It may seem odd to have major culinary events in January, the month when everyone is trying to drop the pounds from the indulgences of the previous weeks. On the other hand, it is a great way to avoid the post-festive season blues.

Cayman Cookout, held at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman from Thursday, Jan. 17, to Sunday, Jan. 20, means to sweep those blues away with a very big ladle.

This international foodie weekend brings the worshippers of fine cuisine from far and wide to mingle with an assortment of celebrity chefs, socialize under the stars, and sample amazing dishes prepared by masters of their craft.

Cayman Cookout is celebrating 11 years of success in 2019 and, once again, guests can expect a mixture of grand events and intimate presentations.

Celebrity chefs

Chef Eric Ripert of both Le Bernadin in New York and Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, is headlining and hosting the festival. He is joined by Chef José Andrés, who is nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, Haiti, California and elsewhere in the world.

Also in the line-up is Chef Emeril Lagasse and, new to the roster, Chef Andrew Zimmern, host of the television series “Bizarre Foods.” Chefs Dominique Crenn, Amanda Cohen, Emma Bengtsson and Nancy Silverton round out the group of culinary experts with impressive credentials.

Setting up the Harbour Club Pool for one of Cookout’s signature events.

Cocktail culture

Another important element of Cayman Cookout is its appreciation of beverage and cocktail culture. The humble mixed drink of yore has been elevated to new heights since the world of mixology entered the spotlight over the last decade.

Top bar tenders are as revered as chefs, as their construction of the perfect cocktail is not unlike chefs creating the perfect dish. There are fresh ingredients to be sourced, infusions to be invented, and maybe even chemical processes to be followed in order to attain the finished product.

If you want to learn more about the industry and sip some really fine wines, Champagne and cocktails, get your tickets for some of the beverage events.

Sergio ‘Matador’ Serrano stands guard at one of the many booths at the Jacques Scott Wine Fair & Auction.

Highlights of Cayman Cookout include:

Thursday, Jan. 17

  • 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The Jacques Scott Wine Fair & Auction
  • $150

Proceeds from the evening’s silent auction will benefit the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Culinary Arts Scholarship.

Friday, Jan. 18

  • Explore the Flavors of Cayman with Andrew Zimmern
  • Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • $225

Chef Andrew Zimmern will taste and discuss the bizarre side of international and local flavors with Cayman’s most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs.

Saturday, Jan. 19

  • After Glow
  • Time: 9:30 to 11:45 p.m.
  • $225

A live band and premium-brand beverages under the stars with an unconventional amalgamation of glamour and free-spiritedness.

Sunday, Jan. 20

  • Bon Vivant Amateur Chef Competition Brunch
  • Time: Noon to 3 p.m.
  • $315

Moët & Chandon Champagne and extravagant brunch selections are on the menu as Grand Cayman’s most ambitious amateur chefs duel in a live cook-off.

To get tickets and see the full schedule of events, visit www.caymancookout.com.

Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse talks food at his tent event on the beach.