Hit the pause button on those New Year’s resolution diets because Grand Cayman is about to become a 10-day culinary heaven starting Thursday night with the opening of the Cayman Cookout, followed the next weekend by Taste of Cayman on Saturday, Jan. 23.
The Cayman Cookout, now in its 8th year, attracts some of the biggest names in the culinary world, including annual guests chefs Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain and Jose Andres, as well as a slate of visiting chefs from across the globe. In addition, winemakers from such producers as Krug Champagne in France, Silverado Vineyards in Napa Valley and several others will lead a series of educational tastings.
The Cookout gets started with the Wine Fair and Auction event on Thursday night that raises money for both The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Culinary Arts Scholarship fund and, this year, the Cayman Heart Fund.
Friday and Saturday offer a full slate of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and talks, including the Barefoot BBQ at Royal Palms Beach on Friday night.
Sunday Jan. 17 brings the Bon Vivant Champagne Brunch & Cook-off, during which the finalists of December’s preliminary rounds – residents Travis Ritch and Josh Wludyka – face each other to determine the top amateur chef of the Cayman Islands.
The culinary talent coming to Cayman is not confined to The Ritz-Carlton’s Cayman Cookout events; on Saturday, Jan. 16, the Brasserie Restaurant will host renowned Israeli Chef Michael Solomonov, a James Beard Award winner, for a four-course dinner menu that features some of the hottest trends in global cuisine.
That same evening, Camana Bay’s Ortanique Restaurant and chefs Cindy Hutson and Clay Conley will present ‘Ginger in Paradise,’ a five-course, wine-paired, Caribbean-Asian inspired menu.
After the Cookout ends Sunday night, foodies will then have a short week to rest up and prepare for the annual Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival on Saturday Jan. 23. More than 30 of Cayman’s bars, restaurants and wine/spirits/beer purveyors will be on hand to give tastes of their products in the framework of a spirited competition to determine who makes the best food, the best heavy cake and the best cocktails on Grand Cayman. The event, which takes place at Camana Bay’s Festival Green, also includes a variety of musical entertainment and cooking demonstrations.