Want the perfect Caribbean fried fish served with pickled vegetables screaming hot from Scotch Bonnet spice? Head to Capt Herman’s at East End.
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A melting pot of culinary talent from around the globe, the Cayman Islands is a fascination for food lovers the world over. It’s not just because we do great Caribbean food, an obvious draw for anyone who comes to this part of the world, it’s because we do all types of food brilliantly well.
The Cayman Islands is made up of over 100 nationalities, all of whom live and work together in harmony, all of us delighted that we are fortunate enough to live in this idyllic location. This general state of happiness is reflected in our culinary offerings that originate from our varied mixed heritage.
Want the perfect Caribbean fried fish served with pickled vegetables screaming hot from Scotch Bonnet spice? Head to Capt Herman’s at East End.
Looking for Michelin-starred prowess with an island touch? Book a table at Blue by Eric Ripert. It will be the most sublime culinary experience of your time in the Cayman Islands, where the freshest ingredients meet the highest expertise all delivered to you with elegance and style.
Seeking a spicy Asian fusion blend from the spice master himself? Eat at Chef Shetty’s Blue Cilantro. His exquisite scallops are a masterpiece. Try the tasting menus and go on an unmatched Asian journey all in one night.
At Cayman Cookout we get the chance to showcase a sample of these culinary offerings to a global audience at one of the most beautiful resorts in Cayman, at The Ritz-Carlton. Cold, potent, salt-rimmed margaritas on the lawn care of Casa 43, saffron-infused paella on the beach care of Jose Andres, juicy pink lamb on the barbecue care of Eric Ripert and colourful sweet macarons for dessert care of Florian Bellanger.
If you are a foodie like me, life doesn’t get any better than this!
Kicking off wine dinner season in true style, Agua Restaurant is bringing a feast to the table on Tuesday 8th November with its Montes winedinner, in conjunction with Jacques Scott. The winery's very own wine expert Gustavo Hormann will be in attendance, to let everyone know about the delicious range they produce.
Montes wine lovers (such as Jacques Scott's Sergio Serrano, left) will have the chance to sample its Sauvignon Blanc, Alpha Chardonnay, Alpha Cabernet and Folly Syrah along with a four course meal for just CI$65 per person. Contact Agua at 949 2482 or email@example.com for reservations.
Agua, run by Cristiano and Walter (right), has devised a menu which sounds sure to please with a good example of what the restaurant does best. A shrimp ceviche Chilean-style appetiser will get everyone's palate in the mood, followed by poached Corvina (not a fish I've eaten as yet) served with a saffron zabaione. A second course moves onto meat with duck confit filled Empanadas served with a cranberry sauce.
Mains is an Entraña chimichurri (Chilean style steak) which is served with a with chimichurry sauce and potato. Dessert is a feast for cheese lovers, a cheese plate served with confitures.
If you want to really push the boat out on the very next evening, Wednesday 9th November, Ristorante Pappagallo and Blackbeards are joining forces to bring their annual Truffle Dinner which will be featuring the wines of Batasiolo. This is going to be a sumptuous affair with no less than 8 courses at a cost of CI$165 per person.
Diners will enjoy Batasiolo Metodo Classico, Brut Millesime 2005 as a bubbly start, followed by a glass of Batasiolo Roero Arneis DOCG 2009. Other classics include Batasiolo Barolo Cerequio 2005 and the mighty Batasiolo Barolo Bricollina 2004.
The winery's Fiorenzo Dogliani will be there to guide diners through his amazing wines, no doubt alongside Blackbeards' effervescent Jodie Petts (left), who always makes sure everyone has a good time. Call 949 1119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
As you would expect, talented Pappagallo Chef Steve Wagner (right)will be pulling out all the stops for this dinner, bringing diners fine feasting, which includes a lobster & truffle spring roll served with crispy chips that will be served with potato & white truffle foam as well as a homemade chestnut tagliatelle, with butternut squash, Porcini mushrooms, rosemary & white truffle.
Dine like royalty with a quail tartlet with caramelised onion, mushroom, poached quail's egg & shaved white truffle, as well as an oxtail terrine with pistachio, blueberries, a grain compote and white truffle. After that follows a vanilla hazelnut cake, with a white chocolate filling with white truffle honey ice cream and apricot caramel. And after all that you might want a lie down.
Cayman's Chef of the Year was crowned at the end of a fabulous evening of culinary entertainment at The Ritz-Carlton last week, with Mise en Place sous chef Gardine Euter (left) taking the top spot, beating a whole host of top male chefs in the process. Good for you, Gardine!
