Cayman Cookout 2017

Headline Chefs

Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert is chef and co-owner of the New York restaurant Le Bernardin, which ranks 19 on the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The celebrated restaurant holds three stars from the Michelin Guide, a consistent “29” food rating, the highest in the city, from the Zagat Guide since 2011, and has upheld a four-star review from The New York Times for over two decades. It has never dropped a star throughout five reviews, and is the only restaurant to maintain four stars for that length of time. In 2011, Ripert unveiled the next chapter in the restaurant’s history – a significant redesign from Bentel & Bentel that earned Le Bernardin a James Beard Award for “Best Restaurant Design” in 2012, followed by a 2013 “Outstanding Restaurateur” award for co-owner Maguy Le Coze. Additionally, Ripert has partnered with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to open Blue by Eric Ripert in Grand Cayman. He is chair of the City Harvest’s Food Council, a New York-based food rescue organisation, as well as a recipient of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour. He is the host of YouTube’s “On the Table,” which debuted on the RESERVE CHANNEL in 2012. He was also the host of his own Emmy-award winning PBS TV series “Avec Eric,” which ran for two successful seasons. Eric is the author of four cookbooks including “Avec Eric” (2010), “On the Line” (2008), “A Return to Cooking” (2002) and “Le Bernardin – Four Star Simplicity” (1998).

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011, José Andrés is an internationally-recognised culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, educator, television personality and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. Andrés is the force behind renowned dining concepts in Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico. He is Dean of the Spanish Studies programme at the International Culinary Center and he also teaches at Harvard and George Washington University. He is the founder of the non-profit World Central Kitchen. In 2012, Andrés was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential.

Chef, author and raconteur Anthony Bourdain is best known for travelling the globe on his stomach, on his TV show “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” Somewhat notoriously, he has established himself as a professional gadfly, bête noir, advocate, social critic and pork enthusiast, and recognised for his caustic sense of humor worldwide. He is as unsparing of those things he hates, as he is evangelical about his passions. The “chef-at-large” at New York’s famed Brasserie Les Halles, Bourdain is the author of the bestselling “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly”, among other celebrated works and has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Times of London, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Vanity Fair and Lucky Peach. “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”, which he made from 2004 – 2012, was widely popular all over the world, has won two Emmy Awards, with several other nominations. 2013 saw the premiere of two new television shows hosted by Bourdain: “The Taste,” a cooking competition series for ABC with Nigella Lawson, and “Parts Unknown,” a travel docu-series for CNN, which won two Emmy Awards in 2013 and a Peabody Award in 2014.

Florian Bellanger

Florian is an Executive Pastry Chef / Co-Owner of Mad-Mac, "The Authentic French Macarons and Madeleines", serving Retail, Food Service and the Hospitality industry, Mad Mac was founded in 2006 and has been quickly recognized as a leader in quality and innovation on the Macaron market. 

Florian is also a permanent judge on the Food Network's TV series Cupcake Wars, over 9 seasons and 115 episodes to date. 

Previously, Chef Bellanger was the Fauchon's Executive Pastry Chef in the United States; Florian Bellanger headed a team of TwentyFour pastry chefs to create the finest pastries, special occasion cakes,cookies, unique ice creams and sorbets for the legendary French epicurean emporium's Tea Salon and flagship store in New York City. He has come full circle after serving Fauchon in Paris under the Command of Famous Executive Pastry Chef Pierre Herme from 1991 to 1994, as well as Executive Pastry Cheffor Fauchon Flagship in Qatar from 1994 to 1996. 

At Fauchon NYC, Florian's innovations were evident in such tradition-shattering creations as éclairs flavored with orange zest,passion fruit or coconut; raspberry marshmallow cake; Toulouse violet ice cream and raspberry-chili pepper sorbet; and lavish three-dimensional holiday cakes and wedding cakes for which he continuously creates new molds and recipes. 

A veteran of pastry kitchens from around the world,Florian was Eric Ripert’s pastry chef of Le Bernardin from 1996 to 2001, wherehis desserts, described as “light and dreamy” by Ruth Reichl of The New YorkTimes, helped bring the restaurant to its four-star status. In addition, he was the Pastry Chef in the French Military Officer’s Club in French Guyana. 

