Sunday, January 20, 2013

On the road again: Cayman Cookout, day 4

Today's first event began at the sane hour of noon, so I was able to sleep late--a blissful treat--work, and still arrive on time.

This was the view from my balcony as I headed out.

 As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

The champagne and cook-off brunch lasted over two and a half hours, during which time the audience grazed from around twenty different food stations.  Made-to-order omelets, cheeses of many sorts, caviar and fresh-made blinis, custom-grilled mini steaks, a huge raw bar, a long table of pastries--whatever you might want, a local chef and his team would serve it to you.  Meanwhile, on stage two local chef teams, a lead and a sous chef, competed to produce the best locally sourced dish for the panel of four judges: Ritz-Carlton VP of corporate culinary, Rainer Zinngrebe and the three amigo celebrity chefs, Ripert, Bourdain, and Andrés.  Spike Mendelsohn acted as the emcee.  The food was tasty, the show fun, and all in all it was a pleasant time.

Immediately after it ended, a small artisan market opened around the hotel's second, smaller pool.  I browsed it but bought nothing.

I spent the next few hours of free time mostly working, with a little reading and some ocean-gazing thrown in when I couldn't stand to work any longer.

As evening washed slowly over the island, this was the view from my balcony.

Evening brought the last Cayman Cookout event, the Gala Dinner. We filled Blue by Eric Ripert and then enjoyed a long dinner in which the guest celebrity chefs each prepared a course.  (Bourdain was the sole exception; he sat at the table with the chef's spouses.)  So, we enjoyed food from Ripert, Andrés, Bartolotta, Humm, Kinch, MacKay, Mendelsohn, and Yard.

Sorry the menu is tough to read; this was the best shot I could get given the available light.  The meal itself was excellent, a genuine treat and a fine ending to the 2013 Cayman Cookout.

Tomorrow, I will fly home in the late afternoon.  With luck, I'll get in a final dip in the ocean before I leave.

I wish I could afford the time (and cost, which is not inconsiderable) to come here every year.  It is a lovely retreat from winter.  

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