Recovering ancient traditions

Riviera Maya, Mexico (November 19, 2018) – Five of Mexico’s top chefs came together last month for an intimate panel on the current landscape of Mexican cuisine, focusing on the process of nixtamalization for corn which is seeing a major revival. The discussion was part of The Best of Mexico´s Culinary Traditions Riviera Maya, held at the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort. Corn nixtamalization is the process of soaking dry corn overnight in hot water with limestone. The process makes the corn become more nutritious by releasing the vitamin B3, shifting the balance of proteins. Some kitchens in the US additionally are starting to employ the process, which has been around in Mayan cooking since 1500 BC. Additional highlights of the discussion included the growth of interest in traditional cuisine versus modern and contemporary alternatives, the Chilhuacle chili as the next big ingredient, and regional specialties. The event also included a multi-course dinner focused on traditional Mexican flavors, cooking techniques and ingredients combined with a Mexican wine and mezcal tasting, traditional Barbacoa barbecue, artisanal beverage tasting and storytelling dinners.

Participating guest chefs included Oaxacan food authority Reyna Mendoza; Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, author of Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana; Yucatan chef David Cetina; Joel Ornelas of Tintoque in Puerto Vallarta; and Pablo Salas, who operates Pueblo in Chicago in cooperation with Richard Sandoval and Lona in Fort Lauderdale. They teamed up with chefs Humberto May Tamay and Laura Avalos of Grand Velas’ Mayan restaurant, Chaka, and Executive Chef Mario Lopez.

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. For the fourth consecutive year, the resort invited renowned chefs based on a special culinary theme to prepare a standout dining experience alongside the top chefs at the resort. In 2019, the resort is set to explore the Best of Asia hosted by Chef Wayu “Light” Wattanakamin of the resort’s AAA Four Diamond Restaurant Sen Lin.

Uniquely designed and themed restaurants offer a new and inspired dining experience. Start planning an unforgettable program to Grand Velas in Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos. From USA & Canada: 1 888 505 8399 | UK & Rest of the world: +52 984 8774414 | or write to or visit

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