On Saturday night we welcomed April Bloomfield and her chef Peter Cho from The Breslin into our kitchen for Genuine Bloomfield, our Cayman Cookout dinner and main event on the rock this past week, hosted by Camana Bay. It was a festive evening with special guests including Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin, Anthony Bourdain, Sandra Ripert, chef Laurent Gras, and the Premier of Cayman Islands, Honorary McKeeva Bush, flanked by ministers and cabinet members, security in tow. Guests enjoyed a menu of hors d’oeuvres, four delicious courses with wines from Austrian vintner Schloss Gobelsburg, and Hedy’s salted caramel peanut candies for a sweet finish.
We have one guest in particular to thank for a new specialty cocktail on the menu in Cayman today, and likely tomorrow in Miami — one Ottavia Bourdain and her penchant for Amaretto Di Saronno. Our wily and ambitious Wine Director Eric Larkee took it upon himself to design a drink to pair with each course using this sweet, almond-flavored Italian liqueur made from an apricot base, so that Mrs. B did not feel left out as her dining companions received their sequence of new pours. Why Amaretto?
“Because I like the sweet taste, it doesn’t give me a hangover, and it has the added advantage of embarrassing my husband when I drink it throughout a meal,” Ottavia explained this morning from the Cayman airport waiting room. “[Eric] did very very well, particularly impressive because I’m told I’m a difficult woman. I loved the Italian Mule, the ginger gave it a spicy component I really enjoyed.”
Matched with the second course, pork shoulder with vegetable giardiniera, my favorite was the Italian Mule, as well. This exotic concoction gives the Russians a run for their money with a splash of la dolce vita in Hedy’s homemade Cayman ginger beer, an exotic brew accented with mint, vanilla bean, lemon, lime, peppercorns, lightly toasted cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise.
Friday was the big day for prep, and the two chefs joined Thomas in the kitchen to cut wahoo, marinate chickpeas and lentils, crisp and fill crispelle with braised local rabbit, and roast pork shoulder till tender. In the afternoon, Michael and Eric stopped by the Eater Lounge (read: two high tops and a bucket of Caybrew) around the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman pool. When he got wind that Eric was toting along some piercing acidity in the form of Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling, one of the upcoming dinner’s wine pairings, Food & Wine’s Ray Isle popped by to say hello (Eric is also featured in the magazine’s February issue offering pairings recommendations for seafood!)
7:00 p.m. on Saturday arrived fast and furious, as we welcomed more than 100 guests for Genuine Bloomfield. Here are our behind-the-scenes pictures of the memorable evening — from the kitchen prep and pre-dinner bell book signing, to finished dishes.