Image: The "Tail of the Whale" The world's only natural island green at the Signature Jack Nicklaus Course "Pacifico" at Four Seasons, Punta Mita, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.
The debut of Golf Kitchen, a brilliantly designed food, drink and golf event, was not only sensational but also an overwhelming success that earned it a place on the annual Punta Mita calendar. The April celebration presented in collaboration with Golf Kitchen Magazine transcended the game from on course play to include a golf club kitchen focus of deliciously creative cuisine. Showcased was a dazzling display of artistry from a star studded lineup of innovative and talented international guest and resident chefs. Coming together to share their imaginative culinary talents resulted in an off the chart, melt-in-your-mouth profusion of tasty dishes.
"Golf Kitchen is a unique, one-of-a-kind event focusing on chefs from some of the world's most prestigious golf clubs, many of whom also play golf. It is a welcome addition to the menu of events in Punta Mita,” shared Carl Emberson, Punta Mita Director of Marketing and Operations.
A passion for golf, food, drink and ambiance flourished during the event at beach clubs, restaurants and the golf club where breakfasts, a brunch, lunches and dinners were savored. Participating residents and guests took their places as players, competitors, chefs and diners to appreciate and enjoy a four day party at this paradise of splendor that some call home and others a favorite tropical place to visit. Golf Kitchen is likely to become a most anticipated food and golf event each year.
"Carl Emberson and his team did a brilliant job bringing the Golf Kitchen brand to life. The chef teams were masterful in everything they created for the members and guests. They represented their golf clubs in grand style," said Diana Delucia, Editor of Golf Kitchen Magazine.
International guest chefs included Eduardo “Lalo” Palazuelos, Club Bosque Real, Mexico; Gastón Yelicich, Cantegril CC, Punta del Este, Uruguay; and Eva Millán, El Camaleón GC, Mayakoba, Mexico. USA chefs were Executive Chef Doug Blair and Sous Chef José Carlos Fabregas, Cassius, Kiawah Island Club, SC; Sous Chef Chrissie Bennett and Gabrielle Bennett, Winged Foot GC, Mamaroneck, NY; Executive Sous Chef Joseph Klages and Chef Glenn Maines, Sebonack GC, Southampton, NY; Executive Chef Damian Gilchrist and Sous Chef Ed Guillard, Sankaty Head GC, Nantucket, MA. Resident chefs were Executive Chef Pato Pérsico, Punta Mita Beach Clubs; Chef Esther Sánchez and Chef Héctor Leyva, Four Seasons Punta Mita; and St Regis Punta Mita's Carolina Restaurant Signature Chef Jesús Durón.
From the first tee shot of a 4-hole, chef only, shoot out competition on Pacifico golf course for the Golf Kitchen Chef’s Cup to the closing Sunday brunch, the chef's enthusiasm was obvious, as was the appreciation that swept over all who participated in this spectacular event. The Chef Cup winner, Doug Blair, rolled in a lengthy birdie on the final hole to best José Carlos Fábregas. They along with other competing chefs (Joseph Klages, Glenn Maines, Lalo Palazuelos and Gastón Yelicich) put on a splendid golfing exhibition that was followed by impressive culinary performances over the next few days in kitchens throughout Punta Mita.
“The group of chefs that Diana Delucia brought together were world class and I’m honored to consider them friends after the event. The club members were extremely hospitable and they made me feel right at home playing two of the best golf courses I’ve ever experienced. Meeting Carl Emberson and his incredible staff was a true pleasure and I can’t wait to return in the spring to celebrate the second annual Golf Kitchen Punta Mita event. This was an incredible beginning to what I believe will become a wonderful tradition,” noted Chef Doug Blair, Cassique, Kiawah Island Club.
Thursday's opening dinner reception at the Residents' Beach Club was a sensational al fresco affair. Attendees were seated at tables perched perpendicular to the-adjacent beach, allowing for a clear view of the sun as it slipped gently into the sea. The night's culinary adventure conjured an anticipation for menu offerings that would be served up on subsequent days. At individual stations, each chef delivered delightful dishes reflecting their respective golf club: Chef Lalo Palazuelos/Chicken satay skewers, grilled octopus, and tuna brochettes with lemongrass; Chefs Joseph Klages and Glenn Maines/Ceviche martini(Yuzu marinated clams, oysters, scallops, and shrimp) served on a jicama mango slaw topped with crispy wontons, seared foie with poached pears, vanilla infused French lentil bean and pimento pepper salad, and beer braised oxtail over creamy black garlic truffle polenta with spiced tomatillo sauce, and crisp plantain chips; Chefs Chrissie and Gabrielle Bennett/Pan roasted red snapper and seared scallops influenced by their native Jamaica; Chefs Damian Gilchrist & Ed Guillard/ A medley of sea delicacies: shrimp, soft shell crab, oysters, Alaska King Crab, grilled and chilled percebes, Maine lobster cocktail, Georges Bank yellow fin tuna, Nantucket Scallop Crudo and Ossétra Caviar served with Gran Burdeos Patrón compressed watermelon mignonette, anejo caramel; Chef Pato Périsco/Desserts: cherry and chocolate bonbons, mango and chili bonbons, walnut pay, maracuya macaroon, cheesecake, mini lemon cake.
