayman Islands too.” 

Nancy says that although of course the event has developed over the years, it has remained true to Eric’s original concept and inspiration. 

“It is an intimate and personal celebration of Cayman and of the culinary and wine arts. Anyone coming for the first time to the event, which is open to all, is blown away by the experience available right here in our backyard – whether foodies or non-foodies. 

“The quality of the event and the level of talent is remarkable.” 

Having had the privilege to attend events at Cayman Cookout in the past, Weekender completely agrees. Cayman Cookout 2013 has demonstrations, tastings, lunches, dinners and plenty of individual events, which you can see at caymancookout.com. The bash runs from Thursday, 17 to Sunday, 20 January inclusive and has an absolute multitude of enticing possibilities. Here’s just three we picked out to highlight.

Wine Auction Dinner presented by Jacques Scott and Chefs of The Ritz-Carlton 

Cayman Islands Royal Ballroom 

$195 Unreserved seating 

Seat at the table with a Celebrity Chef – All proceeds go to charity, 

$500 seat at the table with either José Andrés; Eric Ripert; Anthony Bourdain; Daniel Humm; Spike Mendelsohn and Dale MacKay. 

A
culinary celebration created by an international line-up of
Ritz-Carlton chefs including Xavier Salomon of The Ritz-Carlton, Half
Moon Bay, Nathan Beriau of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, Fabien
Gnemmi of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, Stephen Toevs of The
Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, Raghuram Addagada of The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto,
The Ritz-Carlton Corporate Chef Rainer Zinngrebe and The Ritz-Carlton,
Grand Cayman’s own Frederic Morineau. Eliza Osborne of Sotheby’s
auctions enriching wine, culinary and travel experiences. Proceeds
benefit The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Culinary Arts Scholarship and
Cayman HospiceCare, which is committed to providing comfort to its
patients and their families and friends. 

“This is the first year we have partnered with HospiceCare on this event,” says Nancy Harrison. 

“We are very pleased to work with them and showcase what they do.” 

The
event is exciting, she says, because the food is prepared in the
ballroom by The Ritz-Carlton star chefs from round the world. 
“It’s so
much fun for the attendees and there are years of experience and huge
talent on show. The chefs all know each other so there will be lots of
jokes going on. People elsewhere pay literally thousands to sit on a
table with these chefs so this is a rare and unique opportunity.”

The lineup includes:

Barefoot BBQ Presented by Certified Angus Beef 

Royal Palms 

7pm to 10pm 

$299 

Shorts
or rolled up trousers are de rigueur as Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain
and José Andrés grill in the water at a literal Caribbean Sea cookout.
The gilding of this tropical lily: cocktails made with the ultra-premium
tequilas and liquors of Patrón. 

“The Royal Palms is utterly transformed into a BBQ playground,” Nancy tells us. 

“Eric,
Jose and Anthony are manning grill stations on the edge of the water
and with different dessert stations and more it is the best BBQ you will
ever have been to. By this time everybody has lots of energy and is
excited. Guests have started to meet and make new friendships. 

“The
Cookout is a celebration of the beauty of the Cayman Islands and with
your toes in the soft white sand of Seven Mile Beach and the excitement
of this event, life doesn’t get much better.” 

Burgers in Paradise with Eric Ripert and Spike Mendelsohn 

Rum Point 

9am to 1.30pm 

$329 

The
creator of Cayman Cookout invites you to the quintessential island
burger bash with assistance at the grill from “Top Chef’s” own burger
maestro. The morning begins with a catamaran sail across North Sound and
stop to snorkel and swim at Eric’s favourite place on Cayman: Stingray
City. Then on to Rum Point for satisfying burgers of every iteration
along with shallow waters, reaching docks, shaded shores, swinging
hammocks, candy-coloured picnic tables, sparkling wine, cold Heineken
and, of course, rum, courtesy of Tortuga. Recommended attire: swimsuits,
cover-ups and plenty of sunscreen. 

“This is the complete Cayman experience,” Nancy notes. 

“Rum
Point will be burger paradise; expect more than just the classic burger
– fish, lamb, beef, in many different ways. This is just the best beach
picnic and has evolved from an event Eric did at Starfish Point in
2011. It’s quite a day in store.” 

Spike
Mendelsohn is one of the hottest chefs around, with his Top Chef and
Next Iron Chef: Redemption exploits. And whilst he’s known for his
burger and pizza joints in Washington DC, the chef is way, way more than
that. 

“He is skilled beyond belief,” Nancy says. 

“So this really is a showcase to present those skills. 

“He’s also got Cayman connections after going to school in Florida with a lot of people from here – it’s such a small world.” 

The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman  

Food & Wine  

Cayman Islands Department of Tourism  

Camana Bay  

A.L. Thompson’s  

Certified Angus Beef  

Bakers Pride  

Tattinger  

Felchlin  

Far Niente  

Fiji Water  

Flava Magazine 

Justin Vineyards & Winery  

Landmark  

Le Creuset  

Nickel & Nickel  

Red Sail Sports  

Rum Point  

Swiss Chalet 

Tequila Patron

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