Editorial – Cayman’s ‘recipe’ for success with culinary events

The show went on over the weekend, as epicures flocked to break bread with some of the world’s best chefs at the peerless Cayman Cookout.

In its 11-year run, the event has earned its place as one of world’s most celebrated gastronomic gatherings, drawing guests from the world over and featuring an A-list lineup of culinary superstars.

This year, that included José Andrés, Andrew Zimmern, Emeril Lagasse, Dominique Crenn, Amanda Cohen, Emma Bengtsson and Nancy Silverton.

Hosted by Chef Eric Ripert, head of New York City’s Le Bernardin restaurant and the guiding hand at our very own Ritz-Carlton’s Blue by Eric Ripert, the Cayman Cookout is particularly well-known for its intimate gatherings, where one can, for example, dine on Chef Lagasse’s own shrimp remoulade and, a mere 24 hours later, join Blue’s Chef de Cuisine Thomas Seifried for a Caviar Lunch.

This year’s participants sampled from a generous menu of more than 50 events, including tastings, demonstrations, parties and experiences – a mix of old and new presentations from talents both local and exotic – capped off by the Great Gala itself.

As always, Grand Cayman’s beaches, breezes and crystal waters were the secret ingredients to the annual event’s success. Whether raising a glass for a good cause at the Jacques Scott wine fair and auction, exploring the wild side of Cayman’s local foods with celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, sipping under the stars at After Glow or, of course, sinking toes in the sand at the festival’s signature Barefoot BBQ, guests were treated to a uniquely Cayman experience.

Sorely missed this year was longtime Cookout headliner Anthony Bourdain, whose death last June of an apparent suicide saddened all who were familiar with his good humor and welcoming personality. As Mr. Bourdain so poetically phrased it at last year’s event, “The ability to eat someone else’s food, to reach a hand across the table, is essential. When you give someone food, you’re doing something that your mother did; you’re nurturing another.”

But although the Cayman Cookout wrapped up on Sunday, the final dishes washed and put away, foodies do not have long to wait for their next opportunity, as Saturday (January 26) brings the return of Taste of Cayman to the Festival Green at Camana Bay.

What started as a friendly chili cookoff 30 years ago has grown into a smorgasbord of culinary temptations, with Cayman’s own stellar chefs, bakers and mixologists in charge of the show. Thousands are expected to attend this year to sample drinks and noshes on offer from more than 45 restaurants, to cheer for their favorites in Heavy Cake and Mixology competitions, learn a thing or two in cooking classes, or simply soak up live music and family fun.

Please accept our invitation to visit the Pinnacle Media/Flava magazine tent – we are longtime sponsors – and take a turn on our “prize wheel.” Big fun, big prizes!

These two wintertime events are more than mere threads in our island’s social fabric. They are evidence of our culinary community’s commitment to preserving our islands’ status as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.


  1. While it’s clear that these culinary events (incl. Taste of Cayman) have become a success, is there any explanation why they’re all held in the same month, instead of spreading the success across a few months? Just curious.

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