Taste of Cayman 2017: Food, Love & Flash Mobs

Taste of Cayman 2017 was definitely the best one in recent memory!  With over 45 restaurants bringing their A-game to Camana Bay it was the perfect opportunity to see what the island truly has to offer. I was a bit distracted (more on that below), so my foodie licence may have to be revoked as I only hit a few of the booths.  I should say that each restaurant that I visited positively challenged me and I definitely made some mental notes on where to eat in the coming weeks. To add to the excitement of the event I was lucky enough to be honoured with a media pass from Tower Marketing; meaning I had VIP access to the air conditioned tent with food tastings, seating and a private bar, as well as access to the 'experience room' for wine tastings, oysters and demos. To round out the night were some incredible live performances with tribute bands representing different decades, consisting of Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Madonna and Lady Gaga.  These tribute bands rocked out hard and the music was so legendary that the swarms of people were pulsing as one.  Taste of Cayman truly stepped up their game this year and I can't wait to see what happens in 2018.

Abacus' Tuna Tartare with Coconut Milk found in the VIP tent

Abacus' Tuna Tartare with Coconut Milk found in the VIP tent

Prima's succulent octopus dish

Prima's succulent octopus dish

The Brasserie's Lionfish Fish Tea shooter. A dish I learned to cook and help demo that night.

The Brasserie's Lionfish Fish Tea shooter. A dish I learned to cook and help demo that night.

The Brasserie's South Sound Coconut Profiteroles

The Brasserie's South Sound Coconut Profiteroles

Messy, but oh so delicious bites from Pani's Indian Kitchen in the VIP tent, which will be coming soon to Camana Bay

Messy, but oh so delicious bites from Pani's Indian Kitchen in the VIP tent, which will be coming soon to Camana Bay

Of course you have to finish with something sweet!

Of course you have to finish with something sweet!

So as I mentioned I was a bit distracted....

I had been mentally preparing to do a cooking demo with my boyfriend, Chef Thomas Tennant, in front of hundreds of people.  I had been bragging to my friends and family that they should come out and watch me either look like a superstar or fail miserably.  My questions for Tommy were prepared in advance, but I was thrown a curveball when I was told that we would have two hosts asking us questions throughout the lionfish demo.  I may officially have been the most under-used sous chef of life by only being tasked with cutting garlic, seasoning peppers and lionfish, as well as stirring the pot. The questions started to get intimate about how we first met, which was one of the stories I had prepared to tell the audience. So I told the story of how I saw Tommy doing a lionfish demo at this event 4 years ago and because he was cute I went over to speak to him.  Half joking that the food was so good it lured me in, but also stating the obvious that he's just a fantastic guy.  It started to get a bit more detailed when they asked him "What do you think of Chelsea?", and I thought "That's a bit deep; my story was at least related to Taste of Cayman".  But then it all became quite clear within a matter of minutes. 

Courtney getting the scoop on lionfish & me apparently from Chef Thomas of The Brasserie  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Courtney getting the scoop on lionfish & me apparently from Chef Thomas of The Brasserie

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Doing my menial sous chef task of chopping garlic and seasoning peppers  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Doing my menial sous chef task of chopping garlic and seasoning peppers

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

The words ending his statement of adoration were "I love her like cook food" which is a really common saying used around the island. Then music started to play and I saw the crowd start to move around, which I figured was due the host egging them on to dance and possibly too much booze.  It was only after I started to see more and more people start to dance in sync that the thought of "is this a flash mob!?" crossed my mind (I love flash mobs!)  And as I looked even closer I realised that it was made up of only my friends, which flipped a switch of "something big is about to happen" and the tears started flowing. 

A flash mob made up of the best people I know  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

A flash mob made up of the best people I know

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

We joined them all on the grass where we danced and hugged and cried, before I eventually turned around to see my family holding "Chelsea Say Yes!" signs, confirming what I thought was happening.  I pretty much lost it at that point, hugged my mom and THE amazing Chef Thomas Tennant with his beautiful blue eyes and kind smile got down on one knee.  I of course nodded 'yes' with tears streaming down my face. 

Proposal Round One: a mixture of shock, confusion and excitement  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Proposal Round One: a mixture of shock, confusion and excitement

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Swarmed by a flash mob of friends in a crowd of hundreds  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Swarmed by a flash mob of friends in a crowd of hundreds

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

The crowd decided that a public proposal meant that he needed to officially ask the question over a microphone as chants of "ask again!" ensued. So he got down on one knee with a microphone in his face and said "Chelsea Priscella Smith. Will you make me - well, will you continue to make me the happiest person in Cayman, possibly the world?" I should have just kept to my original answer, which was a repetitive nod (or threw in a "hell yes!") because round two with a microphone in my face I uttered "I do!" as if this was the actual wedding day.  Let's just attribute it to shock, confusion and pure joy for my ridiculous response. 

Proposal Round Two:  "I do!"  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Proposal Round Two:  "I do!"

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

My friends and family who participated are all amazing, and probably totally untrustworthy if they have been keeping this secret for a few weeks, but I love them all the same.  My fiancĂ© and my cousin Tawnie pulled off something remarkable with Chad Munro from Picture This Studios capturing all of the moments (the excitement, shock and ugly crying especially on my part), Discover Cayman for filming this memorable moment and of course Taste of Cayman's organisers (Hurley's Media, Tower Marketing, Bon Vivant & Camana Bay) for actually allowing something this insane happen at your event!  I will never forget the epicness of this proposal in front of the people I love and hundreds of strangers. 

Tawnie informing me that there's a photographer taking pictures!  Clearly I still don't know what's happening.  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Tawnie informing me that there's a photographer taking pictures!  Clearly I still don't know what's happening.

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Incredible man by my side, some bling on my finger and surrounded by love; definitely winning!  Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios

Incredible man by my side, some bling on my finger and surrounded by love; definitely winning!

Photo credit: Chad Munro of Picture This Studios