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Southern Cross Club Hosts 17th Annual Sister Islands Cook-Off

Once again Team Southern Cross sweeps awards and comes out on top as 2014 Grand Champion; Culinary event keeps gaining momentum

Little Cayman, Cayman Islands (Dec 1, 2014) – Cayman’s top chefs gathered at the Southern Cross Club on Little Cayman on Saturday, November 15, 2014 for the annual Sister Islands Cook-off, the primary fundraiser for the Sister Islands Tourism Association (SITA). The judges flew in from Grand Cayman to evaluate competitor skills and culinary creations at what is fast becoming a “must-do” culinary event in the Cayman Islands. A great local crowd came out to support the cause and enjoy a taste of world-class cuisine in the ultimate tropical setting.

Chef Vidyadhara Shetty, owner of Blue Cilantro Restaurant in Grand Cayman and the head of the Cayman Culinary Society, led the team of judges that included Keith Griffin and Tanya Foster. Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell also made the trip from Cayman Brac for the event and handed out trophies to the winners. The competition tasting room, sealed off for the judging, was set up in the dining room of the Southern Cross Club. After the winners were announced guests were allowed to sample each dish, and then they dined under the stars on the beach and danced the night away on the resort pool deck. 

The competition featured five categories: local dish, soup/appetizer, salad, entrée, and dessert.  First and second place winners in each category received a cash prize and a beautiful Cayman National Nambe Trophy.  

Team Southern Cross Club led by Executive Chef Anu Christopher dominated the event taking home four 1st place trophies and five 2nd place prizes. This tremendous sweep was the first time the resort has received so much recognition at the event and was a huge achievement for the Team. The team’s appetizer entry, Tiger Shrimp Scotch Bonnet Peri Peri on Watermelon and Corn Salsa, won top honors for the competition, being named Grand Champion as the best dish. It was also awarded the most points in the cookoff. The team’s entrée, Ripe Plantain and Roasted Bell Pepper Stuffed Chicken Supreme, was awarded Best Cayman Dish by the Cayman Culinary Society.  

“Sister Islands Cook-Off 2014 was a unique experience for all of us at the Southern Cross Club,” said Executive Chef Anu Christopher. “The Grand Championship, and all the awards that the Southern Cross Club Culinary Team received, are dedicated to the creativity, commitment and hard work of Chef Francisco, Chef Manny and Chef Luke who made a great team. This is a true reflection of our continued efforts in maintaining the high quality and consistency of the cuisine at the Southern Cross Club. I am sure that the awards will provide us with the much needed motivation to attain higher levels of hospitality through our world class cuisine.”

Winning dishes by category are as follows:

Local
1st Place: Cayman Satay Tropical Chicken, Kristian Eyles, Southern Cross Club
2nd Place: Locally-caught Fish Fritters, Merilda Messias, Southern Cross Club

Dessert
1st Place: After Dinner Chocolate Mint Torte, Chef Diane from Pirate’s Point
2nd Place: Poppy seed crusted "Sugar Free" Dates and Nuts Roll on Blood Orange Coulis, Southern Cross Club Culinary Team

Soup/Salad
1st Place: Purslane springs and Muringa Blossom Salad with Papaya seed Vinaigrette and Beet Yoghurt, Southern Cross Club Culinary Team
2nd Place: Caribbean Conch Quenelles, Quinoa and Arugula Broth, Southern Cross Club Culinary Team 

Entrée
1st Place: Ripe Plantain and Roasted Bell Pepper stuffed Chicken supreme on Mango Basil sauce with Ginger Basmati Rice and Roasted Baby Carrots, Southern Cross Club Culinary Team (awarded “Best Cayman Dish” Award by the Cayman Culinary Society)
2nd Place: Prune stuffed roasted Pork Tenderloin with Bacon on Potato Souffle and Turmeric scented Fennel, Southern Cross Club Culinary Team 

Appetizer
1st Place: Tiger Shrimp Scotch Bonnet Peri Peri on Watermelon and Corn Salsa, Southern Cross Club Culinary Team (awarded “Grand Champion Award” for being the best dish, awarded the most points in the competition)
2nd Place: Pepper Jack Cheese stuffed Plop Nut Blossom Tempuras on Ponzu Broth, Southern Cross Club Culinary Team

“We are all absolutely thrilled with the resort’s successes at SCIO 2014; through the combined efforts of Kristian and Merilda in the local category and The SCC Culinary Team in the professional categories we won eleven out of the twelve awards including the highly coveted Grand Champion Award and the honorable Title of Best Cayman Dish. Team SCC should be very proud of their accomplishments at this prestigious event ” said General Manager Jennifer Mills. “Every year the SITA Cook-off committee strives to raise the standard of the cook-off to a higher level, and from the feedback we’ve received from the judges and participants, this year’s fundraiser took a giant leap forward in professionalism. I congratulate all of the Little Cayman participants and winners of the competition on a job very well done.”

Jacques Scott was the primary sponsor for the cook-off and local dive operators donated prizes for the hugely successful raffle that helped raise additional funds for SITA. Prizes included a two-night stay at the Marriott Resort, a Limited Edition Guy Harvey print, vouchers for Camana Bay, AL Thompson and other local vendors. Tortuga Liquors donated a case of rum, Jaques Scott a case of champagne and a case of the local Caybrew lager “White Tip” was also donated.

Jennifer Mills and the other organizers of the cook-off say they are committed to making it a signature culinary event and reliable fundraiser for the Sister Islands. Money raised at the cook-off will help fund environmental awareness projects for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

 About the Southern Cross Club

The casually sophisticated Southern Cross Club Fish & Dive Resort is Little Cayman's original resort. It features 14 beachfront bungalows complete with a top-rated, professional in-house diving and fishing operation. A unique blend of rusticity and elegance the resort is often described as “Barefoot Luxury”.  Little Cayman is renowned for its breath-taking coral reefs and pristine environment, and the Green Globe certified Southern Cross Club sets sustainability standards to protect it. The resort was awarded the 2013 Cayman Islands Tourism Association CEPTS Stingray Award for its exceptionally good stewardship of the environment and its ongoing commitment to preserving it. Guests to the Southern Cross Club can expect friendly and diligent service, delicious award-winning food, inviting rooms with breath-taking views and a comfortable dive boat ― a few of the things that bring them back year after year. The resort’s beach-based location also provides flats fisherman with access to Bonefish and Permit just minutes away. 

For reservations or more information:
Telephone: 1 (800) 899-CLUB (2582)
Outside the USA: (619) 563-0017
E-mail info@southerncrossclub.com
Website: www.southerncrossclub.com
Facebook:  www.facebook/SouthernCrossClub 

MEDIA CONTACT: Adela Gonzales White, Adela.G.White@comcast.net, (941) 350-8735

 Photo Caption:
The Winning Chefs for the Sister Islands Cook-off are (L – R) Chef Luke Miller of the Southern Cross Club, who won “Best Cayman Dish”; Chef Manuel Desouza of the Southern Cross Club, Chef Diane Sherer of Pirate’s Point, Chef Francisco Dias and Executive Chef Anu Christopher of the Southern Cross Club.