Grand Velas Riviera Maya Pressroom
Top Chefs Showcase Modern and Ancient Asian Cuisine at Best of Asia 2019 At Grand Velas Riviera Maya, October 16 – 20th
Riviera Maya, Mexico (September 5, 2019) - Five top chefs focusing on traditional and modern Asian flavors, cooking techniques and ingredients are coming together for The Best of Asia at Grand Velas Riviera Maya from October 16 - 20th. The culinary event features a ten-course dinner with masterful pairings, traditional Thai music and dance and a Muay Thai boxing presentation. Featured presenters include Japanese chefs Makoto Okuwa, protégé of Masaharu Morimoto, and Kazu Kumoto, owner and chef of Kazu's Kitchen in Mexico City; Hong Kong's Susur Lee, praised as one of the "Ten Chefs of the Millennium" by Food & Wine magazine; and Master Chef Thailand Kent Vatcharavee Visetpohchanatip, former chef in charge of the Official Receptions of the Royal Family of Thailand at Le Club des Chef des Chefs. The chefs will team up with Host Chef, Wayu "Light" Wattanakamin, the only Thai chef in Latin America to be inducted into the prestigious Club Master Chefs Thailand, of Grand Velas' Sen Lin Restaurants. The Best of Asia Riviera Maya at Grand Velas Riviera Maya is included for guests staying at the resort. For those staying off property, tickets can be purchased for $190++ USD.
For the fifth consecutive year, the resort invites renowned chefs based on a special culinary theme to prepare a standout dining experience alongside the top chefs at the resort. Past cuisines have included French, Creative Cuisine, and Mexico's Culinary Traditions among others. Guest chefs have included Carlos Gaytan, the first Mexican chef to receive a Michelin star; Josean Alija, executive chef of Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao, a one star Michelin restaurant ranked annually among The World's 50 Best Restaurants; Mikel Alonso, disciple of Spanish superstar Juan Arzak and owner of Biko in Mexico City; two star Michelin chef Sidney Schutte; Christian Têtedoie, whose namesake Lyon restaurant has been continuously awarded a Michelin star since 2000; Claude Le-Tohic, former James Beard Foundation Best Chef; and, Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, considered an authority on Mexican cuisine having authored an encyclopedia on the topic; among others.
With 22 Diamonds by AAA, Grand Velas Riviera Maya has set new standards in the All-Inclusive World - its food, creativity and presentation comparable to top restaurants in world capitals. Under the direction of Maître Cuisinier de France Michel Mustiere, Culinary Director of Mexico's Velas Resorts, The Best Of series is part of the resort's commitment to promote local and international gastronomy.
Nightly rates start at $478 USD. Rates are per person based on double occupancy and include luxury suite accommodations, à la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, fitness center, taxes, gratuity and more. For reservations or additional information, call 1-888-407-4869, or visit https://www.rivieramaya.
About the Participating Chefs:
Wayu "Light" Wattanakamin - With over 10 years of culinary-industry experience, Chef Light began his career after culinary school by opening his own restaurant. He later explored international cuisine at the Sahara Resorts in Kuwait, five-star Millennium Plaza Hotel in Dubai, Diplomatic Club in Doha, Hilton Malta in Europe, Singapore and more Asian countries. Chef Light has been in Mexico since 2015. He joined Grand Velas in 2017 as head restaurant chef of Sen Lin at the Riviera Maya property. In 2018, he helped open Sen Lin restaurant at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit as chef advisor. Sen Lin at the Grand Velas resorts in Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit have both been honored with the American Automobile Association (AAA) Four Diamond Award. Light is the only Thai chef in Latin America to be inducted into the prestigious Club Master Chefs Thailand.
Makoto Okuwa - For over 20 years, Okuwa has developed his own take on Japanese cuisine, marrying traditional Edomae-Sushi with modern-day innovation. Makoto career began in Nagoya, Japan where at the age of 15, he began an apprenticeship with master sushi chef Shinichi Takegasa. After a decade of training, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he began working closely with chef Masaharu Morimoto. After assuming the head sushi chef role at Morimoto's flagship Philadelphia restaurant, as well as his outpost in New York, Makoto opened up his own restaurant, Sashi Sushi + Sake Lounge, in Manhattan Beach, California to much praise in 2007. At his namesake restaurant in Bal Harbor, opened in 2011 in partnership with Stephen Starr, Makoto continues to evolve, crafting playful, exquisitely presented dishes that pay tribute to his heritage. Since Makoto has opened namesake restaurants in Panama, Mexico City and São Paulo, Brazil.
