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In 1995 a lively conversation between

Thierry Blouet of Café des Artistes, Heinz Reize of Hotel Krystal and Silvan Müller of Nestlé, led to the idea of promoting Puerto Vallarta's vibrant and excellent restaurants on a world stage. The ten day festival was originated to enrich the profile of Puerto Vallarta's gastronomic scene locally and internationally, it has more than exceeded both those goals.

The first Festival was held with six five star hotels and six independent restaurants participating, each with an invited guest chef. This original format has not changed – each host restaurant collaborates with an invited chef, although the number of participants now numbers over 20 each year, with noted international chefs lining up for an invitation to participate. Consider the benefits – cooking in some of the world's best restaurants in a tropical paradise for an enthusiastic and educated diner!

Festival Gourmet Announces Expansion

Published May 25, 2010

Festival Gourmet International and Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitor's Bureau representatives announced the XVI Festival Gourmet International, which will take place from November 11 to 21, this time also including restaurants from San Blas and Tepic, Nayarit. A favorite event among Mexican and international gastronomic connoisseurs, Festival Gourmet International had only included restaurants from Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas in previous instances.

The town of San Blas, Nayarit will be represented by restaurant El Delfin, at the Garza Canela hotel, headed by chef Betty Vazquez. Emiliano, in Tepic, features the culinary creations of chef Marco Valdivia. Aside from these restaurants, the 16th Festival Gourmet International will also feature Café des Artistes del Mar, La Cruz Bistro Grill, Omaggio (Marival Residences), Nicksan, Lucca (Grand Velas), Tramonto (Grand Mayan), La Casona (Villa La Estancia), Porto Fino (Dreams Villa Magna) y Ketsi (Four Seasons), Coco Tropical, Kaiser Maximilian, La Palapa, Le Kliff, Los Xitomates, Porto Bello, Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor, Thierry's Prime Steakhouse, The River Café, Tikul, Trio, Vista Grill, Andrea (Velas Vallarta), Arrecifes (Westin), Blanca Blue (Garza Blanca), Don Quijote (Barceló), Gaviotas (Sheraton), L'isola (Fiesta Americana), Mikado (CasaMagna Marriott), Portofino (Dreams) and Portofino (La Joya de Mismaloya).

Puerto Vallarta's Gourmet Festival Turns 15

Published Nov 4, 2009

Puerto Vallarta's Gourmet Festival celebrate 15 years supporting local restauranteurs, hoteliers, local chefs, special guests, sponsors and tourism offices who have supported the project. This year's edition which will take place from November 12-22 will feature guest chefs from Germany, Switzerland, USA, Guatemala, Italy, France, Canada, Austria, Japan and, of course, Mexico. Participating restaurants this year are: Café des Artistes del Mar • Coco Tropical • Frascati • Kaiser Maximilian • La Leche • La Palapa • Le Kliff • Los Xitomates • Porto Bello • Teatro Limón • The River Café • Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor at Café des Artistes • Tikul • Trio • Vista Grill • Amalfi Cuccina Italiana • Andrea • Arrecifes • Capri • Emiliano • Gaviotas • Gong • La Casona • Las Casitas • Frida.

The traditional annual gala evening that serves both as a welcome and farewell to the entire festival will take place on November 12th at Casa Velas Hotel. Space is limited and reservations are suggested. Another memorable festival event is the Chocolate & Tea World Pairing prepared by Vallarta's Xocodiva chocolatiers, featuring delicious chocolates accompanied by a tea tasting. This event will take place on November 14 at the Westin Resort.

Other Festival Gourmet events include:

Gourmet Brunch Traditional brunch with a guest expert in chocolate sculptures, live music, and variety of drinks starting at 12 pm. Reservations are suggested.

Villa La Estancia Beach Resort & Spa, Nuevo Vallarta.

Cooking Classes Cooking classes with limited seating. The class is demonstration with a guest chef accompanied by a wine and tequila tasting. Food made during class will be served at the end.

Restaurants and topics:

Coco Tropical • All about the sea.

Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor • Contemporary French Cuisine.

Las Casitas • Asian and Japanese Cuisine.

La Boulangerie & Café Arte Coffee and bread making live demonstration atSheraton Buganvillias.

Chef's Hall of Fame Chef's hall of fame is getting stronger at a national and international level because is the first of its kind to be made in the world. This event is coordinated along with Five Star Diamond Award and Visa Group who have a group of 30 counselors from hoteliers, restauranteurs and tourism figures that each year elect a chef who lives in Mexico and dedicate  his life to gastronomy. 

Malecon extensino in front of Vitea.

