Did you know that Cayman Cookout is officially back in January 2023?  

It is one of the most exclusive culinary festivals across the globe and features some of the world’s best chefs, mixologists and sommeliers.  The 14th annual Cayman Cookout wouldn’t be possible without the organisation of hosts Chef Eric Ripert and the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman.  This time they are bringing a few of your favourite chefs including Jose Andres, Emeril Lagasse and Dominique Crenn, plus a few new, yet familiar faces from the Top Chef brand, including head judge Tom Colicchio, season 10 winner Kristen Kish and finalists Adrienne Cheatham and Jennifer Carroll.

I’ve attended Cayman Cookout consistently since 2017, so I’m using my knowledge to help you navigate the overwhelming number of events that occur over this four-day epicurean weekend.  Whether you are a chef groupie, a foodie, a party-goer or simply want to learn from the best, there’s an event for you! 

Below is a quick guide to help you understand each event, but if you would like more detail feel free to view my 2020 blog A Local’s Guide To Cayman Cookout for more information.

Events for the Chef Groupies & Foodies

If you are a chef groupie then you’ll have to choose between the culinary demonstrations, a plated meal or a large-scale signature event.  Events listed as “culinary demo” are a chance to watch your favourite chef in action in an intimate setting.  Not only will you get to try the dish that they’re making plus a cocktail pairing of their choice, but you can ask them questions during or after the showcase.  

A level up from this is to attend a “lunch” or “dinner” which will cost a bit more.  You may not get to interact with your favourite chef as much as you would with the culinary demo (because they’re busy cooking your food in the back), but you’ll enjoy a multi-course meal along with specialty wine pairings to mimic an experience in their restaurants back home. 

Lastly, there’s the “signature events” that are popular because they have multiple celebrity chefs in attendance, whether it be to socialise or to work their food station.   You can meet a lot of your favourites in one location, capture a photo with them and, of course, try their dish.  The most well-known signature events are the Barefoot BBQ, an evening event with tons of food and drink stations on Seven Mile Beach, and The Beach Bash which includes a catamaran sail to Stingray City along with a beachside lunch.  If you don’t mind skipping food for an afternoon of competition, then I always recommend Ripert and Pétanque.  There’s free-flowing Domaine Ott rosé and you get to watch all of the visiting chefs and beverage experts compete against one another in an entertaining game of Pétanque. 

Photo courtesy of Island Epicurean.

Events for the Wine Connoisseurs & Cocktail Lovers

If you consider yourself an amateur sommelier or master of mixology, then here’s a few events to hone in on.  The events listed as a “beverage tasting” will focus on the featured product in detail to provide you more background, tasting notes and answering any burning questions you may have.  What’s even more exciting with some of these events is how interactive they can truly get.  Bourbon and Beaches with World Class Mixologist Charles Joly will provide each guest with their own cocktail station, the Moet and Chandon Atelier Experience teaches you how to saber a bottle and create a champagne glass pyramid, and you can be transported to the West Coast with winemaker Mark Gagnon in his Journey Through Napa.

If you’re looking for a less educational, but still a booze-centric event, you should consider Rum and Robustoand Sommelier Standoff.  Rum and Robusto is a favourite among residents because it has multiple rum-based cocktail stations around the pool, elevated street food and freshly rolled cigars.  A new event that is taking the place of the Wine Fair is the popular local event, Sommelier Standoff.  This is typically hosted by Jacques Scott at Agua restaurant, but the Cayman Cookout version will place local talent with some of the world’s best sommeliers in teams of two.  The teams must pair a wine of their choice with a multi-course dinner, then diners will blindly taste and vote for their favourite pairing during each course.  There is always enlightening debates and great conversations on your table about why you voted a certain way. 

To learn about all of the Cayman Cookout 2023 events head to their website.   Tickets officially go on sale the 1st October 2022. Don’t hesitate as I can guarantee that some will sell out almost immediately!

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