Welcome to the Young Chef Young Waiter and Young Mixologist Cayman Islands competition. The aim of this competition is to promote hospitality as a career of choice, a profession, and a vocation. The competition is open to all young professional chefs, waiters, and mixologists from any background under the age of 28. This is your chance to showcase your skills, creativity, and passion on a grand stage.

In 2022, the first World Young Chef Young Waiter Cayman Islands competition opened to local Caymanians Chefs and Waiters who were 26 years old and under from any background working in the hospitality industry. The competition focused on sustainability in hospitality plus supported the education and development of home-grown talent.

The live competition was held at The Ritz Carlton in the Blue by Eric Ripert Restaurant. The three chefs were challenged to cook three courses for the VIP lunch using local ingredients. The three waiters competed in six challenges before preparing for the VIP lunch where they each served a table of 4 guests. Hon. Bernie Bush, the minister for Youth, Sports, Culture & Heritage was the guest of honour supporting the World Young Chef Young Waiter contestants.

In 2023, the Young Chef Young Waiter Cayman Islands competition was held at The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman for a one-day final on Monday 4th September.


For 2024, the Young Chef Young Waiter and Young Mixologist Cayman Islands competition will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for a one-day live final and evening awards ceremony.

The winning Chef, Waiter, and Mixologist trio from each country will join for the World YYY Final competition, scheduled for 15th – 17th November.

Young Chef  Young Waiter and Young Mixologist Cayman Islands Competition:

  • Entry is free for Young Chefs, Young Waiters, and Young Mixologists who are 28 years old or under and working in the hospitality industry in the Cayman Islands.
  • Entries are now open online for YYY Cayman Islands on our online awards platform https://youngchefyoungwaiter.awardsplatform.com/
  • Entries close Midnight Saturday 3rd August 2024.
  • The YYY Cayman Islands competition will take place on Tuesday 3rd September 2024.
  • The winners will be announced after taking place in a one-day live competition at Blue by Eric Ripert, Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman.
  • The evening awards will take place at Ritz Carlton-Grand Cayman.
  • The 2024 YYY World finals will take place mid-November in Singapore.
  • YYY Cayman Islands is opened to Cayman residents or naturalised Caymanians only

Click here to enter YYY Cayman Islands 2024 – NOW OPEN


The aim of World Young Chef Young Waiter is simple: to uncover the very best young talent in our industry and help equip them with relevant skills, current knowledge and the network needed to succeed in the world of hospitality. Devised by respected professionals, the competition has a fresh modern approach that focuses on tasks and criteria that are challenging, educational and fun.

World Young Chef Young Waiter showcases all aspects of hospitality. Inspiring, empowering and inclusive, most of all we celebrate the capabilities and diversity of our amazing industry.

Many past winners have gone on to achieve huge success in hospitality and YCYW proudly supports the future stars in Britain’s kitchens and restaurants. Winners and judges have included some the industry’s great recognisable names to include – Mark Sargeant, Marcus Wareing, Simon King, John Torode, Annie and Germain Schwab, Jeremy King, Raymond Blanc OBE, Heston Blumenthal OBE, The Earl of Bradford, Lord Forte, Angela Hartnett MBE, Simon Girling and Fred Sirieix.


Judges include the most respected Chefs and Front of House names in the Cayman Islands including, Head Chef Judge Frederic Morineau, Executive Chef at The Ritz-Calton, Grand Cayman and Head Waiter Judge Walter Fajette, Co-Owner & Director of Agua Hospitality Group accompanied by Christian Reiter, Executive Chef at The Wharf Restaurant, Vidyadhara Shetty, Executive Chef at Blue Cilantro, Keith Griffins, Manager of the Cayman Islands National Culinary Team, Markus Mueri, Restaurant Owner, Abacus, Christian Esser, Learning and Development Manager for WINESCHOOL3, Barnabas Bako, Manager & Owner for Bacaro Restaurant Cayman Islands Yacht Club, Fausto Pietropaoli, Director of Food & Beverage at Palm Heights, Dylan O’Connor, Senior Sales Representative at Tortuga, Chef Jake Brodski of Tillies, Chef Takumi Murase of Yashinoki, Francesco Cappucci Food and Beverage General Manager at Palm Heights and Luciano De Riso, Head of Operations and Wine Director for Grand Old House and The Wharf.

