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While vacationing in Los Cabos, Mexico, your clients can take home more than just memories after they enroll in an on-property cooking class — a surefire way to savor their Mexican vacation long after they’ve headed home.
This is the case at One&Only Palmilla resort, for example. Here, executive chef Larbi Dahrouch, a specialist in “Mexiterranean” cuisine, blends the tastes of Mexico and his native Morocco throughout his cooking. One of his most popular classes teaches clients how to make ceviche, a favorite dish among Mexico’s coastal areas.
Skilled chefs help men prepare delectable dinners for their significant others at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. // © 2009 Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort
Gathered around his cutting board in the hotel kitchen, the class and I watched as the chef sliced a chunk from uncooked Catalina bass and diced it into smaller pieces with the energy worthy of a sushi master.
“Any kind of white-fish will do,” Dahrouch said, as he poured fresh-squeezed lime juice over the bass to marinate it. After marinating the fish, Dahrouch added his signature Mexiterranean touch, mixing in diced tomatoes, basil, chili peppers, onions and olive oil. Then, he garnished it with avocado, tortilla chips and spicy oil. While traditional ceviche is usually served right out of the bowl after it’s marinated, without any trimmings, Dahrouch’s recipe dressed up the traditional dish a bit, adding a few more layers of flavors. No matter how it is served, however, Dahrouch showed us how simple it is to make.
Before that, Dahrouch showed us how to mix margaritas, which we sipped between cooking tips. The secret to an excellent margarita, he said, was to use anejo tequila because it’s not too sweet and doesn’t overpower the tangy taste.
Once we had finished watching him make ceviche, we snacked on that as well and learned firsthand why this dish was one of the most requested items at the resort’s Agua restaurant.
Agua was where we headed afterward to feast on a four-course meal under a palapa overlooking the ocean. The menu included chicken enchiladas with toasted green-pumpkin-seed sauce, sauteed Pacific cabrillo fish with lemon preserve and green olives and Baja key-lime pie for dessert. Attractive handpainted, Mexican talavera tile and Moroccan lanterns added to the Mexiterranean ambience.
Chef Dahrouch also offers classes on fish tacos, tortilla soup or main entrees such as roasted yellow snapper “a la Diabla,” with cilantro rice and adobo sauce. The cost for each class is $120 per person, including a sit-down meal, and each class is designed to accommodate up to seven or eight people per session.
Another safe bet for cooking aficionados or those who want to beef up their culinary skills are the cooking classes at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort. Executive chef Fabrice Guisset hosts Saturday classes in a more formal, custom-built kitchen while students sip on wine and champagne. For the students, he puts together an easy-to-follow, three-course Mexican meal such as guacamole and meat cooked in a banana leaf, using herbs from the hotel’s organic garden. The cost for a class is $110 per person in a group and $160 per person for a private lesson.
If romance is on the menu, Las Ventanas can arrange for a husband/boyfriend to surprise his lady with a home-cooked meal, personally supervised by Guisset. The meal for two is personalized according to the couples’ tastes and is prepared by the boyfriend or husband (dressed in white, of course) as his wife/girlfriend observes. After he is done cooking, the two are led to a candlelit palapa where a private waiter is ready to serve them their meal amid soft music and the soothing scents of herbal essences. This Men in White special program costs approximately $80 per person and $130 for the set up.
However, if your clients would rather have someone else do all the prep work and the cooking, Las Ventanas’ Chef’s Table is the answer. With the Chef’s Table, Las Ventanas’ La Cava wine cellar and restaurant will call in its chef to prepare a gourmet menu of local ingredients, while its sommelier hand picks vintages to go with each course. Every Thursday, the chef does a Chef’s Table for a total of as many as 12 people, displaying a menu evocative of Baja specialties. Clients can also book La Cava for a private dinner. The price is $175 per person.
So, along with sending postcards or purchasing souvenirs, your clients can now tuck a new recipe or two and other culinary inspirations into their suitcases for the journey home.