Get To Know Local Food Competition Experts

Who’s got the best Cayman-style beef and Heavy Cake?

What’s a festival without a little competition?

Get ready for the exciting local food competition in the All Things Cayman area, sponsored by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture, and Heritage. With a record number of contestants, this year’s event promises to be the most exciting yet. Notably, some brave contestants are entering BOTH the beef and heavy cake categories.

This competition features a mix of experienced traditional home cooks and local business chefs, all competing for the top prize by showcasing their culinary skills. The winners will be announced at 6:45 pm on the Bon Vivant Demo stage, so don’t miss out on the action!

All of the contestants shared their background stories, and we found them so heartwarming and inspiring, we want to share them with you! Please scroll to read more about each and their unique journeys to making their favourite dishes.

Best Heavy Cake Competitors

Shawnee Robinson
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“I have been baking for over 7 years. I own a small local catering business offering desserts and treats. My desserts are a fusion of my mixed cultures, including Caymanian, Honduran, and Jamaican. Many people say Caymanian heritage is slowly drifting away. I sincerely hope to change that narrative with native, fresh desserts to compliment our beloved isle.”

Deirdre Carmola
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“I have been a proud baker of the cassava heavy cake for the last 30 years of my life.  I was determined to learn the cassava-heavy cake recipe and preserve our parents’ and grandparents’ art and culture. I have passed on this tradition to my children and to others within the community, adults and children alike. This baking process has been my source of therapy as I maneuvered through my battle and won against stage 4 cancer.”

Ceretta Harvey
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“I am Caymanian, and my experience came simply from helping my Caymanian mother in the kitchen and being her test taster.”

Sheron Campbell
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“I’ve always wanted to master the art of baking heavy cakes because my mom is a retired chef and baker. I mastered the art of cooking because of her but never baking as I’ve always relied on her or my daughter, who has also acquired my moms’ art in baking. Now that mom has retired, I’ve taken up the mantle and have now mastered the making of cassava cake and sweet potato heavy cakes 🙂 I’m always asked by friends and family, due to them enjoying my heavy cakes, to make cakes for them.”

Sheena Gale
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“I have over 15 years experience in baking cassava cake, I can do it with custard and without, and I also can make a punkin’ heavy cake.”

Quincy Ebanks, Jr
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“I am a young Caymanian studying at UCCI for my Bachelors’s in Primary Education, who has always been interested in learning Caymanian cooking. From there, I visited and asked many elders in my community to show me how to make various heavy cakes. From this, I have perfected my own cassava cake, which I make for friends and family.”

Ileana Ebanks
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“Growing up in Cayman, I’ve always loved food, and with my mom at the helm, I learned how to cook from an early age. While away at school, I was craving a piece of home and wanted to share something Caymanian with my friends, so I went to my book of Mom’s and Gran’s recipes. I found Cassava cake. I made it in a heart-shaped pan, and it was pretty good for my first attempt. The right amount of sweetness, stretchiness, and a little crispiness. I’ve since then been crowned chair of the cassava cake committee for all family gatherings making cassava cupcakes or whole pans for work events, birthdays, and gifts for visitors.”

Anita Parsons
Competing for: Best Heavy Cake
“Baker/Owner of The Diner”

Best Cayman Style Beef Competitors

James A Ebanks
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef
“I’m 47 years old, born and reside in Grand Cayman. I work for a local financial institution. I enjoy DIY,  Cooking on the weekends, and especially during the Christmas holidays, which is where the history of Cayman beef started.  I came in at 2nd place a few years ago. This time I’m hoping for a better result.”

Ernestas Vitunskas
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef
“I am the CI owner of Murph’s Kitchen Food Truck.  We currently serve cayman style beef rolls and other Cayman classics.”

Dwayne Mclaughlin
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef
“I’m an amateur cook, and I’ve been making cayman style dishes for over 10 years.”

Dane White
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef
“Chef/Owner of The Diner”

Best Cayman Style Beef and Cassava Cake Competitors

Gwendolee Goff
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef and Heavy Cake
“I’m a proud West Bayer Caymanian 7th generation. I love to cook Caymanian dishes, I cook and sell food all the time, and I’m recommended as one of the best Cayman cooks on this Island.”

Jessica Kimball
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef and Heavy Cake
“I am a single mom of 3 kids, my name is Jessica Kimball, and I am 31 years old. I have a passion for cooking and baking. Everyone that has had my cooking loves my food, and I would like to have a restaurant one day.”

Vincent Bodden
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef and Heavy Cake
“I am Caymanian with over 15 years of experience as a chef/cook. I enjoy making people feel joyful after eating a plate of food I made. I believe that I have the best cassava cake, but I haven’t boasted about it yet. So this competition may put me out there.”

Monique Rodriguez
Competing for: Best Cayman Style Beef and Heavy Cake
“I have a passion for cooking. I’m just a mom who loves to cook and prepare my family’s best, tastiest meals. If it isn’t the tastiest, I recreate it until it’s the best. I have my food handler’s certification. I also competed in the Mike Flowers Memorial Chili Cook-Off this year and came 2nd place, which I’m very proud of myself for making it so close to winning. I haven’t made Cayman Style Beef before. However, I will learn to make a great one by the competition date. However, I have a pretty good cassava cake recipe that I can make for the heavy cake competition.”