Chairman of World YCYW Robert Walton MBE said: “We are so excited to bring the Young Chef Young Waiter concept to the Cayman Islands. This is more than a competition, this is an opportunity to introduce young Caymanians to new ways of working in hospitality with sustainability and community being key to the Young Chef Young Waiter brand. The World YCYW Final in Monaco will be an opportunity for the talented winners to meet the very best in hospitality and compete against finalists from around the globe. We’re thrilled to have incredible judges and sponsors on board from the Cayman Islands to support this wonderful competition which has a proven track record in the UK for finding the next generation of hospitality stars. Our Head Chef Judge in the UK, Michelin star chef Adam Handling, is a former contestant and will be travelling to the Cayman Islands for the launch to meet the sponsors, judges and partners. We can’t wait to open for applications and wish everyone the best of luck in the process!”

Martyn Roper, Governor of the Cayman Islands said: I was delighted to host this wonderful event celebrating our exceptional young talent and promoting careers in Cayman’s world-famous hospitality industry. The canapés were stunning and included beautiful blends of flavours. I’m excited to follow the future careers of these exceptional chefs and waiters. Congratulations to all who took part. I wish every success to our Cayman winners, Sebastian and Rosie, at the World Final in Monaco in November.”

Frederic Morineau, Executive Chef, The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman said: “As the Executive Chef of the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, it is one of my main missions to promote the hospitality careers in the Cayman Islands. Showing to our young Caymanians and Residents that becoming an Hotelier or a Restaurateur can bring you happiness, success and make a decent living at the same time. This is Why I am involved with Young Chef Young Waiter organization as we share the same goals.”

Walter Fajette, Director and Co-Owner, Agua Hospitality Group: “I “Being a judge in the YCYW competition has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I had the privilege to witness the passion, creativity, and dedication of these aspiring talents. It reminds me of when I start my career. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and being part of their journey is an honour that reaffirms my love for the art of gastronomy and service. I loved to be involved as a judge for the opportunity of mentoring, providing constructive feedback, and inspiring these young minds to push the boundaries of their culinary prowess. I look forward for next year competition.”

Meet Our Cayman Winners 2023

Judges - Cayman Islands

Chef Judges


Chef Jake Tyler Brodsky

Head Chef at Tillies

Jake Tyler Brodsky takes diners on a voyage through the Greater Antilles. Serving eclectic fare informed by regional cuisines, Jake has a clean and refined approach to classic Caribbean dishes, inspired by local produce, seafood, and farms. read more Jake brings a range of experience, from Eleven Madison Park to Union Square Events, personal training to entrepreneurship.

Chef Frederic Morineau

Executive Chef - The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

Born and educated in France, Frederic Morineau is the Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and has presided in the kitchens of some of Europe and the Caribbean’s finest four and five star dining establishments. read more He has overseen many Ritz-Carlton premium culinary divisions including those of The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta, The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota in Florida and now in Grand Cayman, where he has won numerous service and leadership accolades. In 2011 he was invited into the ranks of one of the most prestigious associations of chefs in the world: the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France. Chef Frederic is known for organizing Grand Cayman’s most revered culinary event, Cayman Cookout, for the past ten years alongside Chef Eric Ripert. In addition to organizing this annual event, Chef Frederic ensures each of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman’s restaurants run smoothly and continuously strives to keep the culinary capital of the Caribbean alive.