Kazu Kumoto - Kazu Kumoto was born in southern Japan to a family with hundreds of years in the restaurant business. At age 22, she left her homeland and first traveled to Mexico, where she quickly began to show off her cooking skills. Her national recognition was solidified with the success of the Japanese restaurant Tori Tori, later Torobi and Murasaki respectively, in Mexico City. Before opening her latest venture in the posh Polanco neighborhood, she created the inflight menu for Aeromexico's Mexico City - Tokyo route. Now, Kumoto pays homage to her roots at Kazu's Kitchen, a space where the most important thing is to taste the delights of high-level Japanese cuisine as if you had the most exclusive chef in your kitchen.
Susur Lee - One of the top Asian chefs in Canada, Susur Lee helms three restaurants in Toronto — Lee, Kid Lee & Lee Kitchen — and oversees his prestigious TungLok Heen in Singapore. He has made numerous television appearances (Iron Chef America, Chopped Canada, Top Chef Masters, MasterChef Asia and Iron Chef Canada) and travels the globe as a guest chef and consultant. Lee was recently named an ambassador to Canada's 150th birthday celebrations and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the definitive guide to Canada's culinary scene, Canada's 100 Best. In 2019, Chef Lee was named the first foreign chef to be granted The Red Chef's Hat Award in Qing Dao. Balancing the epicurean traditions of China with the classical techniques of French cuisines, Chef Lee improvises a daring and original culinary aesthetic.
Kent Vatcharavee Visetpohchanatip - Thai celebrity chef Kent Vatcharavee Visetpohchanatip has over 38 years of experience spanning world-class establishments. He is founding president of The Club Master Chefs Thailand which recognizes the top Thai chefs in the world based on experience, awards and a cooking test. Additionally, Vatcharavee is the Thailand President of AREGALA (Association De Restauradores Gastronomicos De Las Americsa Y EL Mundo), considered by many culinary celebrities to be one of the largest and most important cultural and philanthropic and educational associations in the world. Among other distinctions, in 2016, he was awarded The Best Chef of the Year from The International Association of Gourmet Master Chefs & Hospitality Executives. Furthermore, Vatcharavee acts as a brand ambassador, judges national and international cooking competitions, hosts TV and radio shows in Thailand, and runs Bangkok Cooking Studio by Chef Kent.
About Grand Velas Riviera Maya:
The AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya is an ultra-luxury all-inclusive resort set on 206 acres of pristine jungle and mangroves and with the finest white sand beach in the Riviera Maya. Guests can choose accommodations among oceanfront, ocean view and a Zen-like tropical setting, embraced by the flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula's jungle. All 539 designer-like suites are exceptionally spacious, more than 1,100 square feet each, all with balconies, and some with private plunge pools. All feature fully stocked mini bars, L'Occitane amenities, artisanal mezcal, and Nespresso coffee machines. Bathrooms deserve special mention with walk in glass shower, deep soaking Jacuzzi tubs and marble interior. Eight restaurants, including five gourmet offerings, present a tour through Mexico, Europe and Asia. Cocina de Autor, at the hands of world-renowned celebrity chefs Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso, holds the AAA Five Diamond Award, the first all-inclusive restaurant in the world to win this prestigious distinction. Se Spa is the region's largest spa sanctuary at more than 90,000 square feet, known for its authentic Mexican treatments, offerings from around world and signature seven-step water journey. Other features include 24-hour Personal Concierge; 24/7 in-suite service; three swimming pools; two fitness centers; water sports; innovative Kids' Clubs and Teens' Club; baby concierge; Karaoke Bar; Koi Bar; Piano Bar, and business center. The resort offers more than 91,000 square feet of meeting space and outdoor areas for events inclusive of a 31,000-square-foot Convention Center, able to accommodate up to 2,700 guests. The resort has won numerous awards from Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today and several other magazines and major companies worldwide, including Virtuoso's Best Spa and TripAdvisor's Hall of Fame. A member of the Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts Program, Grand Velas Riviera Maya was built and is operated by Eduardo Vela Ruiz, founder and president of Velas Resorts, with brother Juan Vela, vice president of Velas Resorts, by his side. For reservations or additional information, call 1-888-407-4869, or visit https://rivieramaya.