Chefs vie for glory at the Sister Islands Cook-off

Little Cayman’s usually tranquil Southern Cross Club was a hotbed of cooking action last weekend with stoves all fired up for the 18th annual Sister Islands Cookoff. The island welcomed a wide range of chefs and foodies to what organizers describe as a very successful event. 

The annual fundraiser for the Sister Islands Tourism Association continues to draw talented chefs seeking to contest their culinary skills. 

“With about 150 people in attendance, we had 54 entries. We had a very good outcome in terms of funds raised for the Association, which uses proceeds of the event for their various projects and initiatives,” said Southern Cross Club General Manager and Cookoff committee member Jennifer Mills. 

“These include the Association’s operating costs, marketing, and having a presence at important industry trade shows like the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association [DEMA] show.”  

The event’s primary sponsor Jacques Scott sponsored the unique trophies from high-end kitchenware and culinary design firm Nambe, along with prize money. 

“We also had a raffle with over 20 prizes including a two-night stay at the Caribbean Club, a $250 Camana Bay voucher, a case of Flor de Cana Rum donated by Tortuga Liquors, a case of Tattinger Champagne donated by Jacques Scott, plus a snorkel and mask set from Scubapro,” said Ms. Mills. 

Music from Grand Cayman’s Wild Knights kept the place hopping, and Judges Chef Vidyadhara Shetty, Chef Keith Griffin and Chef Tanya Foster had the difficult task of choosing from a myriad of delicious dishes to determine the winners. 

Soup and Salad category winner was Chef Dianne Fite of Pirates Point for her Caribbean Roasted Corn Crab Chowder, with second place going to the Hungry Iguana’s Lionfish Chowder. In the appetizer category, winners Team Southern Cross Club presented Cilantro and Coconut Chutney stuffed Tiger Shrimp on Green Papaya Salad and Sweet Chili Garlic Sauce, and Chef Dianne once again showed her mettle with her second place entry of Conch Samosas with Wasabi Island Tartar Sauce and Sweet Chili Harissa Dipping Sauce. 

In the Entrée category, first place went to Team Southern Cross Club for their Potato Crusted Lamb Fillet with Root Vegetable Puree. The team also snagged second place with their Lavender Scented Little Cayman Silk Snapper. 

The highly anticipated Dessert category found Chef Dianne ruling the roost with her Little Cayman Turtle Trifle with Salted Caramel, and second place was awarded to Chef Yvonne Waldo of the Little Cayman Beach Resort for her Coconut Macaroons. 

The hotly contested local category was won by Southern Cross Club’s Judith Jackson for her pumpkin flan, with Patti Edwards running a close second for her Cayman Style Land Crab. 

Ms. Mills noted two Awards of Recognition were given by the Cayman Islands Culinary society. The first went to Team Southern Cross Club for their Tender Coconut Jelly “No-Bake” Cheesecake in White Chocolate Shell topped with Nutella Soil and Berries. The second went to Little Cayman Beach Resort for the Sugar Drop Jumbo Scallops. 

Overall, Team Southern Cross Club was awarded the Grand Champion Award for their winning appetizer which was voted the best dish of the night out of 54 dishes. It scored 39 points out of a possible 45 to have the highest number of points. It was the third consecutive Grand Champion Award for the Southern Cross Club. 

Judges Chef Vidyadhara Shetty, Chef Keith Griffin and Chef Tanya Foster had the difficult task of having to choose from myriad delicious dishes to determine the winners. 

The hotly contested local category was won by Southern Cross Club’s Judith Jackson, for her pumpkin flan.

The hotly contested local category was won by Southern Cross Club’s Judith Jackson, for her pumpkin flan. Ms. Jackson is shown here with the judges, from left, Vidyadhara Shetty, Keith Griffin and Tanya Foster.

The Sister Islands Cook-off winners and judges.

The Sister Islands Cook-off winners and judges.
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