UPDATE: For the full scoop on the weekend’s events, please read my dispatches from the Cayman Islands for editor Lesley Abravanel on Eater Miami. See the last paragraph of this post for links to these reports.
Piled tight in his rented cherry red Wrangler, chef Michael Schwartz rolled out into the windy island night carting chef de cuisine Thomas Tennant, Sommelier Eric Larkee, and I down West Bay road to the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. Things got off to a sparkly, salty start on Thursday night at the Caribbean’s hottest food festival act, the annual Cayman Cookout hosted by Eric Ripert and the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. Toasting with Lanson bubbly, sponsors and talent gathered on the terrace of Blue by Eric Ripert to commence this indulgent weekend of food and wine under the sun with Belgian endive-cradled tuna tartare canapes and other savory passed bites. Jose Andres, Charlie Trotter, Susur Lee, Rachel Allen, Jennifer Carroll, and Anthony Bourdain joined Schwartz and the other familiar local faces of Cindy Hutson and Dean Max to suit up in their Cookout-commissioned whites.