Before each of the Golf Kitchen Cup tournament rounds on Friday and Saturday, a morning meal was served at Tail of the Whale, Punta Mita Golf Club's delightful open-air restaurant. Selections from the Four Seasons' culinary team included: Egg burrito w/oaxaca cheese, black beans, onion and country ham; Chilaquiles – crispy tortillas, green or red sauce, onion, cream, cilantro, refried beans; Fried eggs telera bread sandwich w/cheddar, Canadian bacon and spinach; and Buttermilk pancakes w/maple syrup.
The two days of competition included two person teams contesting in an 18-hole scramble at the Bahia course on day one and an 18-hole best ball round at the Pacifico course the second day. The fields of play at Punta Mita are both Jack Nicklaus designed layouts on the Pacific Ocean and Banderas Bay. The meandering routings incorporate holes with ocean views, rolling terrain and bunker guarded greens, ample fairways and landing areas from multiple tees that are well suited for a variety of skill levels. Pacifico is known for its par three hole #3B, Tale of the Whale, with the world’s only natural ocean island green. Bahia provides ground contours sloping around greens, some guarded by many bunkers. They served as challenging venues befitting tournament play for the Golf Kitchen Cup and Chefs' Cup. I had the pleasure of playing the first round alongside the eventual winning team of residents, Dermott and Martina O’Flanagan, who shot lights out. Second place went to Juan Carlos and David Rosales while Fernando Jose Arrangoiz and Eduardo “Lalo” Palazuelo finished third. Each day's Golf Kitchen Cup round was followed by a refreshing, tasty lunch buffet served adjacent to the 18th green. The spread highlighted signature dishes from participating clubs prepared by Chef Eva Millán, Chef Chrissie Bennett and a Four Seasons Punta Mita culinary team with Chef Esther Sánchez and Chef Héctor Leyva.
"Punta Mita was not only a wonderful and beautiful place... I felt welcomed and at home! Everyone was so kind, friendly and generous. The chefs I met and worked with from around the world were knowledgeable and wanted to share techniques with each other. An experience of a life time,” said Chef Joseph Klages, Sebonack GC.
On Thursday evening additional offerings were served at a number of venues on the property. Chef Doug Blair and Chef Jesús Durón created a South Carolina meets Mexico fusion menu at St Regis Punta Mita's premier Carolina Restaurant that garnered rave reviews. It featured: Snacks– black quinoa tostada of avocado, wild native greens and grasshoppers and a chilled pea soup with lump crab; Starters– smoked bulls blood beets with citrus creme fraiche and sturgeon caviar, a grape and cherry tomato salad, and aged cheese; Entrees– sautéed Pacific prawns prepared with Patrón tequila, bamboo shoots, ramps and fava sprouts on crispy Bomba rice; rabbit fricassee with morel mushrooms over Carolina rice grits; Desserts– Guanabana with aloe vera raspado, almond foam, green leaves and lemon thyme, and petit fours of avocado marzapan and hazelnut with cacao.
I particularly enjoyed a colorful and delicious three-course offering from Uruguayan Chef Gastón Yelicich at Sufi Ocean Club’s Sufito Grill, a picturesque open-air oceanside kitchen and dining spot at the waters edge. The masterfully prepared repast included an appetizer of grilled prawns and octopus with a white bean, tomato and olive salad. The rack of lamb entrée with chives and roasted sweet potatoes followed. Dessert was grilled pineapple topped with lemon curd and crispy coconut. Paired wines: Alamos Chardonnay and Catena Malbec.
"Meeting and working together with chefs from other prestigious golf clubs was a unique opportunity to network and share experiences. We all share similar passions and we have something in common. Many of our menus are for golfers, so learning from each other was fantastic. My culinary team also benefited from the entire experience which makes an event like Golf Kitchen a win win for all involved,” said Chef Pato Pérsico, Punta Mita Beach Clubs.
