local food

Insider Guides: Local tips from paradise with Alex Cowan

ALEX, WHAT’S HAPPENIN’? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHAT WAS IS LIKE GROWING UP HERE IN PARADISE?

Cayman is definitely an ideal place to grow up. The sense of community while growing up here is my favourite part. “Everyone knows everyone” is a saying you will hear a lot from Caymanians and this is true! Cayman is such a small, tight-knit community and you are not far from the support of family and friends. The safety and beauty of Cayman along with its people make it a perfect place to live and grow.

YOU’RE RIGHT! SO TELL US WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT CAYMAN?

The people of course! There are very few places in the world where you will witness a huge diversity of people from many different backgrounds living together in harmony. We truly are the most welcoming people on earth. We like to call that “Caymankind.” The ability for our people to welcome everyone to our beautiful islands is unique and truly a testament to our lifestyle and attitude.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU SEE ON THIS ISLAND SINCE BEING A KID?

The continuous development. Cayman (especially Grand Cayman) has developed tremendously over the years. The amount of new buildings going up all over the islands with older buildings being removed, has definitely changed how Cayman looks and feels. I remember as a child thinking five stories was high and I now find myself walking past high rises. The amount of development that has happened in Cayman over the years is astonishing and has contributed to our tourism product greatly.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO HERE? AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB/LIFE?

I consider myself an Entrepreneur. I own a few businesses on Island including a 24/7 fitness center and a rideshare web application, which I am hoping to launch very soon. I am also currently doing some part-time work in Real Estate which I am really enjoying. The ability to work on my own schedule is priceless. To do so in one of the most beautiful places on Earth is an amazing bonus.

WE ASSUME YOU HAVE VISITORS, YES? TELL US WHERE YOU WOULD TAKE THE VISITORS FOR SOME DRINKS AND GOOD FOOD?

I would definitely take my visitors to the north side of the island. Rum Point is the perfect spot to have a few frozen mudslides while relaxing in a beach hammock. The drive up also allows for great sightseeing. Back in George Town I would take my visitors to Cayman Cabana, which is a fabulous restaurant on the waterfront serving nice cold cocktails and fresh fish caught by the fishermen who bring their daily catch in right beside the restaurant! They also have a huge selection of unique local dishes. The final place I would take my visitors would be to the northwest point of the island to a bar and restaurant named Cracked Conch Macabuca. You may not be surprised by this but their Cracked Conch (fried conch) is the best on Island. Pair it with a nice cold local beer and a great local bar atmosphere, it’s tough to beat!

AND WHAT ABOUT THE SUNSETS? WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO?

I have seen some spectacular sunsets on Seven Mile Beach. However, Northwest Point just edges Seven Mile Beach in having the best sunsets on Island. Have a happy hour drink at the bar at Macabuca and watch nature put on a show!

EVERYONE LOVES A NICE DAY OFF, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOURS?

My ideal days off are spent on the boat on the North Sound. You can’t beat a day on the water! Get some morning fishing in and then spend the afternoon at Rum Point and Starfish Point. Once anchored open the cooler, grab your drink of choice and relax under the sun. Island life at its finest!

PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE LOCAL FOOD - WHERE DO YOU GO FOR YOUR FAVOURITE LOCAL DISH?

Vivine’s Kitchen in East End is the hot spot for traditional Cayman food. It’s tough to choose a favourite local dish but Vivine’s has it all from Stew Conch to Cayman Style Beef to Cassava Cake for dessert. You name it she has it. Interestingly, her restaurant is her home! Vivine and her cooks prepare island delicacies from her own kitchen. The servers then bring the food out back where her guests are seated around tablesset out in her own backyard. This is a must do for a very traditional Caymankind experience.

WOW! HER PLACE SOUNDS AMAZING! ANY OTHER ADVICE FOR TOURISTS? AS A LOCAL YOU MUST GIVE THEM SOME GOOD LOCAL TIPS! READY AND GO!

Tip #1: Buy and Support Local! Local farmers have so much to offer from fresh fruit and vegetables to fresh beef, pork, honey, hot pepper sauce and everything in between. Get directions for the Farmers Market at the Cricket Grounds and head straight there. Similarly, try our local beers and liquor! We have a lot of great local products to offer.

Tip #2: Mosquito repellent and sunscreen are your best friends. Load up on these two supplies for a more comfortable experience.

Tip #3: Don’t leave out our sister islands! Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are only a short plane trip away and offer so many different activities including caving, rock climbing and fishing. Exploring the caves in Cayman Brac and spending an afternoon on Owen Island in Little Cayman would be the perfect way to end your trip to Cayman.

The Best Brunches in Grand Cayman

Brunch. The word is a whimsical neologism combining the words 'breakfast' and 'lunch'. A pairing as immediately pleasing to the ear, as the pairing of 'eggs' and 'bacon' is to the palette. The idea originated in England in the late 1800s by English author, and presumably heavy-drinker, Guy Beringer, in an essay appropriately titled: 'Brunch: A Plea'.