Growing up in Paris, Florian knew from an early age thathis career would take a culinary path. Not only did he indulge in decadentcakes and pastries as a child, but he often spent his free afternoons in thekitchen, baking them for his family. While a childhood allergy to chocolate didironically prevent him from relishing such treats for nearly six years, hefortuitously outgrew it and dedicated himself to the art of pastries even morepassionately. At the age of fifteen, Florian applied to Paris’s prestigiouspastry school, L’Ecole de Paris des Métiers de la Table. Although his application was rejected because he was a year too young to enroll, in 1983 the future chef was accepted and graduated with an emphasis in pastry and a specialty in chocolate and ice cream. 

Awards and Recognition

  • Boldly inventive Florian was named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” in 2004 and 2003 by Pastry Art & Design magazine.
  • In 2002 and 2001, the James Beard Foundation recognized Florian’s accomplishments with a nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - 2013 US Pastry Competition
  • Hall of Fame Inductee - Dessert Professional Magazine 2013

Tom Colicchio

Colicchio was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the son of Beverly (Corvelli) and Thomas Colicchio. He is of Italian descent on both sides. He has been married to filmmaker Lori Silverbush since 2001. He has three sons.

In July 1994, Colicchio and his partner Danny Meyer opened the Gramercy Tavern in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan. It was voted Most Popular Restaurant in New York City by the Zagat Survey in 2003 and 2005. He sold his interest in 2006 and is no longer affiliated with the restaurant. In spring 2001, he opened the first Craft restaurant one block south of Gramercy Tavern. A year later, he opened the first Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. In 2003, he began the first 'wichcraft, his sandwich shop. In 2010, he opened Colicchio & Sons, and also Riverpark. Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Colicchio joined volunteers serving food to rescue workers at Ground Zero.

Colicchio won the 2010 Outstanding Chef award from the James Beard Foundation.

Colicchio has written three cookbooks. He, Jeff Bridges, and Raj Patel appeared in the documentary film A Place at the Table released in the U.S. on March 1, 2013. He is also Executive Producer of "A Place At The Table."

Dean Fearing

Creator of Fearing’s Restaurant and author of The Texas Food Bible, Chef Dean Fearing is renowned for the “Elevated American Cuisine – Bold Flavors, No Borders” of his award-winning Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas.

Since its opening in 2007, Fearing’s has been named “Restaurant of the Year” and “Table of the Year” by Esquire Magazine, as well as #1 in Hotel Dining in the U.S. by the prestigious Zagat Survey. The restaurant was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Best New Restaurant and it is currently included on top national lists by, and many other influential food websites.

A well-known face on television and in culinary and news media, Dean Fearing has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Food and Wine, Bon Appétit, Garden & Gun, The Food Network, Texas Monthly, Guitar Aficionado, Modern Luxury, and more. He was recently recognized as a “Pioneer of American Cuisine” by The Culinary Institute of America, and he we also presented with the Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance by Food Arts. CRN Digital Talk Radio named Fearing Chef of the Year for 2014, and further top rankings for Fearing and his food have been published by Southern Living, Forbes, Fox News, Hotels Magazine, Robb Report, The New York Times, the Dallas Morning News and other leading media outlets.

Long known as the “Father of Southwestern Cuisine,” Dean Fearing has spent his life cooking for people who love good food. After 20-plus years at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, he opened Fearing's Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas in 2007. A reflection of his personal vision and design, the lively, comfortable restaurant features seven stylish dining settings, including the most distinctive alfresco experience in Dallas and a popular interactive display kitchen offering ringside seating for true foodies.

The son of a Kentucky innkeeper, Fearing grew up with grandmothers who knew all about food and who appreciated the finer details of Southern cooking and barbecue. He still uses and treasures their recipes, and they remain one of the most important inspirations of his culinary life. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he can be spotted in Fearing’s wearing a signature crisp white chef’s coat with colorful boot embroidery, blue jeans and brightly-hued, custom-tooled Lucchese cowboy boots. When not in the kitchen, Fearing is often found strumming his vintage Fender Telecaster guitar, one of an impressive collection of several dozen collectible guitars, playing songs from the album created by his all-chef alternative country band, The Barbwires. He is also known to spend his spare time searching the countryside for Texas culinary inspiration. The state’s rich variety of peppers, dried chilies, jicama, cilantro, tomatillos, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, Gulf seafood and Hill Country wild game play a major role in Dean Fearing’s ever-changing cuisine – and can be savored from afar in his widely acclaimed Texas Food Bible.

