New kids’ cooking classes and food education programs in the Cayman Islands are just the start of a food revolution aiming to support local agriculture and teach children where their food comes from.

Kid chefs in cooking class
Kids cooking up a Caribbean storm at the Bon Vivant cooking school, Grand Cayman. courtesy Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

To find out more about it, we recently spoke with Chef Maureen Cubbon, an active participant in Cayman’s farm-to-table scene and an ambassador for the Food Revolution Movement started by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

She moved there from Vancouver B.C. in 1995 — after visiting this island on a family cruise, by the way! — and has since worked in the food and beverage industry. Recently, she joined the team at Bon Vivant in Grand Cayman where she hosts culinary workshops and team building events for kids and adults.

Chef Maureen also spearheads the island’s “Kids Culinary” program for summer 2018, exposing young foodies to the destination’s thriving culinary scene through hands-on cooking classes. And word has it, among recent clientele were the children of Nigel Barker, host of “America’s Next Top Model” and more recently, “The Face.”

Let’s hear what Chef Maureen says about how to help kids eat healthy, and how to inspire kids to try new foods while traveling.

Kids and Family Culinary Program in the Cayman Islands

There’s a lot going on for kids in the food scene on Grand Cayman. Frequent cooking classes are held at Bon Vivant, a popular kitchen supply store and cooking studio. Tuesdays through July, they are geared specifically for kids ages 4-7 and 8-12. Once a month they focus on the food revolution, introducing nutrition and new tastes through culinary experiences. The shop is located in Camana Bay, so there are also tours to the local farmer’s market. Because this new development comprises shops, restaurants, businesses and a movie theater, it’s a fun destination for an afternoon.

Dubbing this the “Kids Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,” the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism has shared a roundup of other food-focused activities for resident and visiting families. Here’s a taste:

At the beautiful The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, guests ages 4-9 can participate in the Ambassadors in the Kitchen daylong workshop. As part of the resort’s environmental initiatives, kids will make their own chef’s hat and apron, tour the organic garden and then prepare local dishes.

The Margaritaville Beach Resort is also running cooking classes for its guests, including baking lessons with the chef. Best yet, kids will be able to learn how to fold napkins and the etiquette of table settings. Over at The Westin, resort guests can enroll kids in the on-site kids club where they will try some cooking classes with the hotel’s chefs.

Throughout July, kids can assist the chef at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in preparing a dinner for the whole family. (Advance reservation required.) The Brasserie Restaurant is running tours for kids of its vegetable garden, with the Chef de Cuisine and head gardener on hand to answer questions. (Closed in August.) Every Tuesday in August, VIVO Alternative Restaurant will hold a cooking class, along with a workshop on sustainable, plant-based cooking.

There are other fun option on the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s Kids Culinary Capital of the Caribbean page, with possibly some promotions extending into the fall season.

Drone view of Stingray City water attraction, Cayman Islands
Drone view of Stingray City, where visitors can get up close to stingrays. Photo courtesy Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.

Kids Favorite Recipe:  Chef Maureen’s Conch Fritters

Conch Fritters Recipe

You can use shrimp instead if you can’t find conch easily

·       1-pound fresh conch (they can be previously frozen then thawed)

·       1/2 scotch bonnet or jalapeno

·       1/2 cup red onion minced

·       1 stalk celery cut into small pieces

·       1/2 green bell pepper minced

·       1/2 red bell pepper minced

·       2 large eggs

·       ½ cup of canned coconut milk

·       1 teaspoon fresh thyme

·       1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour – you can use gluten free flour also

·       1 tablespoon cornstarch

·       3/4 teaspoon baking powder

·       ½ teaspoon of garlic powder

·       ½ teaspoon of onion powder

·       ½ teaspoon of dried thyme

·       1 teaspoon of salt

·       ½ teaspoon white pepper

·       1 – 2 cups of coconut oil for frying

CREAMY JERK DIPPING SAUCE

·       1 tablespoon of Jerk Seasoning

·       ½ cup of low fat mayonnaise

·       ¼ cup of sour cream

·       ¼ cup of lime juice

GARNISHES (OPTIONAL)

·       fresh cilantro chopped

·       1 lime cut into wedges

·       favorite hot sauce as desired

Preparation and Cooking Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour and cornstarch. In another large mixing bowl, mix eggs and coconut milk with a whisk. Add flour and all other ingredients to the egg and coconut milk, mixing well until it forms a thick batter. If the mixture is too runny, add ¼ cup of flour at time. Season with salt and white pepper.

Heat a deep pot halfway filled with coconut oil on medium high heat. Using a small scoop (1 ounce) place batter in oil and fry until golden brown.

Remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve with jerk dipping sauce.

To Finish the Meal!

It’s been great fun to see a chef who relates so well to kids.

As Chef Maureen told us, “If I could live my life working with kids, that would be awesome. “ We think so too.

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