Last year it was one of the United Kingdom’s best and most acclaimed chefs, Clare Smyth; this year it will be one of the U.K.’s best young chefs, who also happens to be Caymanian.
Slow Food Day 2018, which will happen on April 14 in Camana Bay, will feature 25-year-old guest chef Jack Barwick. Last year he came out on top of a field of 50 of the U.K.’s best young chefs under the age of 29 to win the title of the inaugural “UK Young Chef of the Year 2017” award presented by M Restaurant and Bookatable by Michelin in association with Champagne Pommery.
Slow Food Day, which is a collaboration between Slow Food South Sound, Camana Bay and a hosting restaurant for the dinner, was first established in 2012 as part of what was then known as Cayman Culinary Month. This year’s edition will once again feature a morning market where local chefs team up with local farmers to prepare food made from local ingredients. For a CI$10 fee, guests will be able to receive sample sizes of the dishes from the many participating restaurants.
“We had 16 participating restaurants last year and we expect at least that many this year,” says Dart Real Estate Public Relations Manager Anna Wootton. “We’re also planning some cooking demonstrations and a cooking class for adults, as well a cooking class for young, budding chefs in partnership with Maureen Cubbon and Food Revolution Cayman Islands.”
The evening dinner this year will be hosted by Pani Indian Kitchen and feature the general culinary theme of “India meets Cayman.”
Barwick, who worked in highly acclaimed London restaurants including The Dairy for several years after attending Johnson & Wales University culinary school in Rhode Island, is very familiar with Indian food, having worked closely with some talented Indian chefs at The Brasserie restaurant during his teenage years.
“I love Indian,” he says. “I think I have as much knowledge of Indian [cuisine] as I do with Asian. I’m obsessed with both.”
In addition, Barwick is known for using locally sourced ingredients, a trait that helped him win the Young Chef of the Year Award, which takes into account portion costing as well as dish taste and other factors. He foraged chickweed and sorrel in London parks in the lead-up to the competition, helping him keep food costs down. He says he intends to do the same thing for the Slow Food Day dinner, possibly using the almonds from the local trees — which coincidentally are called Indian almond trees — for the meal.
In the past, Slow Food Day has always featured a celebrity guest chef. In addition to Smyth — who worked for many years as the executive chef at Gordon Ramsay’s 3-star Michelin restaurant in London — previous Slow Food Day dinners have showcased chefs Hugh Acheson, Michael Schwartz, Jonathan Waxman, Edward Lee, Mike Lata, Andrea Reusing, Susan Spicer, Cindy Hutson and Hedy Goldsmith. However, Wootton says guests to this year’s Slow Food Day dinner should expect food that is just as good as those more acclaimed veteran chefs.
“Jack was born and raised in the Cayman Islands, has cooked here for many years and he knows the availability of local ingredients, their taste profiles, and how to work with them to create amazing dishes,” Wootton says. “This will actually offer him a great advantage over our previous Slow Food Day chefs. And since he’s currently on island, he has already started gathering ingredients that can be preserved for the event two months before it happens.”
Wootton also says Pani is an excellent choice for the venue.
“In addition to Jack being a whiz in the kitchen with Indian flavours, the Market Street Group has a large contingent of chefs from India who know how to prepare authentic Indian cuisine,” she says. “And Pani is one of the hottest new restaurants on the island right now.”
Tickets to the dinner, which are available online, cost US$150 and include a welcome cocktail and wines sponsored by BlackBeard’s/Cayman Distributors, a family style farm-to-table meal and gratuities. For more information about the Slow Food Day events or about joining Slow Food, email: [email protected]