What's Cookin' Cayman - Cayman's Best Chefs 2016


Candid Q&A's from Cayman's most 'colourful' chefs


Chef Dylan Benoit
Market Street Group

What is the most overrated ingredient?
Beef tenderloin by far. There are so many cuts of meat that are just as tender with exponentially more flavour for a fraction of the price.

Who or what inspires your cooking?
My mother was a huge influence on my cooking, she was an amazing cook and we always had great meals growing up. She exposed me to many things like sushi, tacos, curry, lobster, great steak, and fresh fish. Now as I grow in my career, I am always inspired by cuisines of other cultures.

What famous dish is unique to your hometown or country?
Canada is best known, outside of Canada, for Poutine. A deliciously sinful dish made by crowning crispy golden french fries with squeaky cheese curds and drowning it in rich gravy. Poutine is a serious deal in Canada, with entire restaurants dedicated to this one dish and serving dozens of creative varieties. Fries with shredded cheese and gravy doesn’t count, it's not a proper poutine without real cheese curds!!

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
I think it would be called Street Eats. I consistently find in my travels that street food is way more flavourful, authentic and enjoyable than the majority of restaurant meals.

What is your most humorous chef moment?
While I was working in Toronto years ago, my Chef put a container of raw shellfish under the seat of my truck before I went out of town for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. When I came back, the nauseating smell had permeated into the fabric of the interior and took weeks to get out. When I confronted him about it I was furious and he said “you think I’m going to just give you the weekend off that easy?” and laughed. It wasn’t funny at the time but looking back now I chuckle every time I think about it. Plus he bought me a large bottle of whiskey before I left as a birthday present, so no hard feelings!

Have you ever cooked for anyone famous and if so, who?
I’ve cooked for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, The Beastie Boys and Eugene Levy to name a few.

What condiment can you not do without?
Definitely mustard! I love all kinds of mustard, from all over the world.

What’s your favourite late-night snack?
Poutine, obviously.




Chef Adriano Usini
Ragazzi

What is the most overrated ingredient?
I would say fois gras and truffles.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a professional Chef and what was the first dish you learned to cook?
When I was a kid, I used to help my Grandmother and my Mom make fresh pasta and gnocchi at home.

What condiment can you not do without?
For sure olive oil.

What famous dish is unique to your hometown or country?
Oh boy! I am from Italy! From my hometown there is a kind of ravioli called “casoncelli” which is stuffed with different types of meat and it is then served with sage-butter and parmesan cheese.

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
Shake it and Bake it.

What’s your favourite late-night snack?
A sandwich made with salami from Italy.

Have you ever cooked for anyone famous and if so, who?
I have cooked for Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian ex-prime minister, many times in Milan. And a few years ago I cooked for Olivia Newton John when she came to Ragazzi.

What are your thoughts on GMO and organic produce?

For my entire career as a chef I have always tried to use only natural products and especially those that are in season.

What is your most humorous chef moment?
Probably when one customer asked the waiter if the salmon was local or another one said that the chicken tasted like iguana!




Chef Andrea Turco
Edoardo's

What is the most overrated ingredient?
Different kinds of stock are overrated.

At what age did you know you wanted to be a professional chef and what was the first dish you learned to cook?
From 5 years old I developed an interest in cooking asking my Mom to take me to the local restaurants to see how the chefs were operation in the kitchen. By 8 years old I was already helping my mom in the kitchen, and by 10 I was cooking full meals for my family at home. The first dish I learnt to cook was pasta of all kinds with different sauces.

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
“Pasta e Basta” which means “Pasta...and that’s it!”

What’s your favourite late-night snack?
If I am at home I like to make a quick and simple pasta dish with whatever I have available in the kitchen. Being Italian we can never get enough of our pasta!!!

At what age did you know you wanted to be a professional chef and what was the first dish you learned to cook?
From 5 years old I developed an interest in cooking asking my Mom to take me to the local restaurants to see how the chefs were operation in the kitchen. By 8 years old I was already helping my mom in the kitchen, and by 10 I was cooking full meals for my family at home. The first dish I learnt to cook was pasta of all kinds with different sauces.

What is your most humorous chef moment?
I can write a book about funny moments in the kitchen, but one in particular that sticks out was making truffle balls but filling the centre with wasabi instead of chocolate, then handing them out to the wait staff as a little present!

What are your thoughts on GMO and organic produce?
GMO is a serious problem as it is tampering with the DNA of the food. There is a direct correlation with how more GMO products are causing people to become more and more intolerant to different foods e.g. gluten, lactose etc. There is no denying that organic produce has a much better flavour composition; is a better quality product and is much healthier for you!

Have you ever cooked for anyone famous and if so, who?
I once cooked a meal for Gianluigi Buffon in Portofino; he has been Italy’s best goal keeper for a long time now.




Chef Christian Reiter
The Wharf

At what age did you know you wanted to be a professional Chef and what was the first dish you learned to cook?
I was around five years. There were several things I learned from my mother: different cakes, the famous Wiener Schnitzel and a pan roasted local mushroom dish.

Who or what inspires your cooking?
I grew up on a farm and we always had a plentiful supply of fresh home-grown vegetables, fruit and meat. We also had access to wild grown berries, mushrooms and nuts from the nearby forest. All these things inspired my love for food and cooking it.

What famous dish is unique to your hometown or country?
Austrian cuisine was influenced by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and of course our neighbouring countries like Italy and Germany.

What is the most overrated ingredient?
For me personally it is smoothies, shakes, pasta and lobster.

What condiment can you not do without?
There are several: garlic, mustard, any type of spicy chili and fresh herbs.

If you had your own cooking show, what would you call it?
“Eat the World” or “Happy Hour For Happy People.”

What’s your favourite late-night snack?
My wife’s home cooked Caribbean style dinners or cold cuts and cheese.

Have you ever cooked for anyone famous?
Just recently I cooked for Mr Al Pacino. I have also cooked for Mr Lee Lacocca; he was here for New Year’s Eve some years ago and I have cooked for Mr Terry Bradshaw NFL, Mr Howe Long NFL, Mr Rajon Rondo NBA, Mr Allen Iverson NBA and Meatloaf, to name just a few.

What is your most humorous chef moment?
The most memorable ones include plating food in rough seas while I was working on a luxury yacht-style cruise ship; you would turn around and the plate was gone - it had fallen onto the floor. Or the special orders or requests from our guests at The Wharf: like can I have my steak cut in two and one cooked medium rare and the other well done. Or the time I was a chef in Sydney, Australia and I triggered the fire alarm by grilling lots of baby eggplants. The restaurant was on the 8th floor of a 30 story hotel building with a shopping centre at the bottom. There was chaos for some time!