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The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island Hosts the 2nd Annual Amelia Island Cookout

The second Annual Amelia Island Cookout at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island promises an unforgettable culinary experience, showcasing the island’s rich gastronomic heritage. From October 17th to October 20th, 2024, guests can indulge in a series of events ranging from interactive cooking demonstrations to collaborative dinners and tantalizing tastings.

The Culinary Director of the Amelia Island Cookout is Okan Kizilbayir, Chef d’ Cuisine of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island’s award-winning Salt restaurant and veteran chef of Michelin-starred restaurants like Le Bernardin in New York and Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Chef Okan presented several events at the Cayman Island Cookout in 2023. At the Amelia Island Cookout, Chef Okan gathers acclaimed national and local chefs, winemakers and mixologists, and legendary pitmasters to celebrate the essence of Amelia Island culinary culture - relaxed yet elegant, a crossroad of cultures and history, brimming with the bounty of local seafood and fresh farm ingredients.

The four-day celebration kicks off with a culinary doubleheader with Fernandina Beach fine-dining Chef David Echeverri of David’s collaborating with Executive Chef Gilles Schreiber of AG Steakhouse in Atlanta and Burlingame chef/owner Chad Livingstone will be joined in the kitchen by Chef Sean Blanchette of Dallas’ fine dining icon, Fearings.

On Friday, guests learn the secrets to perfect wine pairings with wine impresario and Vin Fraîche founder Michael Kennedy and Chef Okan. Later in the evening, rolling sand dunes, ocean breezes and deep blue waters are the backdrop to a collaborative dinner at Coquina, reflecting Amelia Island’s Latin culinary influences. The alfresco meal is hosted by resort Chef Victor Solano and features Executive Chef Paula DaSilva, Florida culinary expert Chef Adriene Grenier of Fort Lauderdale’s Burlock Coast, and The St.Regis Atlanta’s Executive Chef Jordan Barnett. The evening wraps with the sweet, stunning creations of acclaimed Executive Pastry Chef Carissa DaSilva of the Marriott Harbor Beach.

Saturday brings a unique cooking class experience at the Chefs Theater as Chef Okan is joined by San Diego culinary legend Travis Swikard- owner and chef of Callie, a Michelin Bib Gourmand award winner and named on Esquire Magazine’s list of the 40 best restaurants in the U.S. for 2022. Inspired by Chef

Okan’s Turkish roots and the flavors of the Mediterranean, the pair present two dishes with curated wines as mixologist Simon Crompton sets the bar with his imaginative creations.

The evening culminates with the breathtaking Amelia Island Cookout, where 20 national and local chefs present their favorite cookout foods accompanied by 10 local and national craft beers, wines and spirits including local brewers Mocama, First Love and AIBC. The event is on the resort’s Ocean Front Lawn under a grand tent overlooking the ocean accented by autumn's light and ocean breezes.

The deep pool of local culinary talent is just one of the many highlights of The Amelia Island Cookout as island chefs present their dishes. Sample the mouthwatering pan-Asian “street food” by Nathalie Wu of Wicked Bao, the bright, fish-to-fork flavors of Executive Chef Omar Collazo of The Omni, Amelia Island, the tantalizing tapas of Espana’s Phil Waddel, the brewpub classics of AIBC’s The Tavern, Chef Melissa Baker’s modern take on classic Southern flavors from Magnolia’s Café, a “little extra” from Executive Chef Brett Heritage of Lagniappe, Chefs Matthew Medure and Alex Yim of Matthew’s Restaurant in San Marco, heritage breed “Hogfather” and BBQ master chef Tank Jackson, chef-author Tony Biggs and farm-to-table pioneer multiple James Beard “Best Chef” nominee and 2010 crowned “King of American Seafood” Dean Max.

On Sunday, guests will have a surprise and delight as they are treated to a pop-up mystery destination somewhere on Amelia Island for lunch. Hiding its many natural wonders from the outside world, the island has been known for centuries by pirates and visitors as a place of unending scenic beauty. This

culinary jaunt will immerse guests in that scene, setting the table for the

culminating event of the weekend- The Master Chefs’ Dinner at Salt restaurant- a grand spectacle with all of the weekend’s culinary stars united to create a showcase dinner with each course representing the ultimate expression of the art and craft of gastronomy.

The dinner includes: Jennifer Carroll of Carroll Couture Cuisine, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence Executive Chef Jerrod Zifchak of Navy Blue, renowned pastry chef Aurélien Revil Signorat of Montage Los Cabos, Mediterranean seafood savant Travis Swikard of San Diego’s Callie with sommelier Michael Kennedy.


  • Thursday, October 17 – Kick off dinner with David’s and Burlingame of Fernandina Beach

  • Friday, October 18 – Perfect Wine Pairings with Michael Kennedy & Chef Okan | Latin Flavors & Ocean Views at Coquina

  • Saturday, October 19 – Chef’s Theater | Amelia Island Cookout on the resort’s Oceanfront Lawn

  • Sunday, October 20 – Amelia Island Mystery Destination Lunch | Master Chef’s Dinner

Beyond the food are the amazing wines, cocktails and small-batch local brews from local brewers Mocama, First Love and AIBC. The weekend’s culinary and beverage experiences are as rich and diverse as the pool of talent, there’s something for everyone to enjoy beyond sand, sun, surf and beautiful fall

weather. Be sure to visit to reserve and real time reservations for more details.

For reservations, please call The Ritz-Carlton toll-free at (800) 241-3333 or visit For information on The Ritz-Carlton Company visit

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island


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