[VIDEO] Cayman Cookout Countdown: Taming the Lion of the Sea!

One week from today, Thomas Tennant’s fins will be parting the crystalline waters of Grand Cayman island with spear in hand.   As the shirt he appropriately wore to work today indicates, our The Genuine Hospitality Group special ops chef is a natural born killer of lionfish.  Not only is Thomas a certified SCUBA diver, he’s a licensed lionfish hunter, culling this invasive species from the marine ecosystems they threaten, one Big Gulp at a time.  As we like to say, eat them to beat them!

Image-2The 2014 Cayman Cookout descends on our second home in the Caribbean next week from Thursday, January 16 to Sunday, January 19 with Michael, Eric, Mr. Special Ops and I representing Miami headquarters on-island.  Presented the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and FOOD & WINE magazine, this annual culinary extravaganza will bring some of the best known and most respected chefs in the world to the island for myriad events.

For our part, the town of Camana Bay will transform into an Ultimate Dinner Party on Saturday, January 18.  During the Thursday dive, fellow diving chef José Andrés will experience a lionfish hunt for the first time since his original SCUBA certification in the Cayman Islands during the 2012 festival.

MGFD_GCM_Cayman Cookout menu_FinalWe’re banking on these two bringing back a haul, as Saturday depends on it!  The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a special cocktail hour presentation “Taming the Lionfish,” which will celebrate the success of the divers, fishermen, scientists and chefs who have banded together to protect Cayman’s reefs from these ravenous invaders.  José and Michael will accompany Thomas as he demonstrates a recipe like the lionfish ceviche shared with Miss Cayman Islands in the PSA above, after which guests can elect dine at one of Camana Bay’s participating signature restaurants each collaborating with a Cayman Cookout headline chef on a dinner menu.  José will be our special guest at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink; Quebec’s “wild chef” Martin Picard will appear at Abacus; Daniel Boulud will bring French flair to Mizu; and Rick Bayless will unite with Cindy Hutson at Ortanique. Our dinner as you may have guessed will feature the lionfish catch and many other house specialties done fresh, simple and pure. Tickets are $299 for it all, available here through the Cayman Cookout website.

A Show of Pots for Hedy Goldsmith, Please!

BOLBestEvery year, the Food & Wine Test Kitchen evaluates over 150 cookbooks to select 25 they like best! Then we all get to enjoy an anthology called Best of the Best: The Best Recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the Year. We are proud to share that Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors was selected for 2013, and Hedy’s copy arrived in the mail yesterday! Raise your hand if you want one too? We thought so!

In addition to Editor in Chief Dana Cowen’s pick of recipes from each tome’s table of contents, one bonus, never-before-published recipe from each author is included, plus advice on wine pairings. Hedy’s featured desserts are Nutters, Raspberry Bars, Pots de Creme and Milk Chocolate Jellies with smoked sugar!

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Me want to play : )

Since it’s just the way we feel about The Genuine Kitchen blog readers, we are giving away two pairs of signed Baking Out Loud and Best of the Best cookbooks. To enter to win, please snap the most drool-worthy photo of a Hedy Goldsmith sweet (dessert and brunch menus are both fair game) enjoyed at any The Genuine Hospitality Group restaurant, post on Instagram and/or Twitter, and tag @hedygoldsmith #sweetsnaps. Multiple entries are allowed, and you have until 12 midnight on Sunday, June 23. Hedy will choose two winners (one in Grand Cayman – where she is currently stationed! – and one in Miami) and announce them with #reposts on Monday the 24th!

Last year’s Best of the Best collection celebrated winning dishes from superstar authors such as Giada DeLaurentiis, Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters, Eric Ripert, and a certain chef Michael Schwartz! Let the show of pots begin!

Cooking at Home with the Schwartz Family

Lulu Schwartz (11) fashioning her dough just right.

When Food & Wine Magazine approached us to include Michael and his kids in a cooking at home feature, the answer was a resounding um, YEAH!  With the deadline fast approaching, a quick scramble ensued, asking our friends @luciniitalia and @teenaspridecsa for some edible schwag to incorporate into two recipes for Sunday Family Pizza (& Salad!) Night, and… voila!  I dropped by their South Beach home to paparrazza the whole shebang and today the “Star Chefs’ Kids Cook” extravaganza is live online!  Read the Schwartz family’s Q&A about cooking healthy with kids at home, see my photos of pizza night, and get the recipes for Roasted Vegetable & Arugula Salad with Shaved Trugole, and Pesto Pizza with Homemade Ricotta, Heirloom Tomatoes & Pecorino, all here!  Do you cook at home with your kids and what do you like to make?