The National Trust for the Cayman Islands recently held the first in a series of Traditional Cooking Class Soirees, at the West Indies Wine Company at Camana Bay.
The event, which will be held quarterly, featured Ortanique chef and owner Cindy Hutson, alongside executive chef Sara Mair. On the menu was traditionally inspired Caymanian fare, including snapper ceviche with local scotch bonnets and citrus juices, West Indian curried crab cakes, and jerk chicken penne pasta – one of the most popular dishes at Ortanique.
While Cindy and Sara demonstrated how to prepare and cook each dish at home, guests enjoyed a sample serving of each dish, paired with a selection of wines, courtesy of the boutique wine store West Indies Wine Company.
The snapper ceviche was paired with Long Boat Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, while the crab cakes were paired with a 2011 Riesling, Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen ‘Eroica’. The jerk chicken penne pasta was paired perfectly with Ed Meades Mendocino County, a 2009 Zinfandel, Petit Syrah and Syrah from California.
The National Trust has been hosting traditional cooking classes for a number years; however, these have been much smaller, more intimate affairs, typically accommodating around 12 to 14 guests. Danielle Vernon, development and marketing coordinator for the National Trust said that the aim of the Soiree is to incorporate the cooking class concept into a much larger, social event, offering guests an opportunity to enjoy a live cooking demonstration in a classy, yet relaxing setting.
“Our Soiree is a larger event with more fanfare in a larger setting on a quarterly basis which can accommodate around 40 to 50 people, whereas our usual cooking class is much smaller and usually indoors,” Vernon explained.
“Regular monthly cooking classes offer a more hands on approach to cooking. Guests have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the chefs and even assist with some of the preparation during the class. It’s a rich learning experience.
“Cooking demonstrations at the Soiree are on a larger scale, may include more than one chef and don’t really allow for any hands on assistance from the audience. Soirees are a new avenue of entertainment as opposed to the average night out at a restaurant, bar and club. It’s the perfect night out for girlfriends, couples and for those looking to meet someone with similar interests.”
Each Soiree will feature chefs from different restaurants across Cayman, ensuring a fresh approach to each event.
“Ortanique is known for its Caribbean flavour and we thought who better to kick the Soiree off into high gear than Chef Cindy Hutson and Chef Sara Mair,” Vernon said. “Both are truly talented in and outside of the kitchen and both have such a fun loving spirit. Given the popularity of Ortanique’s menu as well as the charming chefs, we were confident that they would provide us with an entertaining and educational demonstration that people would be talking about for months to come.”
The National Trust is a non-profit organisation that protects places of historic and environmental significance across all three islands for future generations. The Soiree is priced at $30 for trust members, $35 for non-members.
“By hosting classes which focus on traditional Caymanian cooking, the Trust aims to preserve and promote a significant part of Cayman’s cultural heritage, which in turn instils national pride in the people of the Cayman Islands,” Vernon said.
The next Soiree will be held in September. Contact the Trust at 749-1121 for details.