At Mexican all-inclusive resorts, guests no longer have to feel they’re sacrificing quality for unlimited quantity tethered to a bulk-buying strategy.
One example is Mexico’s Velas Resorts in Los Cabos, Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta.
Carrying the tagline “Beyond All-Inclusive, Beyond All Compare,” the Velas Resorts properties back up that boast by offering food and beverage options that rival top non-resort restaurants.
Overseeing it all—22 gourmet restaurants brand-wide, with cuisine types ranging from French and Italian to Asian and Mexican—is Michel Mustiere, culinary director for Velas Resorts.
Mustiere, a 25-year culinary veteran, is only one of 10 chefs in Mexico to achieve the prestigious Master Chef of France title, and prides his Velas Resorts team on its refusal to take shortcuts such as using thickening agents in the majority of his sauces, and its attention to detail.
[Featured Recipe: Tuna Ceviche With Mango and Avocado]
The chef’s culinary sensibilities were informed by his family. His father was from Normandy, France, and his mother from Reunion Island, a small French territory in the Indian Ocean.
This marriage melded French classic cuisine with the mélange of Indian, African and Chinese cuisines on the island.
“Therefore, my influence in cuisines was very broad and both families are big, and all the members are gourmet,” Mustiere said. “Family reunions always were around a large table with a lot of classic food and different meals prepared with family recipes.
“So I grew up around different tastes and preparations of delicious foods,” he added.
Mustiere’s professional journey started at age 16 with a job in Paris’ Courchevel Restaurant under the tutelage of noted chefs Denis and Francoise Coutin.
He moved to Mexico at age 23, where he learned the administrative side of the business.
A Track Record of Culinary Success
Major Mexican properties Mustiere has worked at include:
- Camino Real hotel in Puerto Vallarta.
- Westin Regina Los Cabos.
- Sheraton Los Cabos.
- Pueblo Bonito hotels.
- Dreams Cancun Dorado Royal in Playa del Carmen.
He joined Velas Resorts 10 years ago at the Four-Diamond Piaf restaurant in Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The president of the French Culinary Academy, Fabrice Prochasson, gave Mustiere a medal—the first one ever awarded—for his professional passion and work teaching others while he was the executive chef at Grand Velas Riviera Maya.
The restaurants of Velas have also earned accolades—another departure from what can be the curse of sometimes low culinary expectations at all-inclusive resorts—for their creative menus and authenticity.
“From local cuisine from Yucatan, Asia, Italy, Mexico, France and beyond, our signature cuisine offerings provide a real dining experience that is often led by chefs that are originally from the region or destination of each featured restaurant,” Mustiere said. “Both our chefs and restaurants have been recognized time and time again with Diamond awards.”
Each Velas Resort Offers Groups a Taste of Local Flavor
Further distinguishing themselves from the all-inclusive crowd, Velas offers meetings groups the option of holding a Signature Event at each one of its locations.
Mustiere said the events highlight the local charm of each destination, including the following:
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya: The Catrina Soiree event is an invitation for guests to better understand the true meaning of the “Day of the Dead.” This character, Catrina, is a quintessential Mexican icon that was born in pre-Columbian times.
- Grand Velas Los Cabos Hotel: This Pacific Coast-themed event is a vintage, laidback theme party that combines fire and earth elements in a beach setting, including sand benches with colorful cushions, cotton blankets, bonfires and soothing music to create a unique atmosphere overlooking the Sea of Cortes.
- Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit: The Boho Event evokes a feeling of relaxation, natural beauty and calmness while still providing the thrill of a unique experience in a creative setting. Highlights include impressive floral textures and a bohemian touch that includes customized tepees, wooden tables, tiki torches and cushions in earthy, natural tones.
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