A relaxing and festive closing dinner from Chef Lalo Palazuelos, Chef Gastón Yelicich, host Chef Pato Périsco and staff brought together essences of Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina in a Latin fusion. The chefs' passions inspired a glorious meal at Kupuri Beach Club amid the sensory ambiance of open-air dining. Chef Lalo’s appetizer of Milpa soup served in a squash bowl was the harbinger of flavors to come. Chef Gastón's tasty striped bass in a prosciutto crust with steamed green beans, peas, artichokes and a hollandaise sauce followed. The beat just kept on coming with another main dish prepared by Chef Pato. His Margret de Canard in Oaxacan black mole with prickly pears, foie gras, fresh sorrel and arugula salad was equally delicious. Chef Pato’s oh so good desserts were a white chocolate ganache; a vanilla, green and orange lemon zest, rum, pineapple compote; a coconut dacquoise and Fior Di Latte ice cream. Complementing wines were Casa Madero's Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Gran Reserva Shiraz.
The laid back farewell Sunday brunch at Kupuri Beach Club was one more palate pleasing feast. It embodied a comprehensive, assorted buffet presented by Chef Pato Périsco and his culinary team that was special by itself, but guest chefs took the brunch to yet another level with additional creations. Stations featuring sensational epicurean delights included: Salmon wrapped crab pillow with smoked salmon, crab and a poached egg topped with chili lime creme fraiche in an English muffin by Chef Joseph Klages and Chef Glenn Maines; Crab benedict poached eggs on brioche toast, a crab provencale with hollandaise sauce by Chef Doug Blair; and a magnificent Maine lobster, smoked sweet corn truffles (huitlacoche), plantain, fried quail eggs, Iberico ham, chervil, maple Patrón syrup, and Padron peppers from Chef Damian Gilchrist.
Punta Mita is the consummate destination and setting for a premier golf and food event. Its facilities and variety of places for food, drink, sports, beach and water access in a lovely tropical environment makes the location ideal for hosting a Golf Kitchen extravaganza. Imbedded in the philosophy and attitude of Punta Mita is a genuine appreciation and passion for chefs and their culinary skills.
This combination was advantageous in facilitating an immersion into all aspects of the inaugural 2018 Golf Kitchen event. “Many thanks to Carl Emberson and his team. I was very proud of the culinary teams who brought their A game for Golf Kitchen Punta Mita and very happy to see members and guests so enjoying the party," said Diana Delucia, Editor of Golf Kitchen Magazine.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in a most impressive event that combined two of my favorite things, playing golf and tasting cuisine created by talented and artistic chefs in a tropical paradise of luxurious comfort. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to joining with chefs, gourmands and golfers at the 2019 Golf Kitchen Punta Mita spectacular, April 25–28.
Punta Mita is a luxury 1,500-acre resort and residential community in Riviera Nayarit on an enchanting private peninsula surrounded by lush tropical flora and white sand beaches of the Pacific Ocean and Banderas Bay. It is home to private villas and residences, two upscale beach and spa resorts – The St. Regis and Four Seasons, a tennis center, beach clubs, multiple dining options and two Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses. www.puntamita.com
DINE, Mexico’s premier real estate development company, is the owner and developer of Punta Mita. DINE’s real estate portfolio includes commercial, residential, corporate and master planned communities throughout Mexico. Since its founding in 1978 DINE has established unprecedented quality designed developments. www.dine.com.mx
About the Author
Bill Nestor (aka Guillermo) brings a divergent background as a freelance contributor to upscale publications worldwide. An earlier career devoted to academia and experiential travel study initiated a lifelong interest in exploring environments and lifestyles, cultures and ecosystems. Communicating his observations and experiences has evolved to its present-day style as a writer of stories and articles in a variety of upscale print publications including Cigar Aficionado Magazine Golf Kitchen Magazine; Sayulita Magazine; Golf Style Magazine; St. Regis Punta Mita Magazine; Punta Mita Living Magazine; Mayakoba Magazine; Divot’s Garden State, New York, Commonwealth, Connecticut and New Hampshire Golf magazines; Golf Today; Sustainable Land Development and online at Go Golf and Travel, Cigar Aficionado, Nature Travel Network and Mexico Report.
Nestor was a publisher and editorial director of Divot's golf lifestyle publications; worked with the magazine divisions at the New York Times, Gruner and Jhar, Miller Freeman and Golf Digest; taught natural history, ornithology and environmental studies at New England College and Antioch University New England Graduate School where he developed, led and instructed extended international field study travel explorations. He is a member of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA), Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) and Metropolitan Golf Writers Association (MGWA).
He lives with his wife Flo in their Vermont hill top home. Bill enjoys time with family, playing golf, fly fishing, traveling, and sharing time with talented chefs while enjoying the flavors of their extraordinary creative cuisine.
To contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org@sover.net