The Taste of Cayman Food & Drink festival ramped up several gears in this its 29th year of showcasing Cayman’s red hot culinary scene. The event, which took place at Camana Bay on Saturday, Jan. 28, was bigger and better than ever before, introducing a whole host of new demonstrations, offerings and entertainment alongside the collection of stalls and booths, giving event goers the chance to sample tasty morsels from some of Cayman’s most exciting restaurants and wine outlets.
A heavy cake competition, lionfish demonstration with Brasserie chef Thomas Tennant and a rum challenge were just some of the newly introduced aspects to the programme entertaining the crowds earlier on in the evening, while fireworks and tribute acts for Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Madonna and Lady Gaga kept the entertainment flowing all night long.
The VIP enclosure was a brilliant new addition, with guests greeted by a delicious tasting of charcuterie from The Marriott’s Anchor & Den restaurant, highlighting their Thursday night tapas, which is always a popular draw for diners.
The restaurant’s Erick Guitierrez explained the manner in which you should eat the charcuterie:
“First spread some of the roasted garlic onto the slice of homemade sourdough bread, then smear some roasted tomatoes, lay on the Jamon Iberico that has been curing for 48 months and finish with a sprinkling of salt,” he advised. The result was an incredible taste explosion.
A welcome cocktail and more delicious nibbles followed inside the air-conditioned enclosure and a special “experience” room allowed guests to enjoy wine tastings and more.
At the other end of the culinary spectrum from the charcuterie offering at the VIP lounge, VIVO produced a taste of their vegan favourites, a meatless meatloaf and a coconut ceviche.
“We make meatless meatloaf using lentils and mushrooms, then cover it with a mushroom gravy and sit it on top of mashed potatoes with a tomato chutney and a cashew cream,” VIVO’s Michela Zama explained. “Our coconut ceviche really tastes like fish ceviche because the young coconut is a similar texture.”
The Westin’s executive sous chef Thinesh Madhavan said that the chefs at the Westin’s Beach House were keen to work alongside local growers to promote the local agricultural industry.
“Our kimchi today is made from 75 percent local ingredients, including seasoning peppers, callaloo, napa cabbage and white radish,” he said. “We work hard to support local farmers as we believe it’s really important to promote locally grown produce.”
Georgeanne Rankine cooked alongside Adrian Brown on the George Town fish fry stall. It was probably one of the most popular stalls at Taste of Cayman, having won a fish fry competition last November during the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Gimistory festival.
While not giving away the recipe for her successful fish fry, Georgeanne did give some words of advice for budding cooks:
“Always use the best quality ingredients and make it with love. If you don’t love cooking, don’t bother to go into it.”