[UPDATED] Hot Potatoes: Grand Cayman Farmer Hamlin Stephenson’s Sweets on Saturday’s Genuine Manresa Menu for Cayman Cookout


Local sweet potato from Hamlin’s Farm, baked with meringue/salt 40 mins at 375 F in our Doyon convection oven.

Update: Farmer Hamlin sent us some new photos of what’s growing on his farm!  Check them out here.  Also, Cayman Airways has offered a special discount for folks flying in for our February event extravaganza: Slow Food Day! Click here for the code and get booking!

Woot woot! Here in Miami we are getting really excited to head down to Grand Cayman on Thursday for the annual Cayman Cookout, a food festival hosted by the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Food & Wine magazine and chef Eric Ripert featuring world renowned chefs, winemakers and more.  Our main event is Saturday night when Michael welcomes guest chef David Kinch of Manresa on Central California’s wild coast for a memorable dinner that draws inspiration from his restaurant’s home in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to bring to life Grand Cayman’s seasonal bounty!

Well what bounty do we speak of?  For one, sweet potatoes, an island staple that chef Thomas Tennant has sourced from one of our favorite farmers, Hamilin Stephenson. We rang him this morning to get some information on the variety he grows.

“But, the thing is I can’t tell you what kind they are!” Hamlin explained.  “In 2003 I bought some sweet potatoes from the supermarket and put one of them in the grow pot outside to see if I could get some plants off of it, and that’s how started.”

Hamlin with his sweet potatoes (and yummy seasoning peppers) at Grand Cayman’s weekly Saturday farmers market at The Grounds.

He’s been planting this kind every year since, and right now has about 5,000 plants  – or holes – working. Some are ready for harvest, some will be ready in a week or so, and so on… It’s a year-round season.  A gift that keeps on giving, which will be enjoyed by our guests in Saturday’s second course of Wahoo with soft and crispy greens, local sweet potato and passion fruit.

“I only had one potato left, and Chef Kinch instructed me on how he would like it done and for me to test it out with this potato,” Thomas shared. “I was happy with the result and so was David. The potato was perfectly cooked after 40 mins in the oven and seasoned well. It will be sliced into discs as a base for the fish.”

Please find our final menu with wine pairings here, and hope you will be joining us in paradise on Saturday! Tickets are still available at this link. Just scroll down to Ultimate Dinner Party and choose “Genuine Manresa at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.”

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