Published on March 12th, 2013 | by Charu Suri7
In The Cayman Islands, A Culinary Revolution
“If you’re in love with life, then you’ve found yourself” goes the song Caymankind, which is a testament to the ideology and the mindset behind the three Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
On December 2, 2010, twelve of Cayman Islands finest singers and musicians came together to record a song about the island: the song is about the approach to life, and a testament to the spirit of the island. When you hear its steady, soft beat and the lyrics, you’ll be hard pressed not to appreciate the island lifestyle, no matter how Westernized it seems or appears these days. It is wonderful to know how much the people want to preserve the spirit of the island.
The Cayman Islands are set in the deepest part of the Caribbean
Cayman (pronounced Cay-MAN) is a group of three islands nestled in the deepest part of the Caribbean. The islands are British territory and are typically associated with offshoring. Recently, I was introduced to the joie de vivre, the musicality and the stellar cuisine of The Cayman Islands. Located just an hour from Miami, and with a new non-flight service to Grand Cayman from Jet Blue, the Cayman Islands offer you the standard fare of snorkeling, surfing and sunshine. Surprisingly more American than English, the islands have a local spirit and mindset is unmistakable. Visitors flock to this part of the world not only for its vast, often majestic coastline, but also for the fresh food and family-friendly lifestyle.
The salad with goat cheese, red spinach and organic beets, by Chef Niven Patel from Brasserie Cayman
Dessert, featuring a Jonogol apple and almond strudel, topped with a coconut ice cream. Both images, courtesy of Snooth Media
Brasserie Cayman: the Grand Cayman’s “Secret (Dining) Pleasure”
Cayman Islands is currently going through a culinary revolution, and for some, a plane trip to nosh on the food is in order. Recently, I attended the Cayman Culinary event with Snooth and Chef Niven Patel of Brasserie Cayman, who borrowed The Kitchen on East 44th Street to demonstrate how palatable island cuisine can be. Brasserie Cayman is one of those artisan gems, situated away from the dense main strip of beach, and a place that the local’s call “the island’s secret pleasure.” Right from the drink to the dessert, the courses did not disappoint. From the Seven Mile Mule (fashioned with the island’s Seven Fathom’s Premium Rum, ginger and an orange slice) to the vegetarian-friendly canapes with crispy chickpeas appetizer and a delicious farmer’s salad fashioned with creamy goat cheese, red spinach, Cayman citrus vinaigrette and organic beets, every leaf, fruit, and seasoning was fresh and crisp. The restaurant’s creator, Dean Max, has fashioned a restaurant dedicated to the pursuit of fine food, including seafood. The Brasserie Market also offers fine food to the Cayman business clientele. Happy hour at the Wicket Bar occurs every day at 5 pm.
The Cayman Islands are studded with several options to dine: there are over 150 restaurants with everything from the quick and easy beach shack to gourmet, upscale dining locals, with talents from the likes of Eric Ripert, Cindy Hudson and Chef Niven. Every January, the Cayman Islands celebrate their love for all things edible in the great Cayman Cookout.
Additional Activities for the Naturalist
A trip to Grand Cayman is not simply about lounging on ivory-pink beaches and taking in the island’s rhythms (although we have to agree that the signature song, Caymankind, is rather catchy). Grand Cayman is home to several options, including visiting quaint, colonial Bodden Town, and a visit to the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park will slake your thirst for seeing Cayman’s local flora and the famous Cayman Blue Iguana. When you’re there, stroll through the Heritage Garden and take in a spot of tea, just the way the British do.
If you’re a romantic at heart, the Catamaran Dinner Cruise (a staple of all Caribbean islands) will give you more than just a spectacular sunset: it’s an ideal way to take in the island’s music and rhythms. The Grand Cayman Stingray Sandbar and Reef is a sandbar replete with stingrays, and best viewed from a catamaran.