La Toque d’Argent presented at The Grand Velas, Riviera Maya

Playa here we come on United Airlines direct flight from SFO to Cancun!

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Playa del Carmen was the site for this year’s Maîtres Cuisiniers de France’s North America Chapter annual meeting at The Grand Velas, all-inclusive resort in Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya.  What a lovely location for this prestigious group of amazing chefs.  There are now so many great hotels and Airbnb’s along the Riviera Maya,  I am glad for once,  I didn’t have to make the decision on where to stay.
Below are a few photos of the resort, along with their website for further details “here”

I have to mention the resort spa – OMG…totally, WOW and I have been to quite a few great spa’s around the world.  This spa has previously been named one of the world’s best spas, and trust me it does not disappoint.  I loved the hydrotherapy circuit which consists of a clay room, ice room, steam room, sauna room and warm showers followed by Riviera Maya Water Journey.   These are both included when you have a spa treatment which is over 50 minutes – definitely a can’t miss if you are staying at the resort.

 

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A warm welcome to the French Master Chefs – and a special website that is dedicated to this event.  Please take a look…“here”

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It was pretty impressive to see how “France meets Mexico” in the culinary arts.  This was an occasion that brought together some of Mexico’s best chefs to participate in, and showcase Mexican cuisine, as well as strengthen relationships with their French counterparts.  It really is amazing how food brings people together, and as I aways like to say “create memories”.

Here are the Mexican Chefs who participated in Welcome Dinner – Outstanding!

 

Along with these great Chefs there are also great sponsors.  Check out this step and repeat – (on the beach of course), that notes all of this years sponsors.

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This was probably my favorite sponsor – I love Avocados!  🙂

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There were so many highlights of this years program, but one of my favorites (besides Xavier getting his award) was a visit to Xcaret.  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about this evening at first,  but……let me tell you it was amazing!

Xcaret Park has been recognized by UNESCO World Heritage for preserving and promoting Mexican culture.   These very special traditions and cultural expressions can be seen accompanied by music and dance in the presentation of Xcaret Mexico Espectacular.

I should add a bit more about Xcaret before I starting going on and on about our delicious evening.  Xcaret is actually an eco-archaeological park that features over 50 attractions including; dolphins, Mayan ballgame and of course the infamous Mexican show.  Here is the website for more info: “here”

Now on to our evening which started out watching this spectacular show filled with music, dancing, traditions, celebrations and a journey though Mexico’s history.   There has to be a least 300 performers who are a part of this colorful and lively show that is such a tribute to Mexico’s past and present.  Here are a few photos….

 

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What a nice touch  – The venue called all the Chefs to the stage after the show for a  French/Mexican photo.

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After this wonderful show our group, which consisted of about 200 people, were escorted to a private dinner in the  La Isla private dining room which is set underground within the caves.   Our dinner this evening was prepared by many of Mexico’s finest chefs and lead by Orlando Trejo.  It was truly a great and delicious evening.

 

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Of course for me, the main highlight of this year was Xavier getting the CHEF OF THE YEAR AWARD, which is called La Toque d’Argent, and has been awarded yearly since 1961.  This is truly such an honor and I can’t begin to say how proud I am of him.  His hard work, dedication and passion for his profession is truly an example to be followed.   I took a closer look at the award, after we got back home and had a chance to see some of the past recipients of whom I knew of:  André Soltner, Pierre Orsi, Jean Banchet, René Verdon, Georges Perrier, Jacques Pépin, Daniel Bouloud, Roland Passot…Some pretty amazing footsteps to follow in!

Here are a few photos of Xavier with the previous award recipient, Marc Ehrler

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And once again the amazing chefs (after their meeting)

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A few fun food moments…..

 

And lastly we can’t forget a little fun in the sun –

…………until the next posting!   Adiós!

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Two Hours in Tulum

During the recent French Master Chef Conference (Maîtres Cuisiniers de France/MCF) in Playa del Carmen, Mexico we had a free (rainy) afternoon and decided to go to lunch in Tulum.  The Grand Velas arranged transportation for us, and it took about an hour to get to Tulum from the hotel.   Our driver was great and waited for us while we had lunch, making for a super nice and easy afternoon.

We really liked the vive of Tulum.  Of course you hear so much about Tulum these days and how it really is on the “culinary map”.  We only wish he had more than two hours to discover what all the fuss it about.  Driving into Tulum reminded us of years ago when Playa del Carmen was only one small (almost dirt) road.    There were lots of small cute local open air shops, bars and restaurants en route to our final lunch location.

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We took the suggestion of one of Xavier’s counterpart French/Mexican Master Chefs and went to lunch at La Zebra.  La Zebra is a boutique beach hotel and restaurant and I would imagine would be the perfect beach escape.  Here is their website: “here”

Since it was raining we sat inside with the doors open to fantastic view of the ocean and colorful beach bar and seating area.  I love the colors of red and turquoise and the cute set up they have created.

 

We loved the staff at the restaurant.  Everyone came by to say hello and introduce themselves and made sure we were happy and comfortable.  Since we had been eating SO MUCH at the planned conference functions we just decided on tacos (of course I had fish tacos!!) which are made from all fresh and local ingredients and the seafood caught daily.  The red taco was made from beets and the green was made from spinach – they were DELICIOUS!   The salsas were all house made and varied in degrees of spiciness.

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It was a nice quick lunch and we would love to go back to Tulum.  Who knows, maybe we will stay at La Zebra if we don’t rent an Airbnb….

We saw this on our way out – could be interesting for a return trip to Tulum for a future food adventure!

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