The Cayman Islands’ Flashy Culinary Scene Draws an Impressive Crowd of Celebrity Chefs

From by Shea Peters
The Cayman Islands’ Flashy Culinary Scene Draws an Impressive Crowd of Celebrity Chefs

Known as the hangout for the rich and famous, the Cayman Islands also have become the go-to culinary destination of the Caribbean. With celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, and Tom Colicchio hosting wintery gastronomic events every January, the Caymans are showing the world they have more to offer than just pretty beaches.

cayman islandsPhoto Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

To the delight of snowbirds escaping the coldest months of year and luxury destination hunters, this trio of islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac), have a culinary scene on the rise. Chefs are taking their cues from the island’s long-term commitment to food and sustainability. Ripert hosts a high-end, expensive and wildly popular beachside event held at the Ritz-Carlton on Seven Mile Beach, called Cayman Cookout, which consistently sells out. The event is meant to be centered around a 28-year-old traditional, island-wide food and wine festival dubbed the Taste of Cayman.

taste of caymanPhoto Credit: Taste of Cayman

During the TOC festival, visitors and locals mingle, tasting traditional Cayman treats and rum at local vendors, while enjoying live cookoffs between some of world’s greatest chefs. Held at Camana Bay, nearly 40 local restaurants participate in mixology, wine tastings and the famous Cassava Cake aka “heavy cake” competition. Let’s not forget the music, we’re talking the Caribbean after all! This year’s Taste of Cayman event is being held on January 23rd and is expected to attract around 5,000 visitors.

While you’re eating your way across the islands, make sure to stop and enjoy other activities, because you can’t go to the Caymans without getting in the water. The islands are also one of the top diving and sea life locations in the world. Stingray City is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, in which visitors can wade alongside dozens of stingrays that naturally congregate near the shore. They feed on the remnants of what fishermen leave behind on their day trips to provide the restaurants with local fish, therefore providing a friendly way to interact with these beautiful and naturally-shy animals.

Le Soleil d'OrPhoto Credit: Le Soleil d'Or

On Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the lesser populated islands, you can find unforgettable diving and luxury water views. The villas on these islands are also going to be smaller brands, more exclusive and pricier. Properties such as Le Soleil d’Or and Southern Cross Club, give guests the feel of home but the luxury of a five-star resort. The food options are all local, sustainable, and A+ as you get further off the beaten path in the Caymans.

cayman islandsPhoto Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

For spa-addicts like myself, the Grand Cayman’s Silver Rain Spa located at the Ritz-Carlton and the Hibiscus Spa at the Westin Seven Mile Beach are considered some of the best in the Caribbean. Even if you’re not staying at these properties, they may be worth a trip over just to check out and get pampered for the day.

This British territory may be the best kept secret of the Caribbean, but with the growing food scene, tons of luxury properties, beautiful beaches, and being less than 500 miles from Miami...the Cayman Islands are about to have their moment in the sun.