“What do you say?”
Elizabeth Chambers observes her 5-year previous daughter Harper, who sits confidently between us, nicely versed in restaurant etiquette, regardless of her younger age. A waiter smiles, gently putting a piping scorching house-made ricotta and mozzarella, Parmesan white pizza pie on the desk and the kid extends a well mannered thanks, reciprocating with a real smile.
Tucked away behind primrose umbrellas on the long-lasting Seven Mile Seaside, Tillie’s Restaurant manifests the seaside aesthetic of a bygone period, cradled by the seventies-style glamour of the Palm Heights Hotel. That is Elizabeth Chambers’ favorite place in Grand Cayman and the right setting to share an animated dialogue concerning the native meals scene.
“I’ve travelled all around the world and have skilled among the most wonderful meals, but I’m all the time blown away by the dishes I expertise within the Cayman Islands,” she says, as extra wait workers make their method in the direction of us.
Inside a matter of minutes our desk is decked out with a smorgasbord of gastronomic pleasures— candy potato empanadas, tostones, coconut ceviche, crispy sardines… Recent Caribbean fare with a contemporary twist, impressed by the native produce, farms and variety of Grand Cayman.
“The Tillie’s cheeseburger will change your life!” Chambers takes a chunk of the restaurant’s in-house mix of prime meats, together with quick rib, rib eye, and filet mignon, topped off with onions caramelised in beef drippings, cheese, home made pickles, and “Tillie’s sauce” (a home mix of ketchup, home made mayo, yellow mustard, pickle brine, and seasoned with a couple of dashes of fish sauce). The great thing about this burger is within the flavour and high quality of the meat.
The grounding that Chambers consciously instils in little Harper is what initially endeared her to her husband, actor, Armie Hammer. CaymanKind is what they name it within the Cayman Islands— a trait she attributes to his early upbringing as a pupil at Grand Cayman’s Grace Christian Academy, a non-denominational Christian faculty that was based by his father, Michael.
A March go to to the Cayman Islands would evolve into an prolonged trip for the household of 4. With borders closed because of the pandemic, Chambers, Hammer and their youngsters, Harper and Ford, had the chance to unwind and join over easy pleasures— the seashore, nature and, after all, meals.
“Meals was all the time on the coronary heart of my household rising up,” says the Founder and CEO of the wildly standard BIRD Bakery in San Antonio and Dallas, and title-carrier of Folks Journal’s “Most Stunning Foodie” of 2017. “We’re meals and wine folks— each personally and professionally.”
The colourful restaurant scene of the Cayman Islands boasts a high quality of fare that’s on par with the foremost culinary capitals of the world. And the range of the delicacies has ensured that COVID-lockdown was something however boring.
“Household, custom and meals drive me, and we acquired to merge every of these pleasures by cooking and consuming collectively as a household whereas abiding by the brand new authorities motto, #stayhomecayman. We made a lot of banana bread and Chef Britta Bush from Saucha Conscious Living would recurrently ship recent sourdough bread and hand-crafted kombucha.”
Coronavirus restrictions prevented fishers from going out on the water, thus making recent seafood unavailable for house cooking, however that didn’t cease the household from having fun with the island’s finest out there native fare.
“Once we are house in LA, our household eats sushi 4 instances every week; we love fish. In Cayman, my jewel of the ocean is conch and we had been fortunate sufficient to learn to catch and put together the shellfish earlier than the restrictions got here into impact. In case you had been to ask me which restaurant serves the perfect conch, I must say, palms down, Cracked Conch— it’s tremendous tender and flavourful there. Cracked Conch additionally has this unimaginable beef quick rib ravioli, served with probably the most wonderful truffles and Parmesan emulsion. It jogs my memory of one thing that I’d eat at a swanky restaurant in Tribeca.”
“Seven not solely has probably the most scrumptious Spicy Hamachi Tataki however additionally they provided me with my favorite wild-caught salmon that I had been craving since I arrived right here,” says Chambers, effervescent with gastronomic ardour as she proceeds to explain Seven’s Crispy Octopus, made with bacon fats in a white bean ragout.
Because the proprietor of a bakery, Chambers has a extremely refined candy tooth and the sticky toffee pudding at Calypso Grill is outwardly “every part” … higher than any toffee pudding that she has had within the most interesting eating places in London. I take psychological observe.
I’ve discovered in a short time that if Elizabeth Chambers enjoys a meal, she is ready to break down the flavours into their distinct elements with such profundity that one is ready to vicariously set up a sensory connection— this skill absolutely served her nicely as a visitor decide on three Meals Community reveals.
I additionally be taught that, when taking a break from her work as a culinary entrepreneur and “skilled foodie”, Chambers workouts her social objective in meals associated philanthropy.
Throughout her prolonged keep in Cayman, Chambers and associates, Tami Maines and Gabriella Khalil who had been additionally quarantining on-island, started to listen to of native households who had been struggling to place wholesome meals on their tables in the course of the pandemic. The Cayman Food Bank, a neighborhood charity that was making an attempt to serve the households’ wants, was over-extended and under-funded.
“The Cayman Meals Financial institution’s working prices had been as much as $8000 per week they usually solely had funding via to mid-July,” explains Chambers. “We made it our precedence to assist the organisation to proceed to feed these households who had been hit actually arduous by COVID-19.”
So as to facilitate donations, Chambers and her associates launched a charitable initiative referred to as Open Palm, and set to work, planning an Instagram Stay fundraiser— The Open Palm x Torch’d charity exercise occasion with superstar coach, Isaac Boots.
On the day of the occasion, bartenders made speciality Torch’d Bourbon cocktails for the viewers as six members, together with the three associates, adopted Isaac Boots as he streamed stay on a big display planted beachside at The Palm Heights Lodge. Palm Heights and the The Ritz Carlton Residences Grand Cayman additionally supported the initiative by internet hosting a group meals drive.
Thanks to those efforts, Open Palm was capable of donate simply wanting $100,000 in addition to a major quantity of non-perishable meals gadgets to the Cayman Meals Financial institution. Mission achieved…
Elizabeth Chambers is a quintessential foodie with a really giant coronary heart. It’s no shock that she would join so profoundly with the Cayman Islands’ eclectic epicurean vibe. Whereas lovely and polished on the surface— the true essence of those islands is in a singular sprinkle of CaymanKind that may’t be discovered anyplace else.