A Curtain Call for Cayman

7963378922_cbc83d7345_k

After 5 years bringing fresh, simple, pure to the Cayman Islands, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink’s Grand Cayman outpost will be closing later this summer, with its final service on Sunday, August 30.

“It’s never easy to close the book on a project you feel genuinely proud of, but it’s time to move on,” says Schwartz. “I’m honored by the support we have received over the years in Cayman and from our partners at Camana Bay. It feels good knowing that the legacy of slow food will continue long past the departure of Michael’s Genuine. As for The Genuine Hospitality Group, we will focus our attention on growing the core business from Miami.”

It’s been an amazing ride, and we have learned so much from the island and made so many memories in the process, sharing the best of Cayman with our friends from the States!  Just click the Cayman Correspondence category and countless examples flood back.  Not soon after opening the restaurant in June of 2010, Michael received recognition in the New York Times as one of four world-renowned chefs bringing their outposts to the Caribbean, casting the Cayman Islands into the spotlight as a growing culinary destination in its own right. Through the restaurant’s renewed commitment to sourcing from local farmers, serving seasonal ingredients, and putting the invasive lionfish on the menu – chef Thomas Tennant’s passion project that made waves across the island and beyond, locals were drawn into the town center of Camana Bay for a new, genuine taste of the island.

The neighborhood bistro became a favorite in the community, winning the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Cayman’s Favourite Restaurant award 4 out of 5 years, most recently this February. Its Happy Hour exposed Grand Cayman to new craft spirits and cocktails, beer, and wine and celebrated its own distillery and brewery. Michael’s Genuine co-founded Slow Food Day with Slow Food South Sound, an annual event in its fourth year forging relationships with farmers and chefs across the island that catalyzed the addition of a weekly Farmer’s Market to Camana Bay providing further stimulus to the island’s agricultural economy.

“Michael’s Genuine has been an important part of establishing Camana Bay as the place to be for food enthusiasts in the Cayman Islands, and we appreciate all that Michael and the team have done to strengthen Grand Cayman’s culinary community,” said Jackie Doak, Chief Operating Officer of Dart Realty, the developer of Camana Bay. “This fall we look forward to introducing a new family-friendly pizza and pasta restaurant which will be operated by a group of local restauranteurs, bringing a new experience to Camana Bay’s already diverse offerings from a dozen restaurants, cafés and eateries.”

The restaurant will remain active in its last summer and offers fans myriad opportunities to savor a last taste – or several! On July 4 at 7:00 p.m., the Rum & Q brings rum tasting stations, rum cocktails, desserts, BBQ and more to the Crescent Lawn at Camana Bay for $68 CI all inclusive. The restaurant’s annual Genuine Summer promotion will run the length of August offering three-course prix fixe menus with choices for lunch and dinner at CI$23 and CI$39, respectively. Through August 30, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman will operate regular business hours, open Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., serving its All-Day and Dessert menus, as well as its celebrated brunch on Sundays from 11:00am to 3:00 p.m. Happy Hour features drink specials Monday to Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For reservations please call 345.640.6433. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is located at Suite 4103, 47 Forum Lane Canella Court, Camana Bay, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

For more Cayman memories, please visit our Flickr album.

 

Who’s Your Daddy? Cayman’s Burger Beer Bash & Special for Father’s Day!

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.37.51 AM

Just a small screenshot of our Cayman Instagram feed. It’s so fun to take a trip to the Caribbean through Genuine eyes!

BurgerBeer2014-5324Our Cayman Islands home away from home is giving National Burger Month the Caribbean holiday it deserves.  First, Burger Beer Bash is back at our Michael’s Genuine ® Food & Drink Grand Cayman, Saturday May 23rd at 7:00 p.m.  Join our team on the Crescent Lawn at Camana Bay for assorted sliders, snacks, and desserts from the genuine kitchen, as well as all you care to drink craft beer and wine. $45 CI includes the full menu and gratuity.  If you aren’t already following the @MGFD_GCM Instagram, get on it!  Restaurant Manager Camille Ross is killing it with delicious photos of our daily specials and more, but you don’t want to be left ogling your feed on Saturday when you could be posting a slider party on your own including Thick Cut Potato Chips with pan fried onion dip, Classic Burger (cheddar cheese, homemade pickle, tomato chutney,) Jerk Chicken (fried plantain, tomato, arugula, scotch bonnet aioli,) Grilled Mahi (green mango slaw, arugula, old bay aioli,) BBQ Beef (Monterey jack cheese, grilled onion,) and Black Bean (raisins, parsley, chickpeas.)  Mini Brownies, French Macarons, and Mini Lemon Crème Pies in a Jar will be passed for dessert!

