Internationally recognized chef and restaurateur José Andrés gets invited to participate in hundreds of events each year, so he has to be selective with his commitments. However, Andrés makes a point of clearing his schedule to participate in the annual Cayman Cookout.
"I get to be part of a fantastic culinary experience and dive in one of the best places in the world," said Andrés, who is also an avid amateur scuba diver.
Hosted by Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of the Michelin Guide three-star restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City, the Cayman Cookout began in 2008 and honors food, wine and the natural beauty of the Cayman Islands. The 2014 festivities will be held Jan. 16 to 19 at The Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman Island.
Over the course of the cookout's extended weekend of activities, participants are able to mingle with top chefs, wine experts and mixologists during a series of tastings, demonstrations, tours and dinners. In addition to Andrés, Ripert's guests includes Anthony Bourdain, Lidia Bastianich, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Daniel Humm, Martin Picard, Michael Schwartz, Jacques Torres, Tony Abou-Ganim and Ray Isle.
Among the varied events will be a paella demonstration with chef Andrés, an alfresco Italian lunch with chef Bastianich, and a burger bash with chef Ripert that includes cocktails by master mixologist Abou-Ganim.
In addition to the official cookout events, visitors can enjoy some of the more than 159 dive sites that Andrés finds so appealing. One of the most popular dive attractions is the Kittiwake, a former submarine rescue vessel that was sank in 20011 along the northern tip of famed Seven Mile Beach. Readers of Scuba Diving have consistently rated the Caymen Islands among the top global diving destinations.
Additional information on visiting the Cayman Islands and attending the Cayman Cookout is available at caymancookout.com.
Travel Note: The Grand Cayman's Owen Roberts International Airport is served by United, US Airways, jetBlue, Delta, American Airlines and Cayman Airways.