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San Jose del Cabo | Food & DrinksSeptember 24, 2010

Celestial Chef

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  I met chef Guisset at the Las Ventanas al Paraiso's entrance hall. " Are you miss Joelle Maslaton? " He asks me in a rushed smile on his way to the reception wearing a  white long and impeccable apron . ' Yes, actually I am "  I reply surprised  "and I imagine you are?  " Fabrice Madame , Fabrice Guisset, the executive chef here at the resort- Welcome to paradise ! " He replies with a strong French accent and a brighter smile.

Tanned and friendly, Fabrice asks if I enjoyed dinner last night while I am waiting for my next spa appointment sitting comfortably on a chair at the  Tequila and Ceviche Bar