Chef Christian Reiter 

The Wharf Restaurant  

Chef Christian was born in Austria and raised on a large farm in the mountains with cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep’s and goats. Not to forget to mention the large vegetable garden and fruit trees, all grown organically. read more Our dinner table was always full of home-made produce and meats. At the age of 5 years he showed passion of cooking. He started helping his mother making homemade bread, cakes and other dishes. During school breaks he stayed with my aunt, she operated a farm to table inn, were he helped her in the kitchen. 
With age of 15 he started to work as Chef Apprentice in the best restaurant in state of Styria. After his hard three years of apprentice ship her moved around Austria working in Toque crowned Restaurants. Before he reached 20 years of age he mastered to achieve one Toque (by Gaullt-Millaut) in a small restaurant in Austria In 1992 he has joined ultra-deluxe cruise line and that’s were he got the flavor or the international word. In 1995 he went back to Austria to work in a Skiing resort area that’s where he masted two Toques. He worked in Australia, Sydney for 2 years and now resides in Cayman.  
His passion is brought out most when given fresh produce from land and sea and left alone to create the most consumptions compositions, which he has proven on countless opportunities while running his international kitchen at the Wharf for now over 20 years 

Vidyadhara Shetty

Executive Chef

Executive Chef Vidyadhara Shetty with 28 years of experience, orchestrates culinary feats, including superb banquets served in luxurious surroundings and with undeniable panache. read more Born in Mumbai, India his passion for cooking began as a child spending time in the kitchen of the famous Udupi restaurants, as typically Shetty’s in Mumbai are known for. He was always inspired by the way his father used to work in his restaurant in India. It was admirable to see that with all the hard work and effort put in by his father and his staff, they all still managed to enjoy themselves and laughter always filled the kitchen. His appreciation for the delicate art of blending spices, that is the hallmark of good Indian food, started young – observing and helping his mother cook the dishes.

In 1985 he joined the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in Mumbai, India. In 1989 Shetty joined the luxury hotel group Ambassadors which includes many locations across India. He then traveled to the Middle East and was introduced to Eastern spices. But over time, a craving for travel consumed him and he cruised the Caribbean as Chef with the Cruise Ships of the Caribbean and spent 5 years gaining experience in Caribbean Cuisine.

He joined the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands in 1994. His dedication paid off in 1999 when he won the prestigious award of “Chef of the Year”.
Even with his challenging schedule, he finds time for the community and participates in various culinary presentations. He is president of the Cayman Culinary Society and he and his team have won numerous awards at various national and international venues each year including the “Best Main Course” in the Caribbean Culinary Competitions in Miami.
His goal as President of The Culinary Society is to offer the top chefs in the Cayman Islands the opportunity to shine in their art and excite the world by creating “authentic contemporary Caribbean” dishes.

‘It is essential, in this fast-paced environment, to be surrounded by a professional and dedicated team’ says Shetty. ‘I am fortunate here on this beautiful island paradise to be surrounded by people who share a genuine love of the kitchen and food.’

Chef Shetty firmly believes ‘quality begets quality,’ using only the best cuts of meat and fish, and freshest and most fragrant vegetables, herbs and spices to prepare his beloved delicacies, turning out succulent food bursting with flavor. Chef Shetty says, “A good chef should always have his heart in the art”. His secret ingredient remains his reliance on the usage of seasonal produce, which he claims inspires his style of cooking. “I can trust them to impart the best flavor and quality which are the basic requirements to prepare a delicious dish.” Chef Shetty looks forward to taking many more guests on an exciting and exotic culinary journey at Blue Cilantro.

Keith Griffin

Born and raised in London, England, Keith began his career at several prestigious London Hotels prior to moving to Bermuda and then settling in Grand Cayman. read more With 30 plus years in the Caribbean, Keith is a Past President of the Cayman Culinary Society and Director of the Caribbean Culinary Federation, he has been Manager of the Cayman Islands National Culinary Team for the past 10 years. Chef Griffin is a Certified Culinary Judge for International Competition. He has travelled extensively as a Culinary Ambassador for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and has won numerous awards in national culinary competitions. Keith is now focusing on teaching, cooking demonstrations and Personal Chef Services before opening his next Restaurant venture in the summer of 2023.



