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Viajes & Vinos
PO Box 21404, San Juan, PR 00928-1404
Tel. America: 787-375-9655 * Tel. Europe: 34-628-522-004 * SKYPE: viajesyvinos * *





Autumn might have been the season the calendar marked, but it felt like an endless summer blast at Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico where a bright sunny sky, the crystalline turquoise waters of the Atlantic and a torrid heat were the pristine stage for the third edition of this ultra luxurious Caribbean property’s Culinary Getaway with José Andrés and Friends.

A tradition only interrupted by hurricane Maria, this week-end long intimate culinary extravaganza brought together celebrity chefs from the United States and some of Puerto Rico’s most respected culinary professionals for four days of flavor and excitement that attracted both locals and visitors to a magnetic program of food and wine tastings, dinners, evening parties, brunches and culinary demonstrations.

An event previously attended by superstar chefs Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain, the 2019 edition featured a new roster of culinary celebrities who added zest to the celebration with a delightful and warm proximity and the fabulous empathy they were capable of developing with those who attended their presentations.  

The flavorful week-end kicked-off with a tasty parade at the hotel’s main pool featuring signature dishes from some of Puerto Rico’s top chefs including Wilo Benet, Enrique Piñeiro, José Enrique, Mario Pagán and José Santaella, who along with chef José Andrés tantalized guests’ buds around the pool. A paella party led by the Spanish chef and a dinner prepared by some of Ritz-Carlton’s chefs followed on the event’s second day, a date that also featured a wine tasting lesson by Dorado Beach’s Sommelier Jonathan Morán and a culinary demonstration by chef Lorena García, known for her Mexican-infused flavors.

Yet the best seasoning for a thrilling culinary week-end was a trio of culinary demonstrations that brought for the first time onto the stage the talent of chefs Lorena García, Tyler Florence and Ludo Lefevre, a sum of Latin American, United States and French influences that spiced up the Caribbean with a very earnest flair.

Set up close to where one of the hotel’s pools almost blends with the Atlantic Ocean, a demo kitchen was the perfect stage for morning culinary classes with Tyler Florence and Ludo Lefebvre, an experience attendees were able to pair with wine glasses of refreshing Sauvignon Blanc White and a delicious Provençale rosé from Château des Esclans.

More a kind of a Chablis devotee, chef Lefebvre is a Bourgogne-born professional, and an alumnus of French culinary icons as Pierre Gagnaire or Alain Passard. He arrived in Los Angeles in the mid 1990s to lead fine-dining restaurants L’Orangerie, and later Bastide, which served as platforms to begin his own culinary project, LudoBites, a sort of culinary pop-up that took him on tour through various cities. His second venture was a food truck, LudoTruck, a step towards LudoBird, a brick and mortar location. More restaurants followed as well as two cookbooks and numerous TV appearances foremost among which Ludo à la Maison. Today, he is considered one of the most influential players of the food scene in Los Angeles, California.

This was Lefebvre third visit to Puerto Rico although the first to the Dorado Beach property, where he shared with the audience a flashback of his childhood memories in France with Parisian Gnocchi, a simple, comfort food recipe his mother and grandmother used to prepare at home. A simple pâte-à-choux that mixed water, flour, salt, eggs and butter served as foundation for the gnocchi, which the chef then boiled and sautéed, explaining that one can prepare them in large amounts and then keep frozen. Lefebvre then served this pasta with parmeggiano cheese sauce.

The chef explained that there are not that many French restaurants in Los Angeles, and that his cuisine is defined by French culinary techniques, but influences from various cuisines, including Asian and Latin cuisines.

A much more “islander” approach was that of Tyler Florence, a Food Network celebrity chef who chose to prepare a salt-crusted and roasted fish for his demo. A gigantic 30-pound grouper was the star of the kitchen, where Florence demonstrated how to create the salt marinade with which he covered the fish, which after half-an-hour came out of the oven with a perfectly tender texture. Pulled portions of fish were the basis of a cone with avocado cream, cantaloupe melon pico de gallo, shredded and shaved greens and a crunchy green plaintain slice as garnish.

Florence, who confessed to Divinidades that he is a fan of White Burgundy, Albariño, but mostly Pinot Noir, suggested that an ideal pairing for this recipe would be a crisp white wine as Sauvignon Blanc.

Born in South Carolina, Florence attended the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University. After graduating he moved to New York where he was in charge of numerous restaurants and earned a reputation as one of the city’s finest young chefs. This gained the attention of Food Network, TV Network of which Florence quickly became, firstly, one of its shining stars and then a global culinary voice who has ultimately starred in several other TV shows and published several books. He has had several culinary projects in California.

Paramount in the culinary week-end was a special five-course dinner to benefit World Central Kitchen, prepared by these three guest chefs plus José Andrés. World Central Kitchen is Chef José Andrés’s NGO that has helped feed residents of locations impacted by natural disasters such as California fires or hurricanes Maria in Puerto Rico and Dorian in the Bahamas, among many catastrophes. The four-day event wrapped up with a champagne brunch sponsored by Champagne Laurent-Perrier.


15 de octubre de 2019. Todos los derechos reservados ©


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