The exuberant, ever-friendly Fearing was winner of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Award for “Best Chef in the Southwest,” and diners from across the country flock to Dallas to experience his signature dishes. Current menu highlights include flavorful Tortilla Soup, Barbecued Shrimp Tacos, Mopped Rib Eye cooked over Live Mesquite, Maple-Black Peppercorn-Soaked Buffalo Tenderloin, and Pan-Roasted “BBQ-Spiced” Filet with Chicken-Fried Maine Lobster, which has been described as a genuine “taste of Texas.”

Cindy Hutson

A major player in the culinary world, Executive Chef Cindy Hutson has been exciting palettes throughout Miami and the Caribbean since 1994. Cindy’s signature “Cuisine of the Sun” infuses flavours and fare mastered from her travels around the globe. Alongside her longtime partner Delius Shirley, Chef Hutson owns and operates Ortanique on the Mile Coral Gables, Miami and Ortanique Camana Bay, Grand Cayman. They also design food and beverage concepts for The Dunmore, a Harbour Island Resort in the Bahamas. Launching Summer 2015, the dynamic duo will be opening 2 new restaurants in the Miami Financial district; Zest and Zest MRKT. Hutson’s first cookbook, From the Tip of My Tongue, is slated for release early February 2015. Cindy’s creative flavour combinations and her commitment to excellence have earned Ortanique Chef of the Year Award by Chef’s Magazine, numerous 5 Star Diamond Awards, as well as the prestigious Coral Gables Business Woman of the Year Award in 2014.

Hubert Keller

Keller was born in Alsace, France, and graduated from the École Hoteliere in Strasbourg. Beginning as a pastry chef, he worked in various restaurants including Auberge de L'Ill, the cruise liner Mermoz, Domaine de Chateauneuf, and Moulin de Mougins in France, and La Cuisine du Soleil in São Paulo, Brazil. He trained under Paul Haeberlin, Paul Bocuse, and Roger Vergé before coming to San Francisco in 1982 to revitalize the now-defunct Sutter 500.

Co-owner and executive chef of the original Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, opened a gourmet Burger Bar in Las Vegas, Nevada, shortly thereafter he opened a second Fleur de Lys, at Mandalay Bay. Chef Keller also opened a French influenced steakhouse in Downtown St. Louis called SLEEK, which is regarded as the best steak house in St. Louis. He is the author of The Cuisine of Hubert Keller and is the co-author of Dr. Dean Ornish's Eat More, Weigh Less. Keller was the first guest chef with Jean-Marc Fullsack to cook a dinner for a president (Clinton) in White House history and to train the White House chef in healthy cooking with the guidance of Jean-Marc Fullsack.

Ludo Lefebvre

Chef Ludo Lefebvre is one of the most influential chefs in Los Angeles dining, pioneering and revolutionizing the culinary industry. After training in France for 12 years with the great masters, Ludovic—or “Ludo”—Lefebvre came to Los Angeles to quickly be awarded prestigious Mobil Travel Guide Five Star Award at two different restaurants, L’Orangerie in 1999 and 2000 and Bastide in 2006. He then went to challenge the definition of what a restaurant is, by creating his uber-popular LudoBites concept, a multi-city restaurant tour. Ludo now carries the flag for "refined" dining in Los Angeles with his restaurant Trois Mec, which was named by both Esquire and GQ Magazine’s list of Best New Restaurants and topped the list for both Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly. Additionally, Trois Mec earned the top spot on Food & Wine Magazine's Best Restaurant Dishes of the Year for 2013 and was recently named Best Restaurant in Los Angeles for the second consecutive year by LA Weekly.

In July 2014 Ludo opened his new "Bar a la carte" concept, Petit Trois, which was honored as a James Beard Finalist in 2015 for Best New Restaurant. Los Angeles Times’ Jonathan Gold said: “There may be no better plate of escargot in town than at the new Petit Trois.” LA Weekly’s Besha Rodell simply said, “The best omelet I have ever had. It is not the only dish at Petit Trois that falls into this category. Let's see, what else? The best jambon beurre sandwich. The best croque-monsieur. The best escargot.” Angeleno Magazine’s Lesley Balla called it “Petit Perfection.”

