International chefs descended on Cayman once again for the 10th annual Cayman Cookout, marking one of the largest productions of the islandwide festival to date.
The event’s founding chefs, Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain and José Andrés, were joined by Emeril Lagasse, Robert Irvin and Sean Brock, among other renowned international and local culinary stars for five days of entertainment, food and sunshine.
Television personality, author and celebrity chef Mr. Bourdain embraced the island spirit during Friday’s “Around the World” appearance on The Ritz-Carlton Great Lawn, where local restaurants shared creations sourced from Cayman to the Philippines.
“There is definitely a relationship between happiness and how often you have to wear shoes,” Mr. Bourdain told the audience.
After tasting the Indian food from Blue Cilantro, served at Health City, Mr. Bourdain joked that being hospitalized in the Cayman Islands might not be so bad.
“So I should look forward to a snorkeling accident, then?” he said.
Messrs. Ripert and Andrés followed Mr. Bourdain’s cue at Saturday’s Rum Point Beach Bash, leaving their sandals behind and getting their toes in the sand.
“This year for our 10th anniversary of Cayman Cookout, miracles happened,” Mr. Ripert said.
“The weather is fantastic. The chefs are very happy. The guests are very happy. There’s a lot of interaction with locals that contribute to the cookout.…
“It’s unbelievable what’s happened. I am very happy with the way the festival has gone and it’s very good for the island. It’s very good for whoever comes. It’s win-win.”
Mr. Andrés praised the work by local tourism authorities to build up the event and create opportunities for Caymanian businesses.
“The 10th year, I think it’s the best yet. Eric, The Ritz, the Caymanian tourist office, I think they’ve outdone themselves. The events have been great. I think there have been more events than ever. The quality of the chefs coming has been amazing,” he said.
The Spanish-American chef added that as the festival has grown, the friendships in Cayman and love of the island have as well.
“If Eric [Ripert] calls, I cannot say no [to an event]. But I’m not going lie to you; my family loves Cayman. My three daughters and wife learned how to scuba dive right here in Cayman waters,” he said.