Chef Clare Smyth embraces Cayman flavor

Local flavors and international talents came together in Grand Cayman for a food-filled week of fine and fresh dining.

Acclaimed British Chef Clare Smyth kicked off 10 days of “pop up” culinary events on March 7, starting with a four-course dinner in the Kimpton Seafire’s presidential suite. The three-star Michelin chef described the night as a stunning and exclusive destination experience.

While at the Seafire, Ms. Smyth collaborated with local chefs Massimo DeFrancesca, Remy Lefebvre and Thomas Zimmerman.

“When I got here, I was surprised to find that really everywhere there is good food and great produce. Just no one knows about it,” she says.

“I think there is a lot more under the surface here than people think, particularly with the produce that is being grown on the island. There are so many passionate people about food. The level is actually quite high.”

She worked with local farmers and chefs to create uniquely Caymanian fare. Among the chef’s local ingredients were Cayman Brac goat, Bodden Town produce and locally smoked fish.

“You typically don’t find great homegrown produce and a high level of food and cocktails [on an island]. I find it quite fascinating. The offering is great,” she says.

Chef Smyth expects to launch her first solo restaurant in London’s Notting Hill in July. She described the restaurant as embracing modern fine dining with British ethos.

Slow Food Day

Saturday’s Slow Food Day put extra emphasis on local ingredients with public and private offerings at Camana Bay.

Chef Smyth and Abacus’s head chef Will O’Hara put on the event’s annual Harvest Dinner for around 100 guests.

“I wanted to keep it really stripped back and allow the ingredients to speak for themselves and to have a really fun, interactive dinner so that people could get involved,” says Chef Smyth.

For those who could not attend the evening’s dinner, the day opened with a free culinary market. Chefs put their talents on display with public demonstrations and free samples for the public.

Thirty-two children ages 8 to 12 learned basic culinary skills through an afternoon class put on by Cayman Food Revolution, part of Jamie Oliver’s global initiative.

Cayman Food Revolution ambassador Maureen Cubbon said the Seed2Plate class complemented Slow Food Day by exposing young people to fresh, local ingredients.

“We’re using a lot of our local produce, organic fare and healthful food. We want them to be interested in cooking and the flavors and profiles,” she says.

To learn more about Slow Food Day, watch the event video on www.caymancompass.com.

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