Latte Art Showcased at Gourmet Festival

Published Nov 25, 2008

Douwe Egberts recently presented a witty and fun class of latte art to over 100 eager participants at Thierry's Prime Steakhouse, as a part of the Gourmet Festival activities this year. Douwe Egberts, a subsidiary of the Sara Lee Company, has been demonstrating for more than a year that it is possible to make latte art with automatic coffee machines, thanks to the talent of Oscar Uribe who was on hand to give the demonstration that surprised the attendees. According to the team of executives from Douwe Egberts, Puerto Vallarta was the only city in Mexico that has had the privilege of enjoying this presentation.

Latte art is the ephemeral art of creating shapes and forms via a combination of foam from the espresso and the milk, while a latte or cappuccino is prepared. There is no specific data on the origins of the latte art, but many experts agree that it first appeared in northern Italy. There are two methods for creating these designs - free emptying and etching - that may be used singularly or in combination with the other. Using the free emptying method, it is possible to create the figures by manipulating the flow of foamed milk while you pour a cup of espresso. Etching is a technique whereby the coffee artist literally outlines figures on the surface of the milk foam and espresso, created through the use of elements such as templates, powder, chocolate and syrups that manipulated by an engraving instrument.

Douwe Egberts was inaugurated in Mexico in 1998, by Douwe Egberts Netherlands, a European company founded in 1753 that is recognized as an authority in the world of coffee. The advanced technology of its coffee and its commitment to produce delicious blends, have allowed them to offer quality products certified by ISO 9000, Kosher and Islam, among others. They are also recognized as the only system of coffee preparation without waste, as the coffee is prepared at a high speed without the use of filters.

Café des Artistes del Mar Announces Guest Chef

Published Nov 11, 2008

Café des Artistes de Mar is excited to announce the presence of Chef Gerard Dupont, president of the World's Culinary Academy of France, as their guest chef throughout the XIV Gourmet Festival, that will be held from November 13 – 23, 2008.

Chef Dupont arrived in Mexico for the first time in 1968 to manage the kitchens of the Fouquet's restaurant in Camino Real. His professionalism and guidance influenced the career of many young people who currently run establishments throughout the country. Upon his return after almost thirty years abroad, Dupont says that he is happy to have been reunited with a culture and art that he is passionate about and above all, feels a great pride to see the positive change that has evolved in their kitchen and the great successes of those working in it. This talented chef's other endeavors also include publications, competitions, seminars, and research - all with the aim of safeguarding the heritage that represents the cuisine of France.

During the XIV Gourmet Festival, the Cafe des Artistes del Mar chef coupled with the incredible talents of Chef Gerard Dupont and Gerardo Sandoval, will offer an incredible selection of unique dishes with an intense sense of culinary art and beauty to delight the palate of those demanding the best.

14th Gourmet Festival Celebrates Fine Cuisine

Published Nov 11, 2008

The International Gourmet Festival based in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit is ready to celebrate its fourteenth anniversary with many special events to be conducted in the 24 restaurants and the special addition of Villas del Palmar Hotel this year. The participating restaurants are Agave Grill, Café des Artistes, Coco Tropical, Daiquiri Dick's, Frascati, Kaiser Maximilian, La Leche, La Palapa, Le Kliff, Porto Bello, The River Café, Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor, Trio, Vista Grill, Alfredo di Roma, Andrea, Aramara, Bellavista, Emiliano, Green Break, La Casona, Las Casitas, Lucca, and Portofino.

Its organizers, Heinz Reizen, Thierry Blouet and Roland Menetrey, disclosed full detail of the events taking place between November 13 and 23, 2008 in a crowded press conference. Based on data obtained in previous years, over 22,000 people are expected to attend this year's festival. It is noteworthy that this event also features seminars which are aimed to train restaurant and hotel staff with new techniques and culinary trends to keep Puerto Vallarta in the forefront of the culinary field worldwide.

The first Gourmet Festival was born with the idea of promoting the excellent restaurants in Puerto Vallarta on a global scale and over 14 years the festival has achieved that objective. The most significant sponsors of this year's Gourmet Festival include: the state government of Jalisco, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico Miele, Puerto Vallarta's Tourism Office, Vallarta Lifestyles Publishing Group and the Vallarta Film Festival.

Festival Gourmet Turns 13

Published Oct 30, 2007

The 13th Annual Festival Gourmet International will be bigger and better than ever next November 8-18 that is when 24 of our most incredible restaurants will be offering specials menus. As traditionally, the participating restaurants and hotels are required to invite an eminent chef of national or international renown with whom a gourmet menu is created and coordinated. During the Gourmet Festival, the participants are committed to a culinary theme based on the establishment and the invited chef. In this way, tourists and local people will enjoy the 24 simultaneous festivals, savoring a collage of exquisite dishes from all parts of the world.

