Cayman Embraces the Slow Food Movement
There is a movement spreading throughout the world to take back our plates and fill them with good, wholesome, delicious, flavourful food. It is about enjoying dining with good company. It is the opposite of 'fast food.' It is called 'Slow Food,' and it is here in Cayman.
Started in 1986 in Italy, Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. Slow Food believes that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of biodiversity, culture and knowledge that make this pleasure possible.
Slow Food promotes food that is good, clean and fair. Good, because it is healthy in addition to tasting good; clean because it is produced with low environmental impact and with animal welfare in mind; and fair because it respects the work of those who produce, process and distribute it.
There is also an educational component involved in Slow Food efforts; not only does it promote sustainable food production, but it also works to raise awareness about food waste. With about 40% of all food produced worldwide going to waste before getting anywhere close to a table, there is a great deal of room for improvement as to how we utilize the potential of our worldwide food production to feed the world's population.
In the Cayman Islands, the Slow Food movement was introduced in 1996, by Martin Richter, the General Manager of Grand Old House. With a small group of about 40 members, the early days of Slow Food South Sound saw 3-4 events annual, with many of them taking place at Grand Old House. Reigns were handed over to Alan Markoff in late 2008, and today, there are more than 100 members in the local Slow Food convivium (chapter). The members are very active and participate in 10-12 events every year. Several CITA member restaurants are very active in promoting Slow Food:
Michael's Genuine Food & Drinks in Camana Bay is one of the cheerleaders for the effort, promoting Farm to Table dinners on a monthly basis and being a huge contributor to an annual 'Slow Food Day' in Grand Cayman. The event was held on February 2, 2013, this past year, and it includes the morning at Market at the Grounds, which is followed by an evening dinner at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink (the 2013 theme was 'Farm to Beach' in an effort to celebrate the local environment).
The Brasserie in George Town also lives the philosophies of Slow Food; they curate their own chef's garden, using the produce and herbs grown their in the menu offerings. The Brasserie also has its own fishing vessels that provide the chef with a daily fresh catch option. The popular Harvest DInner Series, which runs monthly at the Brasserie In January 2010, the Brasserie started their Harvest Dinner series (held monthly from December through April). These dinners feature only fresh in-season produce and, as much as possible, locally produced or caught meat and fish.
Grand Old House in South Sound was where the local convivium started in 1996, and it is where the movement took off locally. Grand Old House has hosted Slow Food dinners since the early days, and it is still a favourite of the Slow Food members.
If you would like more information about the Slow Food Movement in Cayman or to register as a member, contact the Cayman Islands convivium leader, Alan Markoff.
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