Ludo has been named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Chefs” by Relais & Chateaux and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for a “Rising Star Chef” Award. He also starred in the ABC hit cooking competition, The Taste. Ludo is the author of two cookbooks, LudoBites, Recipes and Stories from the Pop-Up Restaurants of Ludo Lefebvre and Crave, A Feast of the Five Senses.

Dean Max is the president of DJM restaurants, a company specialized in restaurant concept development and ongoing management, and has been an established leader in the culinary world for many years now. He has celebrated the launch of numerous destination restaurants, starting in 1999 with his flagship, 3030 Ocean restaurant created in the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He quickly opened Latitude 41 in the Renaissance Columbus, Ohio and then the Brasserie in Grand Cayman, AMP 150 in Cleveland, Asador restaurant in the Dallas Renaissance, Parallel Post restaurant in Trumbull, Connecticut, his namesake restaurant, James Republic, in Long Beach California, and most recently his the restaurants at Pink Sands Resort in Harbor Island Bahamas His restaurants are all based around farm to table concepts and they are deeply involved in grass roots marketing programs that develop them as destination locations. Max has a laundry list of accomplishments from multiple James Beard nominations for Best Chef, crowned King of American Seafood in 2010, wrote an amazing seafood cookbook in 2006 called “A Life by the Sea,” and holds many restaurant accolades from multiple properties.

Michael Mina

Michael Mina is an award-winning chef and restaurateur renowned for his innovative twists on classic dishes and his focus on balance of flavors. Born in Cairo, Egypt and raised in Washington State, Michael's love affair with the kitchen started at an early age. Michael remains committed to carrying on his passion for creating memorable dining experiences and welcoming guests into his home. He received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

James Beard Foundation Awards - Rising Star Chef - 1997, Best Chef - California 2002; Bon Appetit - Best Chef 2005; International Food & Beverage Forum - Restaurateur of the Year 2005; San Francisco Magazine - Chef of the Year 2005; Richard Melman Award - 2009; - Top Chef in San Francisco 2010; - Restaurateur of the Year 2011; Food Arts - Silver Spoon Award 2011; His eponymous San Francisco restaurant is a Michelin-starred destination since opening in October of 2010.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company Chefs

Jordan Barnett

Behind the scenes at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto is Chef Jordan Barnett. Recently returned to Canada from Grand Cayman where he had made his home since 2005. He was a member of the opening team for The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman starting as an entry level cook in the Banquet Kitchen, and rose in the ranks to become Restaurant Chef at Andiamo (formerly Periwinkle) and Chef de Cuisine at SEVEN. It was under Jordan's culinary guidance that The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman won 'Best Food' in Taste of Cayman 2012. Chef Jordan, in 2013, was nominated for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Stingray award for Restaurant Manager of the Year and the Marriott International Rising Star Award of Culinary Excellence.

Eric Branger

A native of France, Eric Branger was appointed Executive Chef of the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE and The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles in 2009. Branger’s first began his culinary vocation in France, in Normandy and the French Riviera, before his career was catapulted in Lyon where he worked under the tutelage of Michelin three-star chef Paul Bocuse.

In his role as Executive Chef of the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE and The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, Branger oversees all aspects of hotel dining for both hotels, including the two signature restaurants, LA Market Restaurant by Kerry Simon and WP24 by Wolfgang Puck; The Mixing Room, a cocktail lounge with contemporary flair; gLAnce Wine Bar, a seasonally driven wine bar; poolside dining, including ION at the JW Marriott and BLUE at The Ritz-Carlton, as well as room service, catering and special events.

Yann Chupin

With more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, Executive Chef Yann Chupin is a veteran of the industry with a wide variety of experience in the kitchens of hotels, resorts and restaurants. His experience also includes serving as the private chef for the French Minister of Defense in Paris.

Following his father’s steps in the kitchen, Chef Chupin is a second-generation chef and began his love for the culinary world at the age of 15. His father was a chef in France, but his mother’s cooking was what truly inspired him to love the craft itself. Among his many accreditations and accolades, Chef Chupin was the winner of the Manager of the Year Award by the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association in 2012. He graduated from La Roseray Culinary Institute in Angers, France.