Luciano De Riso

Grand old House and the wharf Restaurant

Luciano De Riso, Head of Operations and Wine Director for Grand old House and the wharf has started his career in hospitality at the age of 14, after working in many great places worldwide including the Savoy in London has set roots in Cayman where has been since 2005, read more trained and certified sommelier, runs the second largest wine program in the Caribbean and manages two of the top restaurants in the Cayman

Markus Mueri

Restaurant Owner

Born in Switzerland with a culinary education I arrived on the Cayman Island in 1989. My first Job was at the Hyatt Regency Hotel as a line Cook. In 1994 I had the opportunity to open up my first Restaurant, Smugglers Cove in GT. read more Since then we added some restaurants, DECKERS, ABACUS and KARoo. I survived global recessions, Hurricanes and tough times. I never looked back and I believe in the Cayman Islands and its future, that’s why we keep on investing in the Island

Walter Fajette

Co-Owner and Director of Agua Hospitality Group

was born in Genoa, Italy, and graduated from catering school in Italy before beginning his career as a bartender. He went on to travel abroad to work for Disney in Orlando, Florida, before he made his way to the Cayman Islands where he joined the international culinary scene. He has continued to work with both of his passions - food and people- for the last 25 years. read more In 2009, he opened Agua Restaurant, which has become one of the most decorated and recognized restaurants on the island. In 2021, he opened Next Door cocktail bar, and in 2022 he plans to open 3 new venues under Agua Restaurant Group.

Fausto Pietropaoli

Director of Food & Beverage at Palm Heights

Born in Avezzano, a little town in the heart of the Italian Apennines not far from Rome, Fausto has more than 15 years of experience in the industry. read more His passion for hospitality started in London in 2008, when he first started as a bartender and short after became Bar Manager.
In the following years, he mastered his management skills at The Ritz first, where he spent almost two years as an Assistant Manager, then with the new opening of Aquavit, which achieved its first Michelin star soon after opening.
In 2017, he moved back to Italy, and in the following years, he became part of the pre-opening team as a Director of Food & Beverage, for the opening of three hotels across Florence and Rome.
Fausto moved to Grand Cayman almost a year ago and has been leading the F&B department at Palm Heights, with its well known and widely recognized Tillie's.

Barnabas Bako

Manager/Owner Bacaro Restaurant Cayman Islands Yacht Club

Barnabas Bako was born in Budapest, Hungary where he studied in a Hospitality School to become a professional waiter. read more In order to travel and gain further experience in fine dining Barney joined a cruise line in 1996.
After spending 4 years at sea he decided dry land was looking more appealing so in 2000 he moved to Grand Cayman and started at The Wharf where he worked for 2 years. In 2002 joined Ragazzi, after 5 years he was promoted to manager and joined the new sister restaurant, Luca. In 2009 he moved to Bermuda and then on to Switzerland in 2010 continuing in a management role as well as completing a professional qualification in Restaurant Management.
After 6 years, Barney returned to Cayman to team up again with his good friend Federico to open their first restaurant together, Bacaro.

Christian Esser

Learning & Development Manager for WINESCHOOL3

Christian Esser is a visionary entrepreneur and industry expert with over 11 years of experience at the helm of Wineschool3. His journey in the world of wines and spirits began with a deep-rooted passion for beverages, which evolved into a mission to educate and inspire others. Christian's unwavering commitment to fostering knowledge and appreciation for wines, spirits, and sake has been the driving force behind Wineschool3's global success. read more Alongside his leadership at Wineschool3, Christian manages a thriving Wine and Cocktail Bar situated in the picturesque Cayman Islands. This establishment has earned prestigious recognition, including the sought-after Wine Spectator award, attesting to the outstanding quality of their wine selection and service. The bar has also been distinguished by The Times as one of the premier wine destinations, further cementing Christian's reputation as a connoisseur in the field.

Christian's charismatic and approachable demeanor makes learning about wines and spirits a delightful and enriching experience for students at Wineschool3. His expertise extends beyond the theoretical aspects, allowing him to impart practical insights that resonate with enthusiasts and professionals alike.

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