The participants this year are: Agave Grill • Café des Artistes, Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor • Coco Tropical • Casa Naranjo • Daiquiri Dick’s • Frascati • Kaiser Maximilian • La Palapa • Le Petite • Le Kliff • Los Xitomates • Mestizo • Porto Bello • The River Café • Trio • Vista Grill • Alfredo di Roma, Hotel Presidente Intercontinental • Andrea, Velas Vallarta Suites Resort and Convention Center • Aramara, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita • Bellavista, Marival All-inclusive Grand & Club Suites • Emiliano, Casa Velas Hotel Boutique Puerto Vallarta • Las Casitas, Marriott CasaMagna Resort & Spa • Piaf, Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort Nuevo Vallarta • Tramonto, Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta

Today the Gourmet Festival Vallarta enjoys an amazing reputation in the culinary world both nationally and internationally. The following are the events that form the backbone of the Gourmet Festival 2007:

Welcome Cocktail In a warm welcome, the partners of the Gourmet Festival present the invited chefs during a splendid cocktail at Thierry’s Prime Steak House in Plaza Peninsula at 8pm on November 8.

Cheeses of the World Enjoy the fine artisan cheeses of “Quesos Caprina de Atotonilco” paired with the best national wines of Monte Xanic at 1pm on November 15.

Chef’s Tables and Wine Tasting In addition to the special festival menu at each participating restaurant, they offer a chef’s table including various recipes of the invited chef along with an excellent wine tasting. For more details see the individual program of each of the participants.

Festival Brunch Don’t miss the amazing Gourmet Festival Sunday brunch, prepared in a sophisticated ambiance of haute cuisine with a selection of mouth-watering pastries, cocktails and sparkling champagne. This event will take place this year at the Villas del Palmar Flamingos Resort & Spa in Nuevo Vallarta featuring live music and much more.

Gala Dinner Ten unforgettable spectacular days of the Gourmet Festival come to a smashing close in a brilliant Gala Dinner at the glamorous Hotel Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta on Friday, November 16 at 8:30pm. This truly enchanting night is dedicated to the lovers of a well-set table as well as all participants of the Gourmet Festival 2007. Trip the light fantastic with extravagant cocktails, enjoy the true art of the Masters of the kitchen, savoring the best wines and liquors as you dance under the stars to the rhythm of a live orchestra.

Champagne Splash New this year, the festival wishes to prepare a special farewell on the final day at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita on November 18, accompanied by the bubbly of Moêt et Chandon, exquisite gourmet hors d’oevres, and, most important, all the principal players that made the outstanding and prestigious International Gourmet Festival possible for one more year. For additional information or reservations, consult www.festivalgourmet.com

Le Kliff Announces Guest Chef

Published Oct 29, 2007

The palapa style restaurant Le Kliff is set to receive its Festival Gourmet guest chef Ciáran Duffy next November 11th when just 30 persons will enjoy the innovative gastronomy of this renowned food artisan. Executive Chef Ciáran Duffy aptly describes his cooking style as “globally influenced.” Ticket cost will be $1,100 pesos per person plus 20 percent of service. Spaced is limited. Reservations are suggested at carlos@lekliff.com or calling to 145-1290.

Ciáran is native of Galway, Ireland and son of an executive chef and certified master pastry chef, Duffy cut his teeth at his father's highly successful Silver Teal restaurant in Dublin. Both of his brothers also caught restaurant fever, leading one to become a restaurateur in Shanghai and the other a chef in Baltimore. Duffy moved stateside in 1986 when his father was chosen out of 2,000 competitors to teach cooking in Atlanta.

A willing student of his father, Ciarán Duffy has garnered impressive accolades of his own from notable sources, including John Mariani's Virtual Gourmet, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Toronto Star, Chicago 's North Shore Magazine and others. In 2006, Duffy was honored as part of the Rising Star series at the James Beard House and was invited to cook at Condé Nast Café in New York City. Restaurant Business Magazine dubbed Tristan's original ChefCam one of the top 50 ideas of the New Year in 2007. Tristan rang true at #18 in the ranking.

Most recently, Duffy returned from work beside Heston Blumenthal at the world-renowned Fat Duck, a Michelin 3-star restaurant, near London, as part of the restaurant's highly competitive stage program, an apprenticeship for professional chefs. Freshly back from the other side of the pond, Duffy is eager to show his newly honed molecular gastronomy skills through his staggeringly well-crafted culinary offerings. “The biggest way the stage and training there has affected my work is that I cannot think of styling and cooking as one dimensional. A she crab soup is more than a bowl of soup. I've added celeriac root and froth across the top in a glass coffee cup and on the side brioche toast cut very thin with some caviar on top. I want to give my food even more depth and dimension and flavor,” says an impassioned Duffy.

Earlier this year, Duffy spun The Wheel of Fortune with a line of chocolate sauces he created and packaged for maximum exposure on the popular television show when it was filmed in Charleston, South Carolina. One of just two chefs honored to appear on the program, his Chocolate BBQ Sauce, Chocolate Chili BBQ Sauce and Chocolate Pomegranate BBQ sauce stole the show.