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In the essay, Beringer explains that the intention of brunch is to share anecdotes of the previous night's shenanigans over a spicy Bloody Mary, a refreshing Mimosa or both. He goes on to explain that a lively brunch affair aims to nurse the Saturday-sin-induced headache and satisfy the sometimes insatiable hangover-hunger for food AND company. This, he argues, can be accomplished with a delicious meal and a generous helping of 'hair-of-the-dog'.

The brunch has since evolved. In Cayman, though still keeping to these old brunch traditions, a brunch now also serves as the go-to manner in which to celebrate special occasions - birthday brunches, mother's day brunches, engagement brunches, the very many 'farewell' or 'welcome back to island' brunches. Then there are also the (slightly) less raucous baby shower brunches and in recent years, the newly popularised divorce-party brunches. What's the dress-code you may ask? Well, it's a Sunday brunch, it should go without saying, that it is to be attended in ones Sunday (very) best!

In honour of the tradition and history of the brunch, we've selected, in no specific order, our tried and tested favourite places to brunch in Cayman:

1. Seven at The Ritz

Elegant and upmarket yet in keeping with the laid-back island-style one comes to expect of our Caribbean holiday. Wash down expertly crafted cuisine with a golden glass of French champagne while taking in the 180-degree views of Seven Mile Beach from the terrace or the glamorous dining room.

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Photo by Cayman compass

Photo by Cayman compass

2. Luca

Italian restaurant, LUCA, offers guest the choice of enjoying brunch in the luxury and comfort of the sleek and sophisticated dining room or on their patio overlooking the infinity pool and the jewel-toned waters of the Caribbean. The brunch menu includes authentic Italian dishes, prepared simply and with fresh ingredients. Enjoy your delicious Italian fare with bottomless Prosecco - the Italian way.

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3. Mizu

For those with a taste for the slightly more exotic, Mizu delights with a brunch menu that showcases delicious Asian flavours and table service - a welcome change from the more traditional buffet-style brunch setup that one comes to expect on the island.

The menu includes Sushi, dim sum, rice and noodle dishes like fried rice, Nasi Goreng, Singapore fried noodles and Kung Pao. Traditional Japanese rice wine or 'Sake', well-drinks and house wines are all included in the all-you-can-eat brunch price. Mizu offers a five-star experience on a cheap and cheerful budget. The interior is reminiscent of an upmarket new york nightclub with impressive light features set atmospherically low, high-shine sequinned pillows and a striking Japanese graffiti mural that acts as a talking piece and draws the eye in. All-in-all an all-around enjoyable experience and a sure-favourite on our list.

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4. Ave at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

Come with the whole family or sneak away for a romantic dinner at Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa’s Ave restaurant to experience fresh local seafood and produce infused into coastal Mediterranean recipes. Our Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca has crafted an approachable menu featuring seasonal plates that appeal to your whole party...

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5. Ferdinand’s at The Westin Grand Cayman

With free-flowing sparkling wine, a Margarita Bar and a wide variety of mouth-watering Caribbean and international food stations, Westin Grand Cayman's Ferdinand's has safely secured its spot on our list. Every Sunday, guests are invited to enjoy a lavish feast of breakfast items, pasta options, cured, slow-cooked or braised meats from the carving station, dim sum and sushi, a selection of hot dishes and near sinful desserts. Come indulge in classic Caribbean cuisine in the casual-cool interior or on their outdoor patio while taking in the breathtaking sea views, every Sunday from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm.

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Photo by Cayman compass

Photo by Cayman compass

6. Anchor & Den

Taking the cake, both literally and figuratively, is the Anchor & Den Brunch at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort. Their signature Boulangerie Brunch includes globally-inspired dishes and bottomless glasses of bubbles served in a Nautical-themed dining area which is at once playful and contemporary. Each Sunday, the area is transformed into a treasure trove of unique food stops - a chocolate display, raclette cheese station, pop-up cocktail bar, fresh juice bar, gelato and sushi stops and a charcuterie carving station, to name but a few. It is, in our opinion, impossible NOT to have a good time at this brunch.

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The Best Places To Get Local Food in Cayman

The Best Places To Get Local Food in Cayman

As the avid traveller knows, if you want to eat well, eat local.

There are many reasons to support local food establishments and farmers and enjoying locally sourced foods. Not only does it taste better, but it is also healthier. While local produce is allowed to ripen naturally, and so retains its nutrients, food that travels long distances is often picked before it’s ripe and chemically treated to survive the long journeys.

Insider Guides: Sean Hennings

Insider Guides: Sean Hennings

I was born in Trinidad to a Caymanian father and Trinidadian mother. We moved to Cayman Brac when I was around 5. My parents then came to Grand Cayman to find work and I stayed in the Brac with my grandparents. Eventually my sisters and I moved over to Grand Cayman to join my parents when they settled into jobs and a house. We lived on Shedden Road in an old style Cayman home which is now the site of the building Anderson’s Square. And that’s pretty much where we grew up until my parents bought a “modern” house on Walkers Rd.