SPONSORED If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to peer over Eric Ripert’s shoulder while he prepares fish, toss pizza dough with Spike Mendelsohn, or trade a barb with Anthony Bourdain—among other celebrity chefs—several Surdyk’s employees spent a wine-, food-, and bliss-filled weekend in the Cayman Islands doing just that. The Cayman Cookout, presented by Food & Wine magazine and the Ritz-Carlton, is like summer camp for fans and foodies—spending the days watching, sipping, and tasting (ok, feasting!) on the world’s best food and drink. The event started out with a blast—literally—from tapas master and culinary innovator José Andrés riding a jet-pack through the Caribbean and onto the beach to demonstrate his paella, which the Cheese Shop features a few times a month. When asked why he chose such a thrilling entrance, the chef said, “I wanted to show my daughters they can do anything!”
The afternoon brought a demonstration from 2012 James Beard Outstanding Chef, Daniel Humm, on how to best prepare lobster, segueing into lunch and his technique made world-famous at the NYC restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, and paired with stunning Napa Valley wines. But it isn’t all sunshine and food, the wine and spirits get their due as well, with pairing classes taught by Food & Wine editor Ray Isle, bourbon snowcones, and rum tasting with master mixologist Adam Seger, including his own unique and exotic spirit Hum, which Surdyk’s is excited to bring into the store for customers and to use in signature drinks.
The second day featured a catamaran ride (with a stop off at “Stingray City”) to a private party on Rum Point Beach, featuring “Burgers in Paradise” from many of the celebrity chefs, including a snapper burger from Ripert. The weekend culminated with the meal-of-a-lifetime at the Cookout Gala Dinner, a seven-course feast prepared by the celebrity chefs, their teams of chefs and sommeliers, all while watching the chefs work their magic on a live kitchen feed. It was led by José Andres, who has quite the exuberance for people and food, and each dish was inspected by Ripert. These guys are friends, after all. Each course was delivered with the utmost attention and care. That type of passion for food and drink is contagious—and a shared feeling among Surdyk’s staff —leaving us with a passion to bring the best of the best to you in Minnesota! Cheers! -Lindsey Coleman, @surdyksliquor