Fabien Gnemmi

Fabien Gnemmi brings his passion for cuisine and a unique culinary perspective to his position as Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. In this role, he oversees the operations for Bleuwater, Great Bay Lounge, Coconut Cove, Sails, banquets, in-room dining, garde manger, pastry, employee cafeteria and all culinary operations for the Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. Originally from France, Gnemmi learned to love the art of cookery at a young age and credits his family with cultivating his culinary talents.

Daniel Mangione

Pastry chef for The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, two-and-a-half years after providing acclaimed culinary leadership at the resort’s 2009 opening celebration. For Mangione, the appointment is the culmination of a career in which he has directed pastry teams for several leading global dining locations within The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

A native of California with advanced degrees in baking and pastry arts, Mangione joins The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain from The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. and The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown, where he served as executive pastry chef, directing pastry operations for multiple restaurants including the award-winning West End Bistro by Eric Ripert, and leading pastry efforts for more than 22,000 square-feet of banquet space.

Xavier Salomon

Fourth in his family, and only second in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to earn the title Maître Cuisinier de France (French Master Chef), Xavier Salomon is a fifth-generation restaurateur with a passion for food that began at his family’s kitchen table in Savoie, France. His European tenure includes training under Jo Rostang at his Michelin three-star restaurant La Bonne Auberge in Antibes, France. Chef Salomon continued his education at Le Bateau Ivre in Courcheval and graduated from Thonon les Bains Culinary Academy. In 1991 he joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Aspen and in 1996, he moved to Atlanta as executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead.

Chef Salomon joined The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in July 2001, where he oversees all dining experiences at the Northern California resort, including the signature fine dining restaurant Navio, The Conservatory Lounge, The Library, and 17,000-square-feet of banquet and wedding suites and ballrooms.

Rainer Zinngrebe

Rainer Zinngrebe has had an illustrious 33-year career full of awards and recognition. In his current role as Vice President Culinary, Corporate Chef Luxury Brands, he heads the global culinary innovation, strategy and execution for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC and Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. A German national, Rainer has inspired Ritz-Carlton chefs the world-over not only to achieve excellence - but to cook with passion, relevance and with the cultural preferences of their guests in mind. His culinary leadership expertise spans 27 countries including the USA, Canada, China, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Egypt and Qatar

Chef Frederic Morineau has served as Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman since 2008, overseeing one of the largest culinary divisions within The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company worldwide. In his current role, Chef Frederic also heads the Caribbean’s most prestigious annual culinary event – Cayman Cookout – with Eric Ripert and an incomparable roster of world-famous chefs. For more than a decade, Chef Frederic has presided in some of the finest kitchens in Europe and the Caribbean. He joined The Ritz-Carlton in 1996, working and overseeing culinary divisions in many premium Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts including those in Buckhead, Atlanta and Sarasota, to name a few. In 2011, Chef Frederic was invited into the ranks of the elite Maîtres Cuisiniers de France; presently he is one of two chefs in the Caribbean to have achieved such distinction. Chef Frederic was honored with the Gold Standard Award and the J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence in 2014, prestigious awards bestowed to top employees across the brand for exemplifying outstanding performance and demonstrating service excellence.

Chef de Cuisine Rick Laughlin was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His love for food led him to culinary school at The Le Cordon Bleu, Scottsdale, Arizona. After graduation, he joined the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale followed by the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman.

In 2002, Rick joined The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida where he held various positions in the hotel. In 2006 he joined the opening team for The AAA Five Diamond, Salt Restaurant located at the The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island. In 2010, Rick took over as Chef de Cuisine and continues to strive for perfection. As Chef de Cuisine, Rick is redefining Contemporary American Cuisine with his philosophy of “Keeping flavors familiar and most importantly, keeping the integrity of the ingredients”. Chef Rick’s innovative ideas, contemporary techniques, and integration of salts from around the world have taken Salt Restaurant to new heights.

Chef Logan oversees all pastry and dessert operations at the Resort. She began her career on a hotels in Las Vegas, Maui and Great Exuma. She has also worked as pastry chef at the Valley View Casino and the Grand del Mar Resort. A graduate of the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in New York, Chef Melissa brings her strengths in specialty cakes, baking and pastry applications and chocolate work to Cayman Cookout.

