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Chef Ron Ben-Israel

8 April 2024, Grand Cayman – Taste of Cayman Food & Drink Festival Presented by Dart is set to sweeten the Cayman culinary scene this weekend with the addition of two illustrious New York-based celebrity chefs to its lineup, Chef Ron Ben-Israel and Chef Mark Strausman.

Coming from the Big Apple to Cayman, the celebrity chefs will take to the Bon Vivant sponsored demo stage on the evening of Saturday 13 April 2024, to showcase their world-renowned skills to the Cayman community.

Chef Mark Strausman

Ron Ben-Israel, the esteemed Chef-Owner of one of the world’s most renowned couture cake studios, regularly works on commissions from the world’s most luxurious brands and features in premier publications like The New York Times and Vogue Magazine, alongside extensive collaborations with Martha Stewart Weddings. His cakes are a staple in New York’s elite hotels and venues, and his expertise has been showcased on television shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bravo’s Top Chef—Just Desserts, and as the host and judge of Food Network’s Sweet Genius. 

Joining him is Mark Strausman, the acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author behind Mark’s Off Madison, a restaurant and bakery that quickly became a New York sensation, earning accolades from Pete Wells of The New York Times and inclusion in Esquire’s “40 Best New Restaurants in America, 2021.” With a distinguished career that includes the iconic Fred’s at Barneys New York and appearances on NBC’s TODAY show and Martha Stewart Living, Strausman brings his celebrated Italian culinary prowess to the festival. 

“Every year we aim to raise the bar with the calibre of chefs we bring to Taste of Cayman so that Cayman also gets a taste of international culinary experiences while showcasing our incredible local culinary talent and scene to the world,” said Jay Ehrhart, Executive Director, Cayman Islands Tourism Association. 

“This year’s Festival is bigger and better than ever before. For the first time ever we have global artists flying in for a world-class concert on the Friday evening. Then on Saturday we have two of New York’s finest chefs bringing their experience and expertise to our island. This year, Taste of Cayman will truly spotlight the Cayman Islands as the cultural and culinary capital of the Caribbean.”

As part of Saturday evening’s itinerary, both chefs will give live demonstrations showcasing their respective kitchen skills to festivalgoers. 

Known for his skills both as a judge on cooking shows and as an educator, Chef Ron Ben-Israel will work with budding young chefs who will have the unique opportunity to assemble their own mini tower cakes under his guidance. Chef Mark Strausman will then take to the stage armed with a basket of ingredients highlighting the essence of Caymanian and Jewish/Italian cuisine, for a comfort food cook-off with a a local chef. 

Taste ticketholders will also experience a cooking demo, focusing on the richness of Cayman farming, produce, and flavours with goods grown right here at Beacon Farms. 

Curator of the main stage events, local chef Maureen Cubbon, commented, “Taste of Cayman is an amazing event where we can both showcase amazing local flavours and welcome guest chefs from across the globe, to inject international flavour into the island. We are an island of food lovers which is what makes Taste of Cayman so popular each year. In 2024 we welcome two world-class international chefs who will cook alongside local talent and nurture our budding young chefs, all whilst using local produce. It’s an evening that simply cannot be missed.”

The chefs will also participate in a Taste of Cayman Sunday Brunch on Sunday 14 April at Saltwater Grill, where they will provide guests with a unique and interactive culinary journey of their design, working alongside the Saltwater Grill chefs to create signature dishes. Tickets for this event go on sale on Monday 8 April and will cost $90 CI per head plus gratuities. Spaces are limited so people are encouraged to book early, directly with Saltwater Grill on +1 345-640-0010.

Taste of Cayman is presented by Dart will be held at the Festival Green in Camana Bay on Friday and Saturday, 12-13 April. Visit for ticket details and to purchase.


2 More images of Chef Ron Ben-Israel:

About Taste of Cayman

Taste of Cayman Food & Drink Festival is an annual initiative of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) which promotes the culinary excellence of the Cayman Islands food and drink sector. In 2024, Cayman’s largest and longest running food and drink festival celebrates 36 years since it first began with a small number of restaurants from the Cayman Islands Restaurant Association meeting in a field to compete in a Chili Cook-off. Today, the event has grown to attract thousands of festival goers to celebrate and experience the food and drink scene in the culinary capital of the Caribbean, and enjoy the music and party atmosphere that it has become known for.

© Taste of Cayman, 2024. ‘Taste of Cayman’ is a registered trademark wholly owned and operated by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA).

About CITA

Cayman Islands Tourism Association is a non-profit association which represents its membership of just over 250 tourism related private businesses in the Cayman Islands. The various sectors within the Tourism Association include: Hotels, Condo/Villas, Watersports, Restaurants, Transportation, Attractions, and Cruise and allied (all other businesses associated with our tourism product).

It was formed in March 2001 through an amalgamation of the Cayman Tourism Alliance and the Cayman Islands Hotel and Condominium Association. The association is wholly funded by membership subscriptions and fundraising. CITA actively promotes the continuing improvement and development of Cayman’s tourism Industry through the exchange of information, government relations, training and education, marketing, and events.


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