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Send clients to the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”June 5, 2015 By: Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
Chances are dining is a big part of clients’ vacations, so it is important for agents to suggest destinations that offer a superior F&B experience.
Over half (51 percent) of surveyed respondents said they travel to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences, according to a World Food Travel Association (WFTA) 2013 study of traveler behavior conducted by the travel market research firm Mandala Research. Almost a third (30 percent) of tourists deliberately choose destinations based on the availability of activities related to local food and drink, whether it’s a beer or wine festival, a farmers market, or a farm to table experience, says the survey.
If clients are seeking gastronomic excitement on their trips when traveling outside of the U.S., then the Cayman Islands is a good choice. The “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean” boasts more than 200 restaurants on Grand Cayman, ranging from seaside grills to celebrity chef-run fine restaurants. The three main islands celebrate food with numerous special events throughout the year. Cayman also takes sustainability seriously, with efforts to tame the local Lionfish population—often found on menus throughout the destination—in order to protect the local flora found in its pristine waters.
While staying on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, visitors can dine on a range of international fare including farm-to-table fresh authentic Cayman dishes, Asian, American, Italian and other cuisines. It’s always an epicurean adventure on Cayman, whether it’s jerk chicken, conch fritters and Stingray beer from a stand on Seven Mile Beach or mouth-watering original creations at restaurants with Cindy Hutson, Dean Max or James Beard Award Winner Michael Schwartz at the helm.
Clients who like hands-on involvement with their food will find a number of cooking classes available at different venues, with many of the hotels hosting cooking classes with the resident chef. Local liquor stores hold wine and spirit tastings throughout the year.
Suggest to clients who are true “foodies” that they plan their vacations around major culinary events. The annual January Cayman Cookout hosted by Eric Ripert features a number of celebrated chefs—with past participants including Anthony Bourdain, José Andrés, Marcus Samuelsson, showing off their best with demonstrations and tastings. Local restaurants are featured during the Taste of Cayman, which takes place in February. More culinary fun comes in the form of chef demonstrations, live music and a special evening of food, culture and tradition.
The Fall brings three major culinary events to the Cayman Islands, including October Restaurant Month. During this 31-day celebration, participating restaurants offer prix-fixe menus for lunch or dinner. The event also features Cocktail Week for additional festivities. Grand Cayman’s sister islands host the Brac Bash & Cook Off in September and the Little Cayman Cook-Off in November for Caribbean cuisine cravings.