Cayman Correspondence: Firsts in the Kitchen, Opening Press Release, and Twitter

We’re officially two weeks away from opening in Grand Cayman!  The Michael’s Genuine island team is doing fantastic work to get us ready. This week is staff orientation and the back of the house is doing some serious kitchen warm-up.  Thomas and Thais are like kids in a candy store; everything’s brand new!

There are lots of new faces to welcome, and people to get to know including new assistant managers Chad Bahadur and Elizabeth Simms, as well as lead hostesses Jennifer Johnston (dinner) and Beth Clarke (lunch.)

Please find our opening press release below and some new behind the scenes photos courtesy of manager Leilani De Leon.  We now also have Twitter accounts for both restaurants, so follow @MGFD_MIA (which I run) and @MGFD_GCM (which Leilani runs) for immediate news, happenings, and photos that are specific to each property.

Michael will be back in Miami quickly on June 8, flying out June 9 in keeping with the 14 day immigration rule.   Then I head down, with a care package of mainland goodies.  See you all on June 10!  Can’t wait!

Oldies but goodies enjoy staff meal (clockwise): Eric Larkee (Miami sommelier,) Robin Fugate (Miami lead server,) Rodrigo Premuda (Miami food runner,) Michael Schwartz, Harry Flagler (longtime MGFD intern attending Columbia in the fall,) and Hedy Goldsmith (executive pastry chef.)

Breaking in the kitchen: mango chutney, preserved meyer lemons, kimchi, seasoning pepper jam (not hot!), and goat curry.

Island staff meal including curried goat, homemade flatbread, roasted squash, mango chutney, rice, fried sweet plantains, and local callaloo -- all by Thomas.

Hedy and Thais are doing dessert tastings all week! Here are Hedy's chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt.


Schwartz Shares First Look at Opening Menu and Finished Restaurant Space

James Beard Award-winning chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz will open the first outpost of his acclaimed Miami restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, on Wednesday, June 16 at the Town of Camana Bay on the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Since 2007, Schwartz has championed a commitment to fresh, simple, pure, and sustainable cuisine, transforming Miami’s Design District into a culinary destination. The new restaurant will showcase Schwartz’s ingredient-focused fare in a warm, neighborhood bistro atmosphere.

The renowned chef’s Miami restaurant has been feted in virtually every major culinary and travel publication, including recognition as one of the top five new restaurants in the country from The New York Times’ Frank Bruni in 2008.  Schwartz is importing all of the elements of the Michael’s Genuine experience — straightforward, delicious cuisine that focuses on fresh, locally-grown ingredients — to Camana Bay, a mixed-use master planned community featuring shops, restaurants, offices, homes, and an international school.

“You can’t beat the gorgeous dockside location,” offers Schwartz.  “The atmosphere at Camana Bay is casual and friendly, but at the same time elegant, perfectly suited for what Michael’s Genuine is all about.  We’re cultivating relationships with local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, as we have done in South Florida, so we can source local ingredients whenever it makes sense, and replicate the dining experience that has proven to be so successful and enjoyable in Miami.”

Thomas Tennant, who until recently was Schwartz’s sous chef in Miami will serve as head chef, overseeing day-to-day operations, while Schwartz commutes between the two restaurants.  Thais Rodriguez, having trained under executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith, will assume the role of pastry chef at the new island property.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman seats 75 indoors and 75 outside, and is the first Camana Bay dining spot on its harbor-facing Crescent.  The restaurant will open for dinner nightly on June 16, and then on June 28 for lunch as well, served Monday through Saturday.  Its celebrated Sunday brunch begins on July 11.  The space is sleek and simply designed, featuring a central open kitchen with a wood burning oven, heirloom tomato-lined food bar, lively drinks bar with a Happy Hour on weekdays, and an edited, but diverse wine list. As in Miami, the dinner menu is divided into small, medium, large, and extra large plates, allowing diners to design their own experience and enjoy a convivial, shared culinary adventure.

Grand Cayman

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In support of Schwartz’s mission to work with local, sustainable ingredients when possible, Camana Bay is planting a Chef’s Garden that will be the source for many of the fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables comprising the restaurant’s menu.