The gala fundraiser event, called Out of the Kitchen, brought over 20 of Cayman's top chefs out of the kitchen and into the ballroom, ably supported by their sous chefs, cooking for guests right at the table, and making rock stars out of the chefs in the process. What a treat for us diners!
Vicki Wheaton and Cynthia Hew made sure the commentary flowed so we could appreciate the antics at each and every table - broadcast to everyone on huge screens.
We chose to sit on Casa Havana's (the Westin's fine dining restaurant) table and watched as Executive Chef Yves Lafond and his sous chef (see below) got stuck right into making us a fresh and crisp Casear salad, a delicious selection of tapas straight for the restaurant's menu and an incredible seabass atop a wonderful fragrant tomatoey clear broth.
Some of Cayman's best-loved chefs created some show-stopping dishes, including The Brasserie's Chef Brad (left, flexing his mussels), Calypso Grill's Chef George (centre below), last year's Chef of the Year Chef Thrushara from Grand Old House (below right), and the Culinary Society's dynamic duo (not sure which one is Batman and which one is Robin...) Chefs Shetty and Keith (below left).
At the end of the evening a whole raft of prizes were given out to Cayman's talented culinary experts, but it was the Chef of the Year that everyone was waiting for. A roar of delight came from the Mise en Place team (right) as Gardine's names was announced. Gardine herself was very humble about her win and said she never expected it. She said she was absolutely delighted to win.
Growing up in her native Jamaica, Gardine said she was five years old when she decided she wanted to be a chef, after cooking her first meal - swordfish and rice.
Gardine was required to create some show stopping dishes for the judges, and then had to take part in a live cook off which included a mystery basket of ingredients, a la 'Chopped!'
"I was nervous cooking in front of a live audience, but as soon as I picked up my knife I got into the rhythm!" she said.
As the evening drew to a close, Ritz-Carlton pastry chefs out-did themselves with a show stopping endless dessert buffet, a sweet end to a fab night.
Jacques Scott currently has a great offer on their Santa Margherita Prosecco D.O.C.G - buy two bottles at just CI$18.95 each and get five dollars off the regular price per bottle!
With each delicate mouthful enjoy long-lasting, concentrated bubbles, fresh aromas of peaches and apples and floral flavours that give way to a mixture of lychee and lemon citrus. Trust me on this, it's all true!
To celebrate this fab offer, Lee Royle (left) from Jacques Scott shares his favourite Bellini recipe with Cayman Foodie, for which of course you need a delicate and dry Prosecco such as the Santa Margherita! See Cayman Foodie's Recipes section for this delicious party cocktail. Enjoy.
Having heard good things about Karma, the ‘pan-Asian’ restaurant nestled in the corner of the West Shore Centre (the pink strip mall on Seven Mile Beach), we thought it was time to investigate for ourselves.
In the 17 and a bit years we have lived in Cayman the location in question has gone through more transitions than Dr Who, the most memorable and my most favourite being the lively La Bodega restaurant and bar, back in the day. Karma, then, would have a lot to live up to, to beat those happy memories of salsa dancing by melted candle light (the food was pretty good as well, as I remember).
A quiet early Saturday evening saw us seated in an ideal spot from which to peruse the restaurant: a cosy yet contemporary dining area lies directly adjacent to a raised prep area in which chefs do their sushi thing in full view for all to see. Very a la mode. The wide bar area on the other side is encircled by high tables for casual dining and intimate chatting. Once we were seated, the specials board hinted at the delights that awaited us.
As a family we have always loved Cayman's brilliant Asian restaurant, Bamboo (the kids are adventurous eaters), not necessarily for the sushi (which is great) but for its hot plates to share. Imagine our delight, then, as we opened the menus to find the same style of menu, but with a whole new range of dishes for us to sample. Ah, but would it live up to Bamboo’s standards, which were truly hard-to-beat (and will hopefully be even better when the restaurant re-opens some time soon).
We began munching on Karma’s homemade potato chips with a creamy dip and were requesting another plate even before we’d finished the first, a promising sign.
Bypassing the sushi, Thai curries and Phad Thai offerings, we dived headlong into the 'Share' menu, choosing beef tataki, shrimp tempura, spring rolls, pork belly, braised ribs and chicken fried rice.
The beef tataki (above left) was beautifully presented and tender as anything, the spring rolls (middle) lovely with their dip, which was hot enough for the kids but we could have done with a bit more kick. A favourite was the shrimp tempura dish (above right), nice fat shrimps treated to just a light batter coating and stuck on skewers in a tempting pile. The pork belly (right) was another winner, sticky soft and melting, with a satisfyingly crunchy skin, though we couldn’t figure out where the bright green lime jelly fit into the equation, served alongside the meat. On the other hand, the spicy cashew nuts also served were a fitting spicy, crunchy counterfoil to the softness of the meat.
Even though we were all pretty full by this point, of course we could not resist the nitrogen ice cream as a dessert, which we’d seen performed at another table a little earlier in the evening.
Yes, it seems a bit gimmicky but it really is fun to watch as the gases from the nitrogen almost mysteriously convert a rich chocolate liquid into a glassful of ice cream with just the beating of a wooden stick. Was it just all showmanship or was it worth the show?
I’d say it was worth it – the ice cream had an interesting quality – very rich and decadent, frozen solid inside but quickly melting back to its liquid state after the four of us had begun attacking it with our spoons.
This one deserves to stay around for a bit!
If the stress of getting back into the old routine is getting to you, (you know, early mornings, homework, ferrying kids around to their after school tennis/squash/hockey clubs, etc.), you might want to take time out of an evening to unwind with a nice glass of something special.
If you head over to Premier Wines and Spirits this week you'll find they are making this easy for you, with their latest sale on wines, offering 20% off all wines and spirits in stock all week.
Premier owner Carrie Stein (left) says their latest wine sale creates the perfect opportunity to stock up on some great wines that might previously have been a bit out of your price range, as well as giving you the chance to stock up on all your usual faves. And she really has some amazing bargains, including her popular Cono Sur range's Sauvignon Blanc which is just $8.51 per bottle in the sale ($102.14 per case of 12).
Carrie also waxes lyrical about her new stock from Argentina: big, bold Malbecs from Mendel, as well as new wines from Tommasi, including a great Ripasso wine (a ‘Baby Amarone’) that is now priced at a very reasonable $23.82. Then there is the Poggio al Tufo Cabernet Sauvignon from Maremma, Tuscany, which recently received 91 points from Wine Spectator and is now only $17.73 per bottle.
Another highly rated wine on her books is the Cooper’s Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc which received a healthy 90 points from Wine Spectator for the 2009 vintage, while the 2008 received 91 points. Carrie says she has both vintages in stock, priced at just $15.11 per bottle.
For my part, I'll be heading over to her warehouse for the Cono Sur range for sure and in particular their jammy Merlot (priced at just over $11 in the sale) as well as a bottle or two of my favourite rich and delicious Renacer Enamore from Argentina, coming in at just under $20 in the sale. Then there's Atlantico Rum, the most mellow and delicious aged rum you will ever taste from the Dominican Republic, normally at a fairly hefty $53.69, now down to around $43. Premier are located on Lincoln Drive, opposite Progressive Distributors (go down Sparky Drive, right on Lincoln, Progressive will be on your left and they are the last warehouse on the right, Unit 7. It’s a green and tan coloured building.)
Alternatively, contact Carrie at email@example.com and copy your email to Anna (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the lovely ladies will make sure you receive your delivery this week. Wines can be delivered free of charge during office hours, provided you order a minimum of 12 bottles.
Summer’s finally over and families across Cayman are settling back to the old routine of early mornings, packed lunches and school runs. I love this time of year for all its horrible humidity and heavy downpours; it’s when the island wakes up from its summer slumber and all manner of exciting and tempting events suddenly start appearing in your inbox.
One such interesting invite was from Gawk & Leer, that fab kitchenware store next door to everyone’s favourite bakery, Icoa, which is launching cooking classes for kids next month with adult cookery classes soon to follow. With the lack of home economics taught in schools (how can this be allowed? Everyone ought to be taught how to cook!) this seems like a great idea to me.
The shop is offering two sets of classes for kids, which they hope will introduce youngsters between the ages of five and 10 to the joys of cooking and set them up with some basic cooking skills that should remain with them as they grow.
October’s schedule of four lessons (you buy them in bundles) run on Wednesday afternoons at 5.30pm for an hour and start on 5th October and include kiddie faves such as macaroni and cheese and fun stuff for Halloween. November’s bundle starts on 2nd November and includes chocolate bread pudding (think I might have to slip into this one!) and French bread pizza.
To aid them in their quest, Gawk & Leer are selling 27-piece chef’s kits which parents must buy when they register for the first set of classes, so their little Nigella/Jamie wannabees will be properly equipped with the kid-safe tools they need to attend the class.
Classes are limited to just 12 kids and they also need at least six parents per class, so I’d get in quick if your kid is interested (or maybe if you are interested in getting a bit of help around the kitchen…! ) Classes cost CI$100 per bundle of four and the mandatory chef’s kit costs CI$50.
You can register at email@example.com or call them on 945 1914, but you may as well pop by as you need to pay for classes upon registration, and it’s a handy excuse to peruse the shop anyhow. Gawk & Leer say adult classes are just around the corner (G&L owner Shruty and Chef V are in the photo above at one such adult class), so watch this space for more info.
Again you will have to cut me some slack here, readers, as I wax lyrical not about food in Cayman but elsewhere, this time a small slice of foodie heaven in Fort Lauderdale, Miami. Familiar to a handful of Cayman locals who are privileged to be “in-the-know” already (you always see someone you know there), the strip of restaurants and bars that adjoin the Galleria Mall just across from the DoubleTree Gallery One Hotel Suites on East Sunrise Boulevard are a beacon for food and wine lovers.
Although Cayman doesn’t have any direct flights to Fort Lauderdale any more, Miami airport is just about half an hour’s drive away (depending on the traffic), so this is a handy location for a weekend of fun (if you can bear travelling through the airport, that is).
The DoubleTree is a fab hotel with gorgeous plump pillow-filled beds, ocean views and a welcoming warm cookie which always makes me happy. The staff are also incredibly friendly and seem to genuinely enjoy their work. The restaurants are just a stone’s throw away and largely consist of upmarket chain-style establishments, namely PF Chang’s (Chinese), The Capital Grille (steak), Season’s 52 (seasonal), Truluck’s (steak and seafood) and The Blue Martini Lounge (I’ll let you guess…).
The biggest draw for us is the fabulous Season’s 52, so-called for its ever-changing seasonal menu that makes use of what’s fresh and fabulous right now (organic tomatoes are currently IN, see middle above), with each course not exceeding 475 calories. It also has an extensive wine-by-the-glass menu which allows you to mix and match your courses at your leisure.
The restaurant's flat bread appetisers are legendary (we always choose one to share, see above left). Right now on the menu some of the best choices include a fabulous flat bread appetiser full of succulent smoked salmon, red onion and sour cream dressing, along with a zingy lemony trout for mains served with roasted potatoes and veg, and a blueberry cheesecake mini (above right), a New York-style cheesecake piled high with juicy, sweet and ripe blueberries.
A word on desserts – in keeping with the 475 rule, each dessert is served up in its individual little shot glass, with your server bringing you the entire range from which to choose. As it was just the two of us we were restrained enough to only choose the cheesecake and a creamy, citrusy, gingery key lime pie. But it has been known for me to choose the lot (when eating with a crowd, of course!!)
PF Chang’s is another favourite (there are 200 locations around the world, so it’s a pretty popular chain), this time serving up really excellent Chinese food that is so sadly missing in Cayman. A word to the wise on the Northern style spare ribs though, which are wok braised and served with five-spice salt – they are totally addictive. Once you have succumbed once, you will find yourself making excuses to travel to Fort Lauderdale at regular intervals to get your fix. You cannot say you haven't been warned.
If you are in the mood for some serious meat, then either Truluck's or the Capital Grille is definitely the place to go. This time we chose the latter, and to our joy found that they were currently promoting a wine tasting special, called The Generous Pour. This consisted of a selection of nine wines from which you could either choose a couple of full glasses or tastings of them all, for US$25 per person (with dinner). Included was a lovely Marquis de la Tour Cremant de Loire Brut which tickled the tastebuds nicely, La Cana Albarino (our very favourite grape right now - crisp, zesty and elegant) and a full bodied Chalk Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon which was full of juicy black fruit. This special runs until 4th September, so you still have time!
The steak wasn't half bad either - I went for the 12oz dry aged sirloin (US$41) which was cooked exactly how I liked (medium rare) with plenty left over for a doggy bag. You could also choose from even bigger cuts, namely a 22oz bone-in rib eye or a hefty 24oz dry aged Porterhouse (which would no doubt feed the family for a while afterwards as well.)
And so on to the Blue Martini Lounge, a popular pre, during (good steak sarnies) and after-dinner hang out which serves up a regular supply of live music along with the continuous martinis. Having visited this bar on many an occasion over the years we were a little disappointed this time, it has to be said. Perhaps it was the recession biting in, but the martinis were distinctly watery and even though they serve you the entire shaker along with your glass, you could only squeeze just one drink out when usually there was at least enough for two. It is still a fab location to people watch and soak up the atmosphere and one of our favourite Fort Lauderdale hot spots.
Here’s to our next visit. Hope to see you there!
Chef Ercole explains to Cayman Foodie why his upbringing in Italy's Piedmont district has been such a huge influence on his culinary style at his restaurant La Dolce Vita. Read more in our Chefs section.
Check out La Dolce Vita Chef Ercole Musso's fab recipe for tortellini in Cayman Foodie's Recipes section.
Look out for a one-to-one interview with the chef very soon!
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A self confessed foodaholic, Lindsey Turnbull follows Cayman's culinary scene with relish.