Lindsey Turnbull

Cayman’s restaurants stepping up to the plate

By Lindsey Turnbull on 29th April, 2020

The Cayman Islands Government acted very quickly in implementing strict lockdown rules in Cayman which have meant very few transmissions of the Covid-19 coronavirus locally. But the necessary shutting down of all but essential businesses has meant economic hardship for many people, so Cayman’s big-hearted restaurants have stepped up and are doing an incredible job helping to feed hundreds of people across the island.

Chef Thushara of Grand Old House
Chef Thushara of Grand Old House

The jointly-owned Grand Old House and The Wharf restaurants have always been big contributors to the local community, and now they are providing a fantastic service for displaced tourism workers, offering them a free hot meal at midday. Chefs Thushara and Christian operate with a skeleton team of dedicated volunteers and deliver a consistent supply of hot food to those in need. The staff wear protective masks and gloves, people keep their distance and queues are well-managed, all complying with strict rules.

The district of West Bay has been particularly hard hit with business closures, as many tourism workers live there. To help them ensure they receive a good meal each day, a brilliant team has been set up by the West Bay Central Community Committee, who has partnered with restaurants in the location, and can provide up to 150 hot meals and soups each day, dropping them off door-to-door to those most in need of a good meal.

On Monday and Wednesday, it is the turn of Morgan’s, which provides around 150 meals, many of which are made for children. On Tuesday and Thursday, they collect between fifty and sixty meals each day from Calypso Grill and on Friday it is Agua’s turn. A small West Bay restaurant called Pansy’s Kitchen provides meals on Wednesday as well, and a lady called Sharon Spencer provides meals on a Friday. On Saturday they receive meals from the Ministry of Peace church also. This initiative is proving to be highly successful and has become a vital source of nourishment for many in West Bay. 

Cayman during Covid-19
Image credit: Caymans ARK – Acts of Random Kindness

Another fantastic initiative to help those in need is the #FeedCayman2020 project, run by Cayman’s ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) group that encourages people at home to purchase ‘cook and carry’ pans, then make a meal that can be frozen and delivered to their soup kitchen. It’s an initiative that has seen the ARK charity partner with restaurant group NM Ventures, which owns Deckers and Abacus, to create this central soup kitchen at Deckers. Favourites requested by those in need include cottage pie, curry, spaghetti bolognese and lasagna, and cookies and brownies for children. Meals should be labeled as to contents and when they were frozen and people are then asked to drop off their frozen meals to the soup kitchen located at Deckers Caribbean Inspired Grille on West Bay Road from 9.45am to 3pm daily. ARK volunteers are at the back of the restaurant ready to collect the food through the car window of the donor.

Cayman is poised to recover from this terrible global pandemic well, but the process is not an easy one. Thankfully, with help from our fantastic restaurants and warm-hearted community, the island will weather this current storm to come out stronger and more resilient than ever before.