Sunday, January 14, 2018

A windy last Cayman Cookout day

I absolutely love storms on islands.  The waves and the wind and even the rain fill me with happiness.  So, when I saw the rough chop and heard the breakers and the wind today, I was very pleased.

Click an image to see a larger version.

Others on the island seem less happy, but for me, particularly on a day when events occupy most of my time, this weather is grand.

The big daytime event was the Bon Vivant Amateur Chef Competition and brunch.

As the amateur chefs on stage compete in a TV-style cooking competition, the judges (chefs Emeril, Irvine, Andres, Boulud, and Ripert) watch them work and eventually eat their creations.  Meanwhile, the huge crowd enjoys brunch from something on the order of two dozen stations scattered down a reception area and porch outside the ballroom.  I focused on not over-eating and on sampling only things I knew (from the reports of others or knowledge of the food and the chefs) to be good.  The approach worked well:  I enjoyed every dish and left full but not overly stuffed.

The next event, Rum and Robusto, is basically a drink-and-smoke-cigars gathering around a pool. I usually make only a quick pass through it, but today I ended up in a few interesting conversations and also just enjoyed the breezy weather--which served to keep the smoke away from me.

This guy had the best job of the event.

A nice addition was a pair of stations at which people could paint.

I liked more of the artwork than I would have expected.

All in all, the attendees seemed to have a good time,

and I enjoyed my brief visit to it.

The traditional final Cayman Cookout event is a dinner at Blue for which each major guest chef prepares a course.  This year, the tenth, brought a gala dinner with, naturally, ten courses.  The table settings were lovely,

and the menu promised amazing treats.

The chefs delivered on the menu's promises.  I enjoyed every single course, but the most amazing was the last, the dessert. 

By description and first glance, it was an apple with a side sauce.  After you pushed into it with your fork, though, it was so much more.

Sweet, complex, and entirely lovely, this dish was a complete success. 

Hats off to all the chefs, but particularly to Chef Thomas Raquel, the pastry chef of Blue, for this wonderful finale.

And so the Cayman Cookout event draws to a close.  I am fortunate enough to be staying here and enjoying this wonderful place until Friday, but I have to admit that I am both done with huge meals for a bit and also already looking forward to next year's Cayman Cookout.

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