September 19, 2020

Cayman Cookout 2015 was a foodie paradise as always!


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jose-andres-cayman-cookout-2XD lynn-crawford-cayman-cookout-1Ns lynn-crawford-cayman-cookout-4hh marcus-samuelsson-cayman-cookout-2wo marcus-samuelsson-cayman-cookout-7iU marcus-samuelsson-cayman-cookout-8wD michael-white-1lk michael-white-5NO michael-white-6gm rundown-with-anthony-bourdain-3Lr rundown-with-anthony-bourdain-15ku sean-brock-cayman-cookout-1NW sean-brock-cayman-cookout-2DuBy Kay Emrick From Christopher Colombus

Every January world-famous chef, Eric Ripert, hosts a weekend in Grand Cayman celebrating the newest in food trends from a stellar line-up of renowned chefs. This past weekend I attended the 7th Annual Cayman Cookout (the 5th one I’ve personally attended). As in years past I had an absolutely great time sampling delicious food, meeting accomplished chefs and learning food tips and tricks from the best of the best. It was a foodie paradise to be sure! Hope to see you in 2016 and enjoy the “scrapbook” of this year’s events I was able to attend below.

Jose Andres
Jose Andres put on an amazing paella session on the beach. These are a few photos I snapped before he started. The calm before the exciting cookout with Jose!

Rundown with Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain hosted a luncheon session with chefs from local Cayman restaurants. During the session he went around station to station explaining what the chefs had prepared, and attendees could walk up to any station in any order to sample food and drinks. (You could even get seconds!) Tables shaded by umbrellas were available for guests to enjoy their cuisine in comfort. It was a delicious feast for both the eyes and palette!

Southern Cuisine with Sean Brock
Virginia native, Sean Brock – ower of Husk (Charleston & Nashville, TN locations) – cooked up some tasty southern cuisine from his cookbook, Heritage, including marinated shrimp and Hoppin’ John!

Lynn Crawford
Lynn Crawford was a completely hilarious and engaging chef from Toronto. She got audience participation and made some killer rum cocktails and fish tacos. Lynn was so friendly (Even got my photo with her below!), and cooked such good food. If you don’t have banana leaves to poach fish in, use foil or parchment paper.

Marcus Samuelsson
Marcus Samuelsson gave all the secrets to good fried “yard bird” or chicken! It was fantastic. Marcus was very personable and is an acclaimed chef from Ethiopia who was adopted at age 3 by Swedish parents and raised in Sweden. He has a restaurant in Harlem named, Red Rooster. The “yard bird” demo was outside of Blue (Eric Ripert’s elegant restaurant on the island), then we moved inside Blue for a four course luncheon. The wines were from the Phelps Winery in Napa, and the dessert served was a popcorn accented caramel mousse. Samuelsson went table to table, signed cookbooks and posed for photos. It was a completely amazing experience.

Michael White
Then we attended a session with Michael White, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of the Altamarea Group which owns many acclaimed restaurants. He cooked a scrumptious seafood risotto, and demoed how to remove conch from its shell. Claw hammers were a necessary tool!

PHOTOS Kay Emrick Christopher Columbus Grand Cayman Condos

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Four Cs Of Cayman Cookout

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Every January, culinary elites descend upon the Cayman Island’s fanciest, five diamond hotel, The Ritz Carlton, to attend the Cayman Cookout. This year, I was honored to be invited to cover the event.

January 15th couldn’t come soon enough. As my plane descended at Grand Cayman Airport, my heart pounded with excitement, in anticipation of treasures to be uncovered on this long-awaited trip.

The three Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory. Its major island, Grand Cayman, is a twenty-mile stretch of pure paradise. The Island is famous for its stunning Seven Mile Beach, Sting Ray City, Starfish Point, the Turtle Farm conservation facility and a curious place appropriately named “Hell”, a formation of acidic rock which looks as eerie as any Halloween movie set.

The Cayman Cookout, now in its sixth year, was launched by Chef Eric Ripert, best known for his Michelin star adorned New York restaurant, Le Bernardin, and television personality, Anthony Bourdain. After vacationing in the Cayman Islands seven years ago, they decided that, if they are going to showcase their respective talents at a food and wine event, why not hold it in the best spot ever?

Thirty-plus chefs arrived for a three-day culinary extravaganza, filled with demos, beach cookouts, formal lunches and dinners. The event offered an opportunity to rub elbows with the likes of Eric Ripert, José Andrés, Marcus Samuelson, and other celebrities. For fine dining enthusiasts, it was surely the place to be.

Anyone who ever shopped for a diamond knows about the “4 Cs”: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. The 4 Cs certainly apply to this rare gem of event.

The cut refers to the precision with which every single morsel of food I consumed was executed. No stranger to ceviche, guacamole and other finely diced creations, I was stunned at the knife work exhibited by the chefs and their loyal teams. Texture is often an overlooked piece in a dish’s puzzle that is crucial to the experience. If the dish excels in the textural department you will likely not notice why you love it. If it doesn’t, it’s brutally evident and likely unsuccessful.

The first thing that struck me about this Caribbean island was the vibrant colors, whether it was the saturated red hues of a giant lobster, pink overtones of a freshly caught conch, or the translucent glow of a coconut water, pouring from a fruit freshly harvested from a tree right outside… an indescribable symphony and synergy of gifts from sea and land, brightly and brilliantly illuminating every plate of food.