Gavin Pera

As chef de cuisine of The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale’s Burlock Coast, Gavin Pera (33), relies heavily on the bounty of local farmers and fishermen, preferring to partner up with local purveyors and artisans to spotlight the abundance that South Florida has to offer. His menu for the soon-to-open new restaurant at the waterfront hotel – slated to open November 2015 – promises unique tableside craft with a touch of flare and an unwavering attention to detail.

No stranger to the kitchen, Pera’s passion for the culinary arts began at an early age, in large part due to his grandmother. Upon graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Miami, Pera sought to work with other talented chefs, cooking his way across Florida and the Caribbean. From a Chef de Partie, to a Sous Chef, to a Restaurant Chef, and most recently a Chef de Cuisine, Pera has provided his talents to several luxury resorts such as The Ritz-Carlton hotels of South Beach, Sarasota, St. Thomas, and Loews Don Cesar.

Chef Pera has maintained a Four Diamond Rating for six consecutive years and placed fourth in 2010 for food quality within The Ritz-Carlton Hotels. While at the Loews Don Cesar’s Maritana Grille in 2014, he was a recipient of the Diroña Award for excellence from Distinguished Restaurants of North America and was ranked number one in food quality throughout the Loews Hotel Company.

With more than fifteen years of professional cooking and kitchen management experience, Chef Pera exemplifies stellar leadership qualities, a dedication to team building, and a passion for conscientious sourcing and sustainability.

Thomas Seifried

Chef Thomas Seifried oversees the Caribbean’s only AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Blue by Eric Ripert, as Chef de Cuisine. Starting his career in Europe, the Austrian-born chef has presided and worked in some of the world’s most respected restaurants. He joined The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman in 2013 after serving as Chef de Cuisine of Sand at The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya in China. In his current role, Chef Thomas works under the guidance of Chef Eric Ripert of New York’s famed Le Bernardin to create an unforgettable dining experience at Blue by Eric Ripert.

Sven Wunram

With more than 10 years of international experience, Chef Sven perfected his skills, repertoire and distinctive style while working at two and three-starred Michelin restaurants in his native Germany.

Prior to joining the team of the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, he served as Head Chef for the JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong and as Sous Chef with The Ritz Carlton Hotel Guangzhou for a total of four years.

Prior moving to Asia, his roles included positions at The Ritz Carlton Wolfsburg in both of its Restaurants “The Grill” and the fine dining Restaurant “Aqua”.

As award-winning chef, Sven took home numerous prizes from various national and international competitions and championships. His talent lies in a broad band of culinary skills accumulated over the years on his journey through different cultures and cuisines.

Participating Chefs

Dylan Benoit

Dylan Benoit is the Chef for Market Street Group here in Cayman. A Canadian native, Dylan has been moving around the world traveling and working for the past decade exploring major food destinations to expand his knowledge of cuisine and culture. He documents his travels in recipes, stories and photos to showcase incredible food and the adventures undergone to find it. Follow Dylan on Instagram @dylanmbenoit for up to date food & travel photos from Cayman and abroad. 

Tony Biggs

From cooking with family to cooking for royalty, Tony Biggs has a world view of the culinary scene. He brings this knowledge and experience to the table as director of culinary arts for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. In this role, he focuses on expanding the brand's culinary vision and heightening its position in the culinary community. He also works alongside our sales team and in the Education & Culinary Center to help customers interpret the use of premium beef on menus and in meat cases around the globe. Biggs has 35 years of international hospitality management experience, most recently as executive chef for the royal family in Jordan. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he also worked at Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans, Casino 5-Star Resorts in the Philippines, Tokyo America Club in Japan and Hyatt Hotels in the U.S. and Caribbean. Biggs has appeared on Food Network's "Chopped," the "Late Show with David Letterman" and for nine years on a cooking show in Savannah, Georgia. He's currently writing a book about his culinary journey, starting in his hometown of Cohasset, Mass. In his spare time, Biggs enjoys golf, skiing and cooking at home for his wife, Candy, and their two children.

