We Wish You Were There: Eric Ripert’s Cayman Cookout

01/16/2014 at 02:45 PM ET

Eric Riper and Anthony Bourdain at Cayman Cookout
Courtesy Cayman Cookout

This is not your backyard cookout—unless your backyard happens to be a warm, sandy beach.

The Cayman Cookout, hosted by chef Eric Ripert January 16-19 on Grand Cayman, is for food lovers who like to take their meals surrounded by the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean. (So, basically, everyone!) The festival features food and wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and lots of expertly prepared lunches and dinners. If Ripert’s apricot cream puffs are any indication, we expect everyone to eat very, very well.

But Ripert isn’t doing all the cooking. He invited his fellow superstar chefs like Lidia Bastianich, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud and Anthony Bourdain to sharpen their knives and start chopping beachside. They’ll prepare everything from conch ceviche to tagliatelle.

How did he persuade the chefs to leave their busy state-side kitchens?

“Spending time in Cayman in January versus New York makes the decision a little easier!” says the chef of N.Y.C’s Le Bernardin.

Two of the highlights are Barefoot BBQ, where Ripert, Bourdain and Iron Chef‘s José Andrés fire up their grills and prepare meals at the water’s edge as diners romp in the sand, and Burgers in Paradise, where guests head to a nearby beach to snorkel and swim with stingrays then feast in a beef-fest.

Ripert’s favorite event is the farewell dinner at Blue, his seafood restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton. “It’s always very special as all the chefs come together and prepare a course each and get to cook alongside one another.”

If you can’t jump on a plane, oh, right now, do the next best thing: Download a few steel drum mp3’s and try his island-inspired green papaya salad recipe.

Eric Ripert Papaya Salad
Angie Mosier for Avec Eric

Green Papaya Salad
Serves 4

1 large green papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into matchsticks
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
¼ cup lime juice
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. ginger, minced
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp mirin or ½ tsp. sugar
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Let the salad marinate for 10 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.

—Nancy Mattia

FILED UNDER: Eric Ripert , Food , Recipes , Vegetarian

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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