The clarity occurred when the impact of the three-day event began to sink in. Whether it was sipping Veuve Clicquot, sampling a 1953 Chateau Margaux, or enjoying the ocean-to-table cuisine that caused even this seasoned foodie to burst into happy tears; for me, there have been few experiences clearer than this abundance of pure bliss.

Rum Point “Burgers In Paradise”

One of my most memorable experiences occurred during the catamaran ride to Rum Point, where the “Burgers in Paradise” event was held. The trip included a stopover at “Stingray City Sandbar,” a shallow section of the warm Caribbean Sea. A while back, local fishermen noticed that feeding stingrays allowed them to acclimate to humans and to become pet-like, friendly and docile. While wading in waist-deep water, dozens of stingrays show up to play with our group. Regal and curious, they are easily persuaded to lay on your chest and stare at you with those wise, haunting eyes. The females were much larger and friendlier, while the smaller males shyly lurked underneath. The feeling of holding this mammal is indescribable; it takes your breath away. I met Dottie, a twenty year old female whose smooth, salty cuddles won’t be soon forgotten.

One of the most enjoyable events was the “Barefoot BBQ,” held at the Royal Palms restaurant on Grand Cayman’s stunning Seven Mile Beach. Chefs Bourdain, Ripert, Samuelson, and Andrés showed off their culinary prowess on grill stations set up literally at the water’s edge. The flavors of extraordinary food, cheese buffet and an array of locally inspired desserts were amplified by the murmur of the ocean.

Especially memorable was a formal luncheon hosted and prepared by Michael White, of Manresa fame. There was also a signature Gala dinner. Amazingly, tickets for this multi-course, $700 per person meal sold out in less than 24 hours of going on sale. It was a meal of lifetime, with each chef preparing a course, paired with world-class wines, that told a compelling story.

I have attended hundreds of culinary demos and wine seminars. I can unequivocally say that the seminars offered at this event were some of the best that I have ever experienced. From Ritz Carlton’s head chef’s spectacular four course demo, to Anthony Giglio humorous, upbeat food and wine pairing at Bon Vivant (a teaching kitchen in the heart of Grand Cayman’s business district), to a reserve tasting of none other than famed Veuve Clicquot, there was ample entertainment paired with fascinating substance.

One event particularly stood out. José Andrés‘ paella demo had the audience in stitches as the renown chef openly roasted Daniel Boulud and his French colleagues for overpriced and over-engineered food. I haven’t laughed or eaten this good in… forever.

Anthony Bourdain delivered the biggest surprise of the visit. I was anticipating a hugely irreverent, chain-smoking, cursing, sardonic character. Instead, I met a loving family man who was humble, self-deprecating, and unexpectedly shy.

During the “Eric and Tony” beach demo, Eric Ripert complained about Anthony not opening up about his private life, while Bourdain humorously scolded Ripert for never cooking fish for him when he had dinner at Eric’s home. They harassed each other with hilarity and abandon. It was a show to end all shows. All the while, Bourdain threw together a tasty bouillabaisse that we sampled while laughing our heads off.

The three-day extravaganza culminated in a Sunday Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brunch & Cook-Off where local chefs competed for the title of Grand Cayman’s “Top Chef”; with this year winner Adam Handling taking top honors. The event featured every conceivable food group, from seven types of caviar, exquisitely fresh sushi, to every conceivable protein, and every possible form of dessert. Each of the twelve stations served indulgent, complex, and multidimensional dishes.

Carats sprung to mind when one thinks of the quality and rarity of the Hope Diamond. There are many wine events, just like there are many diamonds, but there are some that are way out of the ordinary. They are typically very large, flaw free and exceedingly rare; often one-of-a-kind. With multitude of facets, stunning purity and soul-piercing beauty,

Cayman Cookout is a gem of an event.

This diamond came in a multitude of shapes. There was the rectangular cut of a table overflowing with a bounty of local flavor, a marquis shaped stingray that glided through crystal clear waters, and the perfect round shape of a magical Caribbean sunset. The event was truly a wealth of riches to behold.

The Cayman Cookout provided a treasure chest of food, wine and indulgence. It was a transformational experience. Somewhere between Dottie’s seamless water glide and a cup of coconut milk conch ceviche, I discovered and fell head over heels in love with the riches of the Caribbean.

Rum Point “Burgers In Paradise”
Bon Vivant Veuve Clicquot Brunch

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Cayman Cookout a fabulous foodie success

By Tristan. Ralston From Destination

Foodies from home and abroad gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman mid-January 2015 to enjoy Cayman Cookout one of the most popular and prestigious food and wine events of the year for the region.

Where else can you mingle shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest chefs of our time, including of course, the host of Cayman Cookout, Chef Eric Ripert, he of three Michelin-star Le Bernardin fame. Chef Eric runs Blue by Eric Ripert located at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, which enjoys an AAA Five Diamond Award, no less.

This year Chef Eric was joined by television personality, traveler, writer and chef Anthony Bourdain as well as famed Spanish Chef José Andrés and together they make up the ‘three amigos’ of Cayman Cookout, three of the biggest personalities at the event.

British Chef of the Year 2014 and 2013 Masterchef finalist Adam Handling was also on hand to showcase his skills. Popular ‘Chopped’ Chef Marcus Samuelsson also thrilled the audience, along with highly acclaimed chefs Daniel Boulud, Sean Brock, Lynn Crawford, Sven Elverfeld, Norman Love and Michael White.

If you love food, you cannot miss Cayman Cookout.

Article supplied by Lindsey Turnbull to Destination

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