And in other burger news on the rock, we are celebrating our favorite daddies with a special burger on the menu for Father’s Day.  Chef Thomas Tennant has conceived an “It Gets Better with Age” special just for Sunday, June 21, featuring dry-aged beef, mature English cheddar, grilled red onion relish, tomato, fried egg, and house smoked bacon on a house sourdough bun.  If you’re a Dad and purchase the “It Gets Better with Age” burger, we offer a complimentary Michael’s Genuine Home Brew on the house!

Please call 345.640.6433 or email camille@michaelsgenuine.com to reserve your spot for the Bash and for information on Father’s Day at the restaurant.

[Recipe] Cayman’s Bounty in a Roasted Breadfruit Salad

Our creative in the current issue of Ritz-Carlton's magazine features the market and one of our favorite local delicacies... Ackee!

Our creative in the current issue of Ritz-Carlton’s magazine features the market and one of our favorite local delicacies… Ackee!

Down in the sunny Cayman Islands there is an abundance of exotic and unusual fruits and vegetables growing. From cassava to winged beans, the produce on the island is used in many different ways unique to the island and its culture. The Camana Bay Farmers Market is held every Wednesday just steps from Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Grand Cayman.  It is a great place for locals, tourists and our chefs to find all of the island’s local produce and is a snapshot of what’s in-season and what you can expect to be on your plate at the restaurant at any given moment.  Chefs Michael and Thomas have taken turns visiting the island over the past couple of weeks to find the farmers market and its growers as vibrant as they’ve ever been, with fresh ingredients in abundance such as boniato (sweet potato), bitter melon, plantains, heirloom tomatoes, jujube apples, coconut, pumpkin, okra, passionfruit, and ackee to name a few.  It’s always a huge source of inspiration… Case and point, you’ll now find this ackee toast on the menu!

The breadfruit is a perfect example of this local bounty. A species of flowering tree in the mulberry family, breadfruit originated in the South Pacific and was introduced to Caribbean islands during the late 18th century by British and French navigators. Today it is grown in some 90 countries throughout Southeast and South Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, Central America and Africa.  The breadfruit is so common you can typically find the tree it grows on in every Caymanian backyard and is a staple in every local’s household. With the texture of a potato and the flavor of freshly baked bread (hence the name breadfruit), breadfruit can be great for baking, roasting, grilling, frying, or boiling. In traditional Cayman cuisine, the breadfruit is usually boiled or fried and seasoned with spicy pickled vegetables.

Chef Thomas Tennant is a master at handling this curious-looking ingredient, and created the perfect expression of its best qualities in the breadfruit salad.  The breadfruit is roasted whole in the wood oven, peeled and cut into large chunks, then re-roasted to nice and crispy outside and creamy middle.  While you may not have a breadfruit tree in your backyard, we have seen them from time to time pop onto the ingredient wall at our Miami restaurant food bar, or sitting pretty above the pastry station.  We challenge to to your own breadfruit treasure hunt…  This could be your reward!

Breadfruit SaladWood Roasted Breadfruit Salad with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, arugula, basil and citrus vinaigrette

Serves 6

1 whole ripe breadfruit, about 3 pounds weight
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
1 pound baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
1 pound of avocado, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 cup scallions, sliced thinly on the bias
1 cup torn basil leaves
1 cup baby arugula
Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
1 cup Citrus vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Using a chef’s knife, remove the stem of the breadfruit by coring out the stem. Then insert the knife straight through the breadfruit, at least half way into the fruit via the stem side going through the breadfruit center, then do it again but turning the knife to create and ‘X’. You will have pierced through the breadfruit but not cutting all the way through it. Score the other side with an ‘X’. Place the breadfruit on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. After 40 minutes, check for doneness by piercing with a knife, it will be done if you can pierce the breadfruit every easily, similar to a baked potato. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, cut away the outer skin, then cut into one inch cubes.

Place the breadfruit cubes on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss with the olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the breadfruit begins to brown and become crisp. Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, avocados, scallions, basil and arugula, in a mixing bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the breadfruit has become crisp, combine into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and dress with the citrus vinaigrette. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately while the salad is still warm.

Citrus Vinaigrette

Yields 1 quart

1 grapefruit
1 naval orange
1 lemon
1 lime
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup canola oil
1 ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Zest the citrus with a microplane zester into a container, then juice the citrus. Combine the citrus zest, juices, egg yolk, vinegar, honey and salt in a blender. Blend on medium-low speed for about 20 seconds. While the blender is running, slowly incorporate the oils by adding them in a thin but steady stream into the blender until all the oil has been emulsified. Transfer to a clean container and refrigerate.

