The Taste of Cayman Food and Drink Festival returns to the Festival Green in Camana Bay on Saturday.
After being postponed from Jan. 26 due to forecast weather conditions, Cayman’s largest food festival (and the Cayman Island Tourism Association’s largest fundraiser) will bring together Cayman’s favourite restaurants and drink vendors for an evening of celebrating food, fun and the Caymanian culture.
“This year, more than ever, we are really focussed on bringing together everything that makes Cayman so unique and putting it into the spotlight,” says Julie Allan, chair of the Taste of Cayman Committee and member of the Tourism Association’s Executive Committee.
“The diversity within our culinary scene is one of the main reasons that Cayman holds the title of the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,” she continues. “Also, the passion of our local chefs is really showcased through their creativity and the quality of the food they produce.”
Attendees can anticipate trying the flavours of India, the Mediterranean, East Asia, North America, Mexico and the Caribbean region, as well as traditional Caymanian dishes. There will also be vegetarian and vegan options available during the event.
Although Taste of Cayman is primarily a food festival, the president of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Theresa Leacock-Broderick, notes that there has also been a big effort to build out other aspects of the event as well.
“While so much of our local culture surrounds cooking and sharing food, we have also expanded other areas of Taste of Cayman in order to bring in traditional Caymanian arts, music, performance and games,” she says.
These additions include the introduction of the Cayman-style Beef Competition, in addition to the return of the Heavy Cake Competition, as well as the expansion of the All Things Cayman area.
The latter will feature traditional crafts, gig demonstration, live drawings from the Taste of Cayman illustrator, Michelle Bryan, live performances by local dance troupes, a youth choir, folk singers, a wide range of local talented musicians, dominoes tables and much more.
“We are so excited to be able to give a platform to so many amazing local talents, from musicians to dancers to artists,” Leacock-Broderick says. “And, of course, it has been so thrilling to be able to bring talent from across our islands together in one space to celebrate this beautiful place we all get to call home.”
The Demonstration Stage will also see the return of some old favourites, including the Kids Cooking Demonstration, Amateur Chef Cook Off and the Mixology Competition, as well as the Home Gas Youth Culinary Challenge – a ‘Chopped’-style culinary battle between young, rising stars on the culinary scene.
“While the Demonstration Stage allows everyone to get a bite of the action, the Experience Room provides a more intimate setting for Taste of Cayman attendees to dive headfirst into the culinary world,” Leacock-Broderick says.
Some of the exciting features of the Experience Room this year include Dining in the Dark; Decoding Wine Labels with Wineschool3; and informative iguana and lionfish cooking demonstrations.
All the action continues on the main stage, with live musical performance from The Neverines, Beneil Miller & the Fyah Squad Band and a set from DJ RKM. Queen tribute band and headline act, Simply Queen, will close out the night.
“With so much taking place throughout the evening, we are so grateful to the many people who are volunteering with us,” Leacock-Broderick says. “They are at the heart of the festival and are the ones who make this all possible.”
Allan adds, “We truly can’t wait to welcome everyone down to the Festival Green. It’s going to be an unforgettable evening.”
How it all began
Taste of Cayman began in the late ‘80s, when a small number of restaurants from the Cayman Islands Restaurant Association met in a field to compete in a Chili Cook Off. Celebrating its 31st anniversary in 2019, the event has now grown into what it is today, with thousands of festivalgoers and over 35 restaurants, bars and vendors participating in the island’s largest foodie gathering.
General admission in advance is $40 per ticket and $50 at the gate. Children aged 5-13 years old are $20 each. VIP tickets are $150 for adults and $50 for children. VIP tickets include entry to the air-conditioned VIP Hospitality Lounge, priority parking, 25 food and drink tickets, one experience voucher, welcome drinks and canapes, express entry and a private cash bar.