GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is proud to announce the Cayman Islands’ first Slow Food Day on February 4, 2012, a new Cayman Culinary Month event devoted to raising awareness of Grand Cayman’s own food producers and hosted through a collaboration between Slow Food South Sound, Cayman Islands Agricultural Society, and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, with generous support from sponsors Camana Bay, Bon Vivant, BlackBeard’s, and Fosters Food Fair.
Slow Food Day is comprised of two main events. In the morning, local chefs and farmers will team up for a complimentary tasting of food made with local ingredients at the farmers’ market at The Grounds in Lower Valley. Camana Bay will host the celebration in the evening with a farm-to-table dinner at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink featuring guest celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman, best known for his simple, ingredient-driven approach to Italian food at legendary New York City restaurant, Barbuto.
TICKETS NOW ON-SALE
Big-name chefs to rock out local foods at Mauna Lani
Local folks and fortunate travelers will be able to rub elbows with renowned celebrity chefs and sample cuisine the culinary rock stars carefully craft with Hawaii’s bounty of local ingredients at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows next month. The resort will stage its second annual Celebrity Chef Tour as a benefit for the James Beard Foundation.
Chefs Jonathan Waxman, Ming Tsai and Tyler Florence, familiar to TV-watching foodies everywhere, will join celebrity cocktail mixologist Manny Hinojosa, Mauna Lani Executive Chef Sandy Tuason and famed Hawaii chef Sam Choy for the events on Jan. 20 and 21.
Tickets go on sale today and will enable ticket holders to mingle with Waxman, Tsai and Florence from 6 to 8 p.m. the first night, all while dining on Choy’s culinary contributions and sipping on Hinojosa’s cocktails.
On Jan. 21 all the chefs will let loose in the kitchen, using locally sourced, hand-picked ingredients from their tour of local farms — and will then serve the fruits and veggies and meats and sauces of their labors as hors d’oeuvres and a six-course meal, with Hinojosa-designed beverages alongside.
Friday night tickets are $50, while Saturday night tickets are $250. The hotel is offering Celebrity Chef Tour rates from $230 a night.
“Ming is one of the smartest people I know, chef or otherwise,” Waxman told TheBuzz. “Tyler is the most eclectic chef I know … and knows American ingredients probably better than anybody … and Sandy is hysterical. I love working with him” and Sam Choy, he said.
Waxman came to Hawaii for school but wound up on Maui “playing in a rock band.” “I was having a great time but got stranded there.” Buddies told him his choices were to sell drugs or work in restaurants. He chose the latter, starting his culinary sojourn at the Rusty Harpoon in Kaanapali in the early 1970s. He was later part of the Shep Gordon effort — successful, we might add — to turn chefs into stars and has been to Hawaii many times.
“Let’s face it: You live in paradise,” Waxman said. “I love everything about Hawaii,” including the convergence of so many ethnic cultures including the host culture, and “you’ve got the cleanest air in the world, the greatest fish, the greatest produce. It’s an amazing place; it really is remarkable.”
When he came for the event last year and took the farm tour, his head exploded a little bit with the wealth of ingredients.
“It’s really a chef’s paradise,” he enthused. He thought of more dishes and flavor combinations “than you could shake a stick at.”
Last time around, he was invited to a loi, or taro patch, in Waipio Valley tended by one of the Mauna Lani servers who explained “the mystique of the plant.” He couldn’t manage a loi visit 11 months ago, but “we’re going to do it this time,” Waxman said.
“I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this,” he said, in no small part because it will be a sort of second honeymoon for him and his wife.
Waxman is the “Obie Wan Kenobi” of chefs, Tuason said, noting that he, with legendary Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, did farm-to-table in the 1970s before the term was coined.
A “big thing” for Tuason is to have his “young cooks” gain the experience of working alongside the big-name chefs.
With the exception of olive oil, 100 percent of the food in last year’s event was locally sourced, and the same will be true this year, Tuason said, from grass-fed beef cheeks to whole fish and produce.
In addition to several working farms, the chefs will visit Mala’ai, the culinary garden of Waimea Middle School, meet with the kids, “maybe do a demo,” and will use some of the garden’s produce for the dinner event.