If you have never attended “Out of the Kitchen” in The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s ballroom and hosted by the resort and the Cayman Culinary Society, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Every year, chefs from restaurants around the island gather to present their dishes in an electric and eclectic atmosphere. This festival for foodies allows them to step out of their comfort zone and into the spotlight where many of them blossom (and blush) under the enormous weight of accolades from their guests.

They cook at their stations in the ballroom, and often the evening descends into the cheers and laughter of a full-blown party.

Chef George Fowler won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
Chef George Fowler won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

The ballroom is set up with long tables, each representing a participating restaurant. This year, 15 tables are up for grabs, featuring:

  • Abacus/Deckers
  • Agua/Catch
  • Anchor & Den
  • The BistroBlue Cilantro
  • Brasserie
  • Casa 43
  • Cayman Culinary Society
  • Cracked Conch
  • Guy Harvey’s/Crudo
  • LUCA
  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • Rum Point
  • Tukka
  • The Westin

The proceedings usually begin with executive chef Frederic Morineau of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman announcing the chefs and bartenders with flair, as they run out into the ballroom. What follows is a celebration of excellent cuisine with beverages flowing throughout the night.

Awards and scholarship

Although in the past a great many awards were handed out for the accompanying culinary competition, this part of the schedule has been shortened significantly, and now only a few awards are presented on stage. The Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Rod McDowall of Red Sail Sports, with Guy Harvey as guest speaker. There will also be a short live auction to raise money for the two beneficiaries of the night: the Cayman Culinary Society and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s Culinary Arts Scholarship.

The latter gives Caymanian students who have achieved academic excellence the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from one of four Johnson & Wales University campuses. The scholarship includes full tuition, room and board, as well as $1,000 for books and supplies, for up to four years of study, along with a paid internship at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for each year the student is enrolled in university.

At present, there are two Caymanian students at Johnson & Wales benefiting from the scholarship program.

Those who are interested in going to “Out of the Kitchen” should book their tickets now, as tables for some restaurants are already sold out.

Tickets are $150 each and include some wine with dinner. Contact participating restaurants directly for their tickets, or for more information on the event and The Ritz-Carlton tickets, call 815-6912.