July 1, 2022

Cayman Islands Taste of Cayman 2016 draws thousands of foodies

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thumb1_1454332207The-Bistro1454332206By all accounts the 2016 Taste of Cayman Food & Wine Festival, held on Saturday, 23 January at the Festival Green, Camana Bay, was  deemed a success.  Over four thousand visitors and locals attended the Festival, which is the major annual fundraiser for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA). Complementing the tasty culinary creations offered by restaurants and vendors was the entertainment, provided by local artists HEAT and Shameka Clarke and tribute acts Rod Stewart, Elton John and Tina Turner.
“The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) is extremely proud of the turnout on Saturday,” said Executive Director Tiffany Dixon-Ebanks.  “There were 40 vendors of food and wine at Taste of Cayman this year, paired with a very entertaining atmosphere and blessed with cool heavenly breezes. I wish to thank our event planning team, volunteers, our members and our sponsors, without whom this event could not have happened so wonderfully. Thanks to all involved for a job very well done, and congratulations to the winners of the Best Of Competition and the heavy cake, mixology and Chef Cook-Off competitions.”
The People’s Choice for Cayman’s Favourite Restaurant, as voted on by Taste of Cayman attendees, is the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman’s Seven/Andiamo.  Serving Gnocchi Poutine and Sticky Toffee Pudding, the Seven/Andiamo booth was consistently busy throughout the evening.
“We are very excited to receive this amazing news and proud to hold the title of Cayman’s Favourite Restaurant for 2016,” said Kapil Sharma, Hotel Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.  “Showcasing the many efforts of the new menu changes and creative talents of our Ladies and Gentlemen for these two restaurants has been rewarding. We appreciate all the votes from the guests, the public and our supporters and we look forward to showcasing our culinary talent from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman throughout the new year.”
Best Of Competition
The Best of Competition was judged secretly by five individuals who have experience as chefs, well-travelled foodies, food critics and wine connoisseurs.
Best Food:
* 1st place — The Bistro serving braised short rib, onion soubise, port reduction
* 2nd place — Ortanique serving shredded mojo brined pork with crispy yucca to stone
* 3rd place — Seven/Andiamo from the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman serving gnocchi poutine
Best Dessert:
* 1st place — Seven/Andiamo from the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman serving Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butter Pecan Ice Cream
* 2nd place — Anchor and Den from the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort serving Salted Caramel Ice Cream
* 3rd place — Ortanique serving Peanut Butter Bomb Parfait
Best Drink:
* 1st place — Jacques Scott’s Zacapa Manhattan
* 2nd place — Wreck Bar Mud Slide
* 3rd place — Premier Wine and Spirits’ White Wine Sangria
Best Booth:
* 1st place — Jacques Scott’s Zacapa Room
* 2nd place — Anchor and Den (Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort)
* 3rd place — Cimboco/Chicken! Chicken!
Mixology Competition
Sponsored by Seven Fathoms Rum, the Cayman Rum Challenge put local bartenders to the test.  To advance, nine contestants had to create a signature cocktail using Governor’s Reserve, a Cayman Spirits Company product.  Their concoctions were judged on name, simplicity, taste, presentation and performance.  Three semi-finalists were tasked with creating a second cocktail on the spot using scotch bonnet pepper, the “mystery ingredient” that was revealed at the start of the finals.  The winners were:
1. Dan Hollis (Margaritaville) — “Seven Deadly Sins”
2. Valerie Balignasay (Barolo Lounge) — “Adele”
3. Ensory Usseffa (Agua) — “The Cayman Sands”
The Bon Vivant & Best Dressed Chicken Chef Cook-Off was also a popular attraction in the All Things Cayman area. Maureen Cubbon and Jolene Nelson (The Girls) faced off against Neville Hicks and Michael Treacy (The Boys) in a competition reminiscent of popular TV cooking show Chopped.  “Chef-testants” had 20 minutes to create an original recipe using The Best Dressed Chicken and other ingredients they found in a three-minute shopping trip to a pantry provided by CITA.  The men produced a chicken and pumpkin dish with a creamy garlic, mushroom and tarragon sauce, while the ladies created a Caribbean chicken “faux bruschetta” served on fried plantain instead of bread. Judges Joey Hew, Keith Griffin and Avadaugn Sinclair had a difficult decision to make but in the end the ladies emerged victorious by merely one point, and received a basket of spices courtesy of McCormick.
Heavy Cake Competition
The heavy cake competition was contested by six proud bakers and judged by Tunisia Barnes and Kyle McLean from the Department of Tourism and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.  First-time participant Krysta Parchman walked away with the first place title and $300 and 2015 champion Renda Cornwall’s take on the traditional Caymanian dish earned her a second place finish and $150.  2015 runner up Phenicia Bodden-Fraser won third place and a prize of $50 for her contribution.  Patrons were able to sample the cakes after the judging concluded.
Demo Kitchen
Foodies also had an opportunity to learn from Maureen Cubbon who enlisted the help of three young volunteer sous chefs to show the audience how to make local veggie and cheese fritters with a yogurt herb sauce.
Taste of Cayman platinum partner Camana Bay was joined with other sponsors including Hurley’s Media, Digicel, Cayman Airways, Massive, Hew’s Hotel & Restaurant Supplies, Flava, The Best Dressed Chicken, Pepsi, NetClues, Department of Tourism, Fountainhead, BritCay, eCay, Scotiabank, Seven Fathoms Rum, McCormick, Rubis, Budget and Bon Vivant.
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