The ever-changing menu will have a noticeable Caymanian influence, in dishes such as grilled Fudge Farms pork chop, served with local callaloo, local pumpkin puree, and mango chutney, and a house salad with pickled mango, seasoning peppers, fresh chevre, and toasted calabaza seeds. Signature dishes that play starring roles on the Miami menu will also be found here, starting with snacks ($4-$8 CI) like crispy hominy, creamy deviled eggs and legendary thick cut potato chips with pan fried onion dip. Small ($8-$13 CI) favorites include wood roasted double yolk farm egg with aged Gruyere; chile chicken wings with creamy cucumbers, and crispy pig ear salad with red onion salad, while medium ($11-$20 CI) standouts encompass crispy sweet and spicy pork belly; char grilled octopus with gigande beans and burrata with heirloom tomato, extra virgin olive oil, and fleur de selLarge and extra large ($19 to $49 CI) selections are great for sharing, such as wood oven pizza with slow roasted Berkshire pork, black Mission figs, grilled onions, and fontina cheese, as well as whole wood oven roasted poulet rouge chicken and wood oven roasted whole local snapper with roasted fennel grilled lemon and smoked fleur de sel. Carefully considered sides will be offered a la carte ($6-$7 CI) and provide the perfect complement to the dining experience, including wood oven roasted vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts with pancetta and lemon aioli, and fingerling potatoes.  Executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith’s innovative, acclaimed desserts are a highlight of the Michael’s Genuine dining experience.  In Grand Cayman, sweet basil panna cotta with strawberry consomme and berries – which won best dish at January’s A Taste of Cayman – will appear on the dessert menu, alongside chocolate cremoso with sea salt, olive oil, sourdough crostini, and espresso parfait, seasonal local fruit sorbets, among other delights ranging from $8 to $9 CI.

Lunch will offer a wide selection of sandwiches, salads, and Schwartz’s acclaimed burgers, as well as entrees and daily specials that are based on seasonal ingredients.  Sunday brunch will be divided into sweet and savory a la carte options, and include Goldsmith’s now legendary homemade pop tarts, lemon ricotta pancakes, and other irresistible temptations, as well as savory options like wild salmon fennel hash, Greek farro salad with French feta, and breakfast pizza.

The design of the restaurant is open and inviting, and seamlessly integrated into Camana Bay’s existing architecture and underlying aesthetic.  World renowned restaurant designer Carl Myers, responsible for the design of Schwartz’s Miami restaurant has worked closely alongside Caymanian architect John Doak of John Doak Architecture to take advantage of the island’s year round beautiful weather, blending indoors and out, with doors opening to the surrounding plaza, creating a space with plenty of outdoor dining.

With a desire to appeal to locals, families and surrounding businesses, as well as tourists, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink will be sure to draw diners who’ll love it for its incomparable cuisine and incredible service, as well as its warmth and feeling of a neighborhood bistro.

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Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman is located at 47 Forum Lane, Suite 4103, Canella Court at Camana Bay. The restaurant will be open for dinner nightly beginning Wednesday, June 16: Monday – Thursday 5:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5:30 p.m. until Midnight, and Sunday 5:30 until 10:00 p.m.  Lunch hours begin Monday, June 28: Monday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Brunch hours begin Sunday, July 11: 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Happy hour begins Wednesday, June 16: Monday – Friday  4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.  Reservations are suggested at 345.640.6433 or online at


Camana Bay is a mixed use master-planned community blossoming into life on 500 acres between Seven Mile Beach and the North Sound on the island of Grand Cayman.  A place to live, work and play, the Town of Camana Bay is thoughtfully designed, sensitive to its environment and committed to excellence. With shops, restaurants, offices, a six-screen cinema and 60 apartments, Camana Bay’s Town Centre opened in December 2007 and was designed by the award-winning team of Moore Ruble Yudell and Olin Partnership. Following a design Charette held in 2008 with leading town planners and pioneers of New Urbanism-Duany Plater-Zyberk (DPZ), Dart Realty is now in the master planning phase for the town’s residential communities, hotels, marina and amenities. Contemporary Caribbean architecture and lush, indigenous landscaping provides a pedestrian-friendly environment for Cayman’s residents and visitors. The master plan is designed to be flexible, allowing Camana Bay to grow organically over several decades and ensuring it will flourish for generations to come. For more information on Camana Bay visit

Images, menus and interviews available.

Media contacts:

Larry Carrino/Karen Barofsky

Brustman Carrino Public Relations


2 thoughts on “Cayman Correspondence: Firsts in the Kitchen, Opening Press Release, and Twitter

  1. Pingback: Cayman Correspondence: Firsts in the Kitchen, Opening Press … | caymantoday

  2. Sad to miss your opening on 16 Jun as I fly to Europe on 12 Jun – but will certainly get there on my return in mid Jul.

    All the very best for a successful launch – I ma sure MGFD Cayman wil be superb.

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