When American Nostalgia Meets Cayman Kind: Elizabeth Chambers’ BIRD Bakery Goes Global

Food & Drink

In the Cayman Islands, on any given day, it’s not uncommon to cross paths with TV host, entrepreneur and celebrity foodie, Elizabeth Chambers. Originally a long stay visitor during the pandemic, the Food Network star has since established a firm footprint on Cayman soil, recently announcing the launch of the first international location of her celebrated BIRD Bakery— mere steps from the world famous Seven Mile Beach.

The setting of BIRD— a storefront within Frank Schilling’s uber-chic Greek Pan-Asian Mykonos restaurant and adjacent to some of the most coveted addresses in the Caribbean Sea— is described by Chambers as “a perfect little jewel box.”

The verdant outdoor courtyard of BIRD and Mykonos opulently punctuates a walk through The Grove luxury lifestyle community. Palm trees, purple bougainvilleas and massive green fans divert the tropical heat as wait staff deliver perfectly chilled bottles of champagne to their vessels in golden wine chiller stands.

General Manager, Christina Reisenbauer, who previously managed Blue by Eric Ripert at the Ritz Carlton, Cayman Islands, and sister restaurant, Le Bernardin in New York City oversaw all elements of the launch.

BIRD Bakery is upscale yet unpretentious, celebrating its island environs amidst al fresco ocean breezes with a tailored menu that highlights the specialty drinks, classic baked goods and savory dishes that have made it famous in San Antonio, Dallas and Denver, while also offering high quality cottage industry samplings from resident entrepreneurs and local teas from Tea Time in Cayman.

And speaking of tea, Chambers says that, as the most popular beverage at all of BIRD’s locations, she hopes to make iced tea “a thing” on island, alongside BIRD’s signature Half and Half, a chilled beverage consisting of half tea, half lemonade.

Placing one’s face close to the glass of the tropical village coffee shop, past little gold and white gelato cup towers and green and white BIRD bakery boxes, opens the curtain to a fairy tale-like setting of kitchen staff, hard at work making delicious breads, grab-and-go sandwiches, cold and warm soups, cupcakes, cookies, ready-made cakes, pies, granola…

“This kitchen is what dreams are made of,” Chambers says of the state-of-the-art setting where everything is baked from scratch, on-location each day.

Made fresh to order are delicious sandwiches and protein plates, and for those on special diets, there are gluten-free cupcakes, monster cookies, brownies, and even a gluten-free, vegan Tomato Basil soup made with coconut milk.

Blue and white detailed Grecian kitchenware, decadent marble flooring and woodwork manufactured and installed with the most meticulous Italian craftsmanship cradle a smorgasbord of treats such as freshly baked Greek, French and Italian breads, grab-and-go pints and half pints of BIRD’s beloved Tarragon Chicken Salad, Pimento Cheese and Tuna Salad, sandwiches, soup, multi-colored bottles of specialty drinks from Europe and freshly baked cakes, cookies, cupcakes and pastries and bags of homemade trail mix, which was a staple in Chambers’ life growing up.

“The same recipe has had one iteration, but many names,” says Chambers of the delicious snack. “My mom used to make it each Christmas and we called it Reindeer Feed; at one point it was Christmas Crack because you truly can’t put the perfect mix of sweet and salty down, then we changed the M&Ms to be on-theme for Valentine’s Day. Eventually, we realized that we require our crunch all year long, so it became a staple and customer favorite.”

BIRD granola, a recipe that Chambers passionately developed, is another cult favorite. Made with the finest olive oil instead of butter, and Grade-A maple syrup, instead of refined sugar– this is a granola that should be on every store shelf.

“While parents are enjoying their champagne, I’ll happily be feeding their children cupcakes,” Chambers laughs. “We have something for everyone and really want the vibe to be convivial, yet family-friendly.”

For those who don’t want to limit their choice to just one of BIRD’s famous cupcakes, charming egg boxes provide an assortment of mini cupcake options, including the legendary Lucious Lemon topped with lemon buttercream, Fresh Strawberry topped with fresh strawberry buttercream that “tastes exactly like the best melted strawberry ice cream you’ve ever tasted,” and the “crown jewel,” Award-Winning Carrot Cake made with shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, fresh coconut, golden raisins, and delicious walnuts that fans say is “unlike any carrot cake you’ve ever experienced in your life.”

“When it comes out of the oven, we brush it with a buttermilk glaze while it’s still piping hot and then top with a richly smooth delicious citrus cream cheese frosting and top it with a gilded walnut,” bubbles the cupcake’s effervescent inventor. “I challenge you to find a better carrot cake anywhere. This is it!”

Chambers credits the moist texture and vibrant flavors of her baked goods to family tradition, attention to quality and… personal wellness.

“I developed and perfected our cookie recipes in my twenties,” Chambers reflects, describing how baking became an early form of therapy during the stressful early years of her career as a model and television personality, while simultaneously pursuing a degree in journalism at the University of Texas.

“When it comes to therapeutic activities, some people garden, others sew, some knit or needlepoint, but I have always baked… and baked… and baked… and baked. Hundreds of cookies every week. It’s my happy place.”

Having been raised in the kitchen of her mother and grandmother, owners of a catering company in her native San Antonio, the theme of family and home permeates throughout all that Chambers does, from the way she engages with others and the value she places on human relationships to the signature made-from-scratch recipes that first put BIRD Bakery on the map in 2012.

“Growing up, we were constantly in the kitchen, making monster cookies and my grandmother’s sugar cookies and hundreds of others,” Chambers remembers. “My mother is extraordinary and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that she would make thousands of cookies each Christmas season. She’s never not cooking and baking.”

If there was any one phrase that could describe the ethos of food and family that have become synonymous with BIRD, it would be “Cayman Kind”— a local term referring to the unique, home-made hospitality of Chambers’ island-home.

Consisting of a sprinkling of southern spice, a heaping serving of sweet nostalgia and baked in warm Caribbean sunshine, for the millions of tourists who flock to Cayman’s shores each year, the Cayman Kind recipe of love is a flavorful gift that keeps on giving.

Located less than an hour from Florida and home to 135 nationalities— among them some of the most globally recognized names in business and entertainment— the Cayman Islands is a tight knit community steeped in heritage, much like the iconic bakery that Chambers founded in San Antonio more than a decade ago.

“I’ve experienced first-hand how much this wonderful community values quality food, family recipes, and hospitality,” says Chambers of the ethos behind her American nostalgia eatery.

While its roots are American, the flavors, story and values of BIRD Bakery are the most fitting representation of everything that makes the Cayman Islands distinctive— and the dining capital of the Caribbean.

“I cherish our family recipes and it was always my mission to honor them, and in some cases, perfect them further,” Chambers shares. “Almost a decade of testing, and twelve years of incredible BIRD success, I truly feel as if I’ve done that, and I’m thrilled to introduce the BIRD Bakery experience to the Cayman Islands.”

BIRD Bakery is now open daily from 6am-8pm.

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