Cayman Culinary Month: Calling All Foodies
Come January, the Cayman Islands will celebrate its Second Annual Cayman Culinary Month with an elaborate variety of tastings, demonstrations, tours and dinners, all aimed at those of us who enjoy and embrace the myriad pleasures that the culinary arts bring to the table. Celebrity chefs will descend upon these shores, including Eric Ripert of New York’s Le Bernardin, and locally, Blue, at The Ritz-Carlton; Chicago’s Charlie Trotter of his famed eponymous establishment in the Windy City; the “bad boy of cuisine,” Chef Anthony Bourdain; Chef José Andrés, famed for importing his avant-garde Spanish fare to America; and Chef Susur Lee, who went from being a 16-year-old apprentice at Hong Kong’s elegant Peninsula Hotel to being recognised by Zagat as “a culinary genius.” These chefs comprise the culinary ensemble that will conduct what many consider to be the Caribbean’s premier epicurean event, Cayman Cookout — just one of the many series of events within Cayman Culinary Month promoted by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
But this introduction is just a taste to whet your appetite for delights yet to be revealed. Don’t wait to start making reservations; these are extremely popular and well-presented events. Here’s a look at the schedule of events in chronological order:
Caribbean Food & Art Dinner at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, January 7–9
A feast for the eyes as well as the palate (and the French say you eat first with your eyes!), this tasting dinner and paired art exhibit will feature local flavours and local artists, of which there is a considerable and talented abundance. There are three nights to take advantage of this winning concept.
Cayman Cookout at the Ritz-Carlton, January 13–16
At this epicurean extravaganza with Chef Eric Ripert and many others, guests will enjoy a weekend of celebrity-led gastronomic adventure and indulgence ensconced in the accommodating five-diamond ambience and opulence of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. The event attracts serious foodies from across North America and beyond. Set on stunning Seven Mile Beach and outside venues, this culinary celebration serves up the best in cuisine, tropical ambience and cooking demonstrations for eager eaters, dedicated diners, gourmets, food writers and others of the gastronomic persuasion.
Lionfish Hunt & Cookout at Cobalt Coast DiveResort/Divetech, January 20–27
The invasive and destructive lionfish, despised devil of the deep, has become the latest culinary craze in Cayman and is devoured with gusto, along with a certain sense of environmental righteousness. Scuba divers are invited to be a part of an educational briefing about lionfish and take part in a one-tank dive to capture them along with an ensuing cooking demonstration. Then comes the tasting of lionfish appetisers, paired with a selection of white wines. Participants (who must be openwater certified) will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they have assisted in a valuable environmental project, as well as enjoying a new Caymanian culinary delectable.
Rum Point Rum Drink Competition, Rum Point, January 22
This is as good as it gets. Sail on a Red Sail catamaran across the beautiful North Sound lagoon to pristine Rum Point and enjoy a “spirited” rum drink mixing competition and tasting, followed by dinner (and more rum), then a relaxing sail back home. Sweet.
Third Annual CITA Charity Wine Dinner, January 26
There’s an air of mystery here. This exclusive charity wine event will be held at “one of Cayman’s newest up-and-coming restaurants” — yet to be disclosed at press time. This sleuth tried to identify the locale, but to no avail. Featured wines will be paired with each course and described by guest representatives from the featured vineyards.
The Taste of Cayman, Food & Wine Festival at Camana Bay, January 29
Saving the best, arguably, for last, the grand finale of the month-long food fest will be the 23rd Annual Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival at Camana Bay. This popular event has really come into its own with the opening of the Town Centre at Camana Bay. It attracts some 4,000 people each year.
Camana Bay’s main Paseo, its perpendicular Market Street and various garden court areas will be lined with food and wine tasting stalls offering complimentary samples (there’s just one admission price at the gate). Attendees will have the opportunity to vote for “Cayman’s Favourite Restaurant” while tasting samples. Various wine tasting booths will be strung along the Paseo, and there will be live entertainment on the waterfront crescent overlooking the picturesque North Sound waterways, where the wee ones enjoy splashing in the water jet fountain. There will even be a “Mojitos and Margaritas Lounge” where tasters can get away from the maddening crowd and “chill” with a cold libation. It’s definitely one of Cayman’s culinary signature events — you won’t want to miss it. Visit www.tasteofcayman.com.ky for more details.
Book your flight today! Visit www.caymanairways.com, or call 345-949-2311 (in the Cayman Islands)
or 1-800-G-CAYMAN (in the U.S.).