 

 

Farm-to-Table Dinner Celebrates Fall in Grand Cayman

Farm-to-Table-poster3After a week on the rock catching up with the team, we are excited to announce that Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink in Camana Bay will welcome back The Genuine Hospitality Group Special Ops Chef Thomas Tennant from Miami for the return of a favorite event on-island! Its Farm-to-Table Dinner Series is back for the fall season on Saturday October 11 at 7 pm and celebrates local farmers and seasonal ingredients in a family-style menu of four courses for CI $65 (CI $60 for Slow Food members.) An optional wine supplement is available for an additional CI $29. The evening will begin with a welcome cocktail sponsored by Cayman Spirits Company on the Crescent Lawn, followed by a family-style dinner in the restaurant. Thomas is really into coconut and its health benefits these days so the menu definitely reflects this, from cocktails to dessert.

‘Coconut oil usual gets passed off as a ‘bad oil’ due to saturated fat but science is telling us it’s the good kind,” Thomas explains.  “Almost every dish in the menu will have some coconut product in it. I find it also yields a cleaner result in deep frying.”

A very special thanks to our farmers Hamlin Stephenson, Patrick Panton, Joel Walton and Clarence McLaughlin for their gorgeous product!  Click here for menu and for reservations, please email camille@michaelsgenuine.com or call 345.640.6433.  For a last taste of summer, visit our Flickr album of Camana Bay’s Wednesday Farmers Market.

[RECIPE] Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Quinoa, Long Beans, Herbs, Heart of Palm & Parsley Vinaigrette

 

Ever looked at a great big pumpkin and scratch your head. It’s not one of those ingredients that jumps out and begs a home cook to be dinner. They come in all shapes and sizes, many of which are XXL.  Of course those are hard to cut unless you have the proper knife, like Grand Cayman farmer Jennett Anson who uses her cleaver to break down the big round guys into customer-friendly portions at the farmers market in Camana Bay.  Then there’s the calabaza’s density, making cook time longer than your garden variety vegetable.

So who wants to cook calabaza now?  We do!  And now that I’ve convinced you to never look a pumpkin in the eye in your own kitchen, let me allow TGHG special ops chef Thomas Tennant and Farm to Kitchen’s Chris Padin persuade you otherwise.

“It’s definitely more abundant right now as summer approaches, but pumpkin is one of those great crops that we get all year round down here,” Chris explained on the phone earlier this morning. “You’ll start to see more of the butternuts, the smooth tan ones shaped like a bell, coming in now in April and May, and the green and orange striped long necks are looking really nice, too.  They have more meat than the big round ones which are hollow in the middle and filled with seeds.”

Over the years, I’ve seen some freakishly big pumpkins sitting pretty on our ingredient wall and atop the pastry station at Michael’s Genuine in Miami when local tomatoes are out of season (heirloom alert: a week more of Teena’s Pride, before we head up state until June!)  We have Martha Corona and her u-pick farm to thank; she always makes sure to grow them, and customer demand is so high she brings them in from a farm upstate when her supply runs out. They grow up to 20 pounds each, even more.  Chris’s weekly order averages about 50 pounds all day, give or take a few depending on what the kitchen wants on the menu.  They can show up as a wood roasted side, shaved on pizza, cubed in hash at brunch…  pretty much everywhere and anywhere.  And Harry’s just added candied pumpkin seeds to its arugula salad.

Upon returning to the mainland from Grand Cayman’s Slow Food Day in March, Thomas not surprisingly received requests from afar for his pumpkin salad recipe.  Sure, it was so delicious as a base for Caja China Local Goat, but better yet, a fresh, healthy, and vegetarian dish balanced and hearty enough to stand alone. When working with pumpkin at home, Thomas suggests choosing the longnecks if you can find them, peeling with a vegetable peeler and using a large, properly sharpened chef’s knife for cubing. The chunks don’t need to be perfect cubes, but do take care to cut with uniform thickness for uniform cook time. Enjoy with a Home Brew and toast to summertime!

Roasted Pumpkin Salad with quinoa, long beans, herbs, heart of palm and parsley vinaigrette

Serves 6

3 quarts fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 pound long beans
½ cup fresh heart of palm, shaved
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup Parsley Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
½ cup scallion, sliced thinly
½ cup parsley leaves
½ cup cilantro leaves

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Place the cut pumpkin on a sheet pan, dress with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the pumpkin until it becomes tender, about 12 minutes. Once tender, remove and allow to cool at room temperature.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the long beans for 15 seconds then shock into ice water to stop the cooking. Once the long beans are chilled, cut into 2 inch long pieces.

To assemble the salad, combine the warm pumpkin, cooked quinoa, long beans, and shaved heart of palm in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Toss with the vinaigrette and herbs. Serve while the salad is warm.

Parsley Vinaigrette

makes about 1 cup

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup parlsey leaves, picked
¼ cup oregano leaves, picked
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add ½ cup of water to a saucepot over medium heat and add the salt. Once dissolved, set aside and allow to cool. Finely chop the parsley and oregano. Combine the herbs, shallots, garlic and sherry vinegar in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, bruise the herbs with the vinegar and whisk in the salt water and finally the olive oil. Place in a plastic container until ready to use. You can allow the dressing to marinate for a day and the flavors will improve.