Clay Conley

Chef Clay Conley opened the doors to Buccan with partners and friends Sam Slattery and Oliver “Piper” Quinn in 2011. Years of planning, and decades of working, traveling, reading, eating, drinking, and cooking culminated into this space and menu. Buccan represents what and how Clay loves to cook – small plates with big flavors. The raving accolades that resulted from his realized vision included two James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef: South, numerous Best New Restaurant awards, and growth….in February 2012, he opened Imoto (transl: little sister), an intimate, Asian-focused extension of Buccan.

Clay takes his surroundings seriously. Each city and country that he visits or lived in influences his palate, style and techniques. The hallmarks of his favorite dishes are bright, fresh and balanced flavors, and it’s no surprise that Asian cuisine accentuates these points. While living and working in Tokyo, Clay was influenced by the clean flavors of traditional Japanese cooking. Subsequent travel in China, Thailand, and Singapore sharpened the chef’s palate and interest. Other travel and work in Europe, South America and Asia broadened his exposure to global gastronomy, ingredients and technique. His “progressive American” approach at buccan blends the classic comfort of his New England childhood, the rustic of the boldness Mediterranean, and the sensual influence of Latin America. Highlighting contrasting tastes, textures, and temperatures, Clay applies his flair and sense of balance to traditional flavor combinations and dishes.

A native of rural Maine, Clay grew up tending his family’s orchard and livestock. In the extremes of the New England landscape, he was introduced to the logic of seasonality, the significance of origin and the beauty of fresh ingredients. At 13, the future chef got his first taste of the business, volunteering to work in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Pursuing his calling, he eventually became a protégé of Todd English. In 2005, he was selected by Mandarin Oriental, Miami, to run the kitchen at its signature AAA Five Diamond Award restaurant, Azul.

The team’s business continues to grow. In 2014, due to increasing demand, Clay and partners launched Buccan Catering, a full-fledged catering division for cocktail parties, receptions, luncheons, dinners and other events held on or off the restaurants’ premises. The highly lauded Sandwich Shop at Buccan, offering lunch only counter service, opened in December 2014.

Chef Clay and his restaurants have been recognized in national and international media outlets including Travel + Leisure, Boston Globe, New York Times, NY Post, Conde Nast Traveler, Robb Report, Fodors, Miami Herald, Complot, USA Today, Travel Channel and Wall Street Journal. Buccan is listed as Forbes Travel Guide’s “hottest spot” in Palm Beach, Esquire’s “Where to Eat in South FL Now,” OpenTable Diners’ Choice “Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants in America,” and has received “Best Restaurant” accolades from all area publications. Clay has been honored with two James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef: South and was listed as a “Top 25 Best Chefs of The American South.” He has cooked on Emeril’s Florida, featured on both Food Network and Cooking Channel, PBS's Victory Garden, The Today Show and Fox and Friends.

George Fowler

George first started cooking at the age of 15 in Durham, England, working in major hotels in the UK before heading over to the Islands at the age of 26. George chefed over the next 30 years in Tortola, Antigua, Jamaica, Aruba, Bahamas and St. Martin with a year in 1993 spent in Moscow, Russia opening a new hotel. He then moved to Grand Cayman where he opened Calypso Grill in West Bay. When asked about his philosophy for preparing great food, George replies, “I believe that the best meals are fresh and uncomplicated with an emphasis on enhancing the natural aromas and flavours that are already present.”

Bernard Guillas

Maître Cusiniers de France and award-winning chef, Bernard Guillas, joined La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club Inc. as Executive Chef in 1994. Guillas is responsible for directing the resort's three restaurants and all catering operations for the Club and the Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the landmark Marine Room restaurant. For this chef, it is the magic of adding unusual seasoning to titillate the palate. Born into a family of butchers, bakers, and restauranteurs, Guillas' Britannic upbringing was influenced by his daily exposure to fine cuisine.

Tyson Grant

One of the established stars of Tampa Bay’s restaurant scene, Tyson Grant has established Parkshore Grill as downtown St. Petersburg’s premiere dining destination. Self-taught and widely traveled, with tours in Washington D.C. and the Turks & Caicos Islands, Tyson first won acclaim at The Grill at Feather Sound in Clearwater, where his vision for contemporizing American Cuisine won him the award for Best Chef of Tampa Bay 2001. Previous to launching Parkshore Grill, Tyson led the kitchen at O’Bistro, a local favorite known for its straightforward flavors and innovation. Parkshore Grill, now in its 8th year of business, boasts the accredited Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the 4th year acknowledging their well versed wine list and collection as well as the Florida Trend Golden Spoon Award in addition to many other accolades of Best Contemporary Cuisine and Best Sidewalk Dining and having been awarded once more as Tampa Bay Magazine’s Best Chef of Tampa Bay 2013 and 2014. The menu at Parkshore Grill reflects Tyson’s respect for our environment serving Niman Ranch meats, sustainably caught fish and seafood and organic, local produce.

Keith Griffin

With over 30 years experience in the Hospitality Industry, Executive Chef Keith Griffin is one of Cayman’s most renowned chefs. As the Past President of Cayman Culinary Society and Director of the Caribbean Culinary Federation, Keith is the Manager of the Cayman Islands National Culinary Team. He is Certified as a Culinary Judge for International Competition and Vice Consular Culinaire of the Chaine des Rotisseures (Cayman).He has travelled extensively as a Culinary Ambassador for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and has won numerous awards in national culinary competitions.

After nine successful years as a popular local Restauranteur, Keith is now focusing on teaching, cooking demonstrations and Personal Chef Services.

Phillipe Haddad

Philippe Haddad brings 36 years of global, culinary and hospitality experience to Cape Dutch, offering his innovative cooking techniques and recipe creations along with his life-of-the-party character and passion for food and wine. Prior to joining the Cape Dutch team, Haddad starred as guest chef of a different concept from restaurateur Justin Anthony, Yebo, for the restaurant's Sunday brunch series, in addition to leading the kitchen at F&B Atlanta as executive chef for three years. A Bruges, Belgium native, Haddad began his culinary journey as a teenager, when he exhibited more than a passing interest in the culinary arts. At a young age, Haddad was accepted to the most renowned hotel institute in Belgium, Hotel School Ter Duinen after enrolling in a preliminary cooking school at age 14. Haddad's passion and elite training allowed him to find work in a myriad of regions and countries such as Belgium, the south of France, the United Kingdom, Bermuda, the West Indies, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United States. Along the way, Haddad gained insight into the many customs and cultures that surround each country's culinary traditions.

Vidyadhara Shetty

Executive Chef Vidyadhara Shetty with 28 years of experience, orchestrates culinary feats, including superb banquets served in luxurious surroundings and with undeniable panache.

Born in Mumbai, India his passion for cooking began as a child spending time in the kitchen of the famous Udupi restaurants, as typically Shetty’s in Mumbai are known for.

Chef Shetty says, “A good chef should always have his heart in the art”. His secret ingredient remains his reliance on the usage of seasonal produce, which he claims inspires his style of cooking. “I can trust them to impart the best flavour and quality which are the basic requirements to prepare a delicious dish.” Chef Shetty looks forward to taking many more guests on an exciting and exotic culinary journey at Blue Cilantro.

Michael Solomonov

Born in Israel, Chef Michael Solomonov grew up in Pittsburgh, and calls Philadelphia home. As a 2011 James Beard Award winner for "Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic," Chef Solomonov is the executive chef at Zahav, Philadelphia's renowned modern Israeli restaurant. Known for his extraordinary skill at transforming simple foods into artful culinary masterpieces, he is widely regarded as one of the city's top young chefs. Chef Solomonov is also a partner in Percy Street Barbecue, a Southern inspired barbecue restaurant, known for their smoked meats. Recently, Chef Solomonov was announced as a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef in the James Beard Awards.

Sandy Tuason

Over the course of his 25 year career, Tuason has worked in New York City as Executive Sous Chef at the 5 Star Four Seasons Hotel, in the Caribbean at the 5 Star Four Seasons Resort Nevis and in Hawaii as Executive Chef at the 4 Star Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. While in Hawaii, Tuason hosted two James Beard Celebrity Chef Dinners with Chefs Jonathan Waxman, Michael Symon, Tyler Florence and Ming Tsai. Some of the highlights of his career include stints at New York City’s Le Cirque, Park Avenue Café and Sign of the Dove. Additionally, he has worked numerous dinners at the James Beard House in New York City, and worked with Chefs Daniel Boulud, David Burke and Andrew D’Amico.

We are excited to see how his dishes will evolve to combine local island flavors during his time here in the culinary capital of the Caribbean. He has a passion for food and working collaboratively in his kitchen.

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