A 1999 graduate of the Art Institute in Atlanta, Duffy holds an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts. A tireless worker both at Tristan and as a fundraiser for a host of causes, Duffy is also a devoted family man. He is married to his “best friend”, Laura and is a proud father to their two young sons, Jack and Evan. Just some of his causes include providing frequent instruction at the Culinary Institute of Charleston and the Art Institute of Charleston and organizing a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina that raised more than $60,000 for the American Red Cross. Duffy currently serves as Chef Chair for the Charleston Share Our Strength fundraiser “Taste of the Nation,” taking place in May 2007. Funds raised will go toward feeding undernourished children and families in the Charleston area. For the gala, Duffy has rounded up fourteen local chefs to participate in making the event a resounding success. 

Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor Announces Guest Chef

Published Sep 11, 2007

Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor recently announced that Chef Frederic Castan of the St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach will be its guest chef during the upcoming 13th Gourmet Festival to take place November 8 – 18, 2007. Castan brings with him over 30 years experience as a chef in both France and the United States. Prior to the St. Regis, he opened the 415-room Sofitel Chicago Water Tower hotel where, as executive chef, he was responsible for all culinary aspects of two restaurants, 24-hour in-room dining and 35,000 square feet of banquet space.

A native of Avignon, France, the “heart” of Provence, Castan developed a passion for cooking at the early age of 14. He believes it was his interest in watching his mother create wonderful dishes at home combined with his fascination with artistic shapes and colors that led him to pursue a career as a chef. Trained in Marseilles, France, Castan has served as the executive chef at some of California’s finest resorts including Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, and Ritz Carlton Pasadena and Laguna Niguel.

Castan’s role as executive chef at the St. Regis is to ensure the integrity of the each restaurant in the resort including Motif, Club 19, Monarch Bay Club, Crust and the Pool Bar & Grill. He will oversee every aspect of the restaurant’s operations – from the creation and maintenance of all menus and recipes, to preparation, presentation and service. His extensive experience and education makes him the clear choice to lead the award-winning culinary team at the St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach. With a belief system strongly rooted in providing superior service and creating exceptional cuisine, Castan focuses on details that will impress his guests while maintaining a simple and elegant menu focusing on flavor. Constantly finding ways to improve, he strives to make each dish the best by using new products while still incorporating his favorite ingredients; fresh herbs from Provence, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Fluent in French, Spanish and English, Castan has received many awards and accolades, including the 2000 Chef On the Rise in America Award; 1994 Chef of the Year of Southern California Les Toques Blanches and 1994 Celebrity Chef Award in Alaska. In 2005, Chef Castan was selected to become a `Maitres Cuisiniers de France. In addition to his achievements, Castan takes time to participate in the American Culinary Federation, French Culinary Club of California and Les Toques Blanches Los Angeles. Castan currently resides in Laguna Niguel. When he is not in the kitchen, Castan keeps busy with his favorite past times, which include skiing, boating and hiking, but always makes time to paint or to sit down and read a good cook book.

Twelfth Festival Gourmet International Adds a Novel New Twist

Published Oct 2, 2006

Connoisseurs of food and wine will want to be in Vallarta November 9 - 19. That's when 22 of our most incredible restaurants will be offering never-before-experienced special menus, along with appropriate live music and a festive ambiance. Each of their executive chefs will create culinary magic in conjunction with visiting guest chefs from around the globe during this much-anticipated 10-day event.

Exciting cocktails, courses, cooking demonstrations, cheese and wine tastings, chef's table and winemaker dinners, a brunch extravaganza, gala dinner and more are part of the festival program in this beautiful tropical resort. And for the first time this year, a cookbook showcasing recipes created by the chefs of the participating restaurants will be available. Softcover, with exquisite photographs, you will find it at all Festival Gourmet restaurants.

Delicious From Start to Finish

The 11th Annual Festival Gourmet International November 10 - 20 was bigger and better than ever, 29 of the most important chefs from 14 countries invited here to combine their talents with those of the chefs at 27 of Banderas Bay's best restaurants, by all accounts the results awesome. Even the most gastronomically sophisticated residents and tourists were wowed by the fresh exciting menus offered, especially the Chef's Table dinners with perfectly harmonious wine pairings. An exceptionally atmospheric cocktail inauguration at The Grand Mayan kicked off the culinary celebration in style, followed by myriad activities for lovers of good food and drink, with something for everyone - cooking classes with Parisian master chefs, cheese and wine tastings, seminars, exhibitions and much more. The traditional Sunday brunch at the Sheraton Buganvilias featured mariachis and ice carvings, the festival concluding at that hotel there with a grand gala dinner under the stars. To find out about next year's festival consult www.festivalgourmet.com.