“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 inserting a piping sizzling 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 enduring Seven Mile Beach, Tillie’s Restaurant manifests the seaside aesthetic of a bygone period, cradled by the seventies-style glamour of the Palm Heights Hotel. This is Elizabeth Chambers’ favorite place in Grand Cayman and the right setting to share an animated dialogue concerning the native meals scene.
“I have travelled all over the world and have experienced some of the most amazing food, yet I am always blown away by the dishes I experience in the Cayman Islands,” she says, as extra wait workers make their means in the direction of us.
Within a matter of minutes our desk is decked out with a smorgasbord of gastronomic pleasures— candy potato empanadas, tostones, coconut ceviche, crispy sardines… Fresh 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 brief 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 number of dashes of fish sauce). The fantastic 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. CaymanType 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 college that was based by his dad and mom, Michael and Dru Hammer.
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 seaside, nature and, after all, meals.
“Food was always at the heart of my family growing up,” says the Founder and CEO of the wildly well-liked BIRD Bakery in San Antonio and Dallas, and title-carrier of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful Foodie” of 2017. “We are food and wine people— both personally and professionally.”
The vibrant restaurant scene of the Cayman Islands boasts a high quality of fare that’s on par with the key culinary capitals of the world. And the range of the delicacies has ensured that COVID-lockdown was something however boring.
“Family, tradition and food drive me, and we got to merge each of those pleasures by cooking and eating together as a family while abiding by the new government motto, #stayhomecayman. We made lots of banana bread and Chef Britta Bush from Saucha Conscious Living would regularly deliver fresh sourdough bread and home made kombucha.”
Coronavirus restrictions prevented fishers from going out on the water, thus making contemporary seafood unavailable for dwelling cooking, however that didn’t cease the household from having fun with the island’s finest obtainable native fare.
“When we are home in LA, our family eats sushi four times a week; we love fish. In Cayman, my jewel of the sea is conch and we were lucky enough to learn how to catch and prepare the shellfish before the restrictions came into effect. If you were to ask me which restaurant serves the best conch, I would have to say, hands down, Cracked Conch— it is super tender and flavourful there. They also have this incredible beef short rib ravioli, served with a phenomenal truffle and parmesan sea foam emulsion. It’s unique and delicious and one of those dishes that lives on your list of top ten meals in the world.”
Seven, positioned on the Seven Mile Beach-side of the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, is an area favorite with the Hammer youngsters, who benefit from the sushi and Andiamo Gelato for dessert.
“Seven not only has the most delicious Spicy Hamachi Tataki but they also supplied me with my favourite wild-caught salmon that I had been craving since I arrived 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.
As the proprietor of a bakery, Chambers has a extremely refined candy tooth and the sticky toffee pudding at Calypso Grill is outwardly “everything” … higher than any toffee pudding that she has had within the best 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 components with such profundity that one is ready to vicariously set up a sensory connection— this capability certainly served her nicely as a visitor decide on three Food Network reveals.
I additionally study that, when taking a break from her work as a culinary entrepreneur and “professional foodie”, Chambers workout routines her social goal in meals associated philanthropy.
During 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, an area charity that was attempting to serve the households’ wants, was over-extended and under-funded.
“The Cayman Food Bank’s operating costs were up to $8000 per week and they only had funding through to mid-July,” explains Chambers. “We made it our priority to help the organisation to continue to feed these families who had been hit really hard by COVID-19.”
In order to facilitate donations, Chambers and her associates launched a charitable initiative referred to as Open Palm, and set to work, planning an Instagram Live fundraiser— The Open Palm x Torch’d charity exercise occasion with celeb 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 dwell on a big display planted beachside at The Palm Heights Hotel. 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 in a position to donate simply in need of $100,000 in addition to a major quantity of non-perishable meals gadgets to the Cayman Food Bank. Mission completed…
Elizabeth Chambers is a quintessential foodie with a really massive coronary heart. It is not any shock that she would join so profoundly with the Cayman Islands’ eclectic epicurean vibe. While stunning and polished on the skin— the true essence of those islands is in a novel sprinkle of CaymanType that may’t be discovered wherever else.