Top chefs attend First Inaugural Cayman Cookout

by Wo
Dec 17, 2009 at 12:55 a.m. ET

The Cayman Cookout offers an incomparable roster of world famous chefs, sommeliers and spirits blenders presenting tastings, demonstrations, tours and dinners celebrating the barefoot bliss that is the Cayman Islands.

A little over two years ago, Eric Ripert was tapped to host a new culinary festival anchored at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman. An inspired pairing, as Ripert has lent his name and talent to the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, in the form of two restaurants: Blue and Periwinkle. Blue received the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award, the only restaurant in the Caribbean to receive this rating. Both restaurants make creative use of local food products -- particularly lobster and red snapper, which are strictly sourced from the surrounding waters -- as well as sea salt harvested by evaporation.

 

Ripert is a French chef based in Manhattan. In 1982 he moved to Paris where he worked for two years at La Tour d'Argent, a famous restaurant more than 400 years old. Ripert next worked at Jamin and was soon promoted to Assistant Chef de Partie. In 1989, Ripert moved to the United States and was hired as a sous chef in the Watergate Hotel's Jean Louis restaurant. In 1994, Ripert became Le Bernardin's executive chef after Gilbert Le Coze died unexpectedly of a heart attack. In the Michelin Guide NYC 2006, Ripert's Le Bernardin was one of four New York City restaurants to be awarded the maximum 3 Michelin stars for excellence in cuisine.

 

Ripert is the chair of City Harvest's Food Council and president of the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation. He has been a guest chef at the French Embassies in Mexico and Venezuela and for the New York City Ballet.

 

With such a luminous career trajectory, Ripert had little trouble recruiting an all-star lineup for his First Annual Cayman Cookout, January 16-19, 2009. 'The festival talent happened very organically. I made a few direct calls to my friends in the industry and that was it. No booking agents or managers involved, so it was a much more civilized process,' he recalls candidly as we sit in the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman lobby bar.

 

The Cayman Cookout offers an incomparable roster of world famous chefs, sommeliers and spirits blenders presenting tastings, demonstrations, tours and dinners celebrating the barefoot bliss that is the Cayman Islands in January. Joining Ripert in the star-studded lineup: the salty Anthony Bourdain, the daring Dean Fearing, the saucy Ingrid Hoffmann, the ingenue Michael Laiskonis, the seasoned Laurent Manrique, the savant Michael Richard and the sensualist Laurent Tourondel. As if that wasn't decadent enough, the festival imported the saavy sommelier talent of Ray Isle, Anthony Giglio and Joshua Wesson.

 

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