Those attending this year's Cayman Cookout at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman might experience a sense of nostalgia.
This year's event, which takes place 15-17 January, will be more reminiscent of the first years of the event when it was smaller, took place over just three days and included more local chefs. Now in its 13th year, the Cayman Cookout typically attracts some of the world's most acclaimed names in the culinary and beverage industries. Although the COVID-19 travel restrictions made it impracticable to bring in talent from overseas this year, the decision was made that the show must go on.
"Cayman Cookout is a signature event on our island and despite our current situation, we want to keep this beloved tradition alive, while adapting to the circumstances," said Marc Langevin, general manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. "So this year's Cayman Cookout will return to its roots and feature our local talent. We will also host virtual events for our loyal international guests who were looking forward to attending."
The innovative approach will present an event line-up focused mainly on resident chefs and the culinary delights of the Cayman Islands, said Frederic Morineau, executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
"In addition to 10 chefs from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, more than 20 local chefs from some of best restaurants and catering companies on the island will participate," he said. "We are incredibly proud to showcase the immense talent and expertise in the local community."
Despite its smaller size and shorter duration, three of the most popular signature Cayman Cookout events will still happen: the Barefoot BBQ with 11 different food stations on Friday evening, 15 January on The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman beach; a special Saturday edition of Rum and Robusto by the Harbour Club Pool on 16 January; and the Bon Vivant Champagne brunch in the ballroom on 17 January.
Another highlight event occurs on Saturday evening — a five-course truffle dinner in Blue by Eric Ripert presented by Moët & Chandon Champagne.
For the full event line-up or to buy tickets, visit www.caymancookout.com/event-line-up-2021/.
Although 2020 was a challenging year for everyone in the Cayman Islands, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hospitality industry particularly hard when the borders closed last March — and have yet to reopen for regular tourists.
Even so, Langevin said The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is appreciative of the support it received from the local community in the form of staycations and visitations to its restaurants since the COVID-19 crisis began.
"We recognise the current state of our tourism industry and now more than ever, we want to make sure we support our local community in every way possible," he said. "In addition to hosting a roster of all Cayman Islands-based chefs, this year the Cayman Cookout will benefit the Cayman Food Bank, the first and only centralised food bank on Grand Cayman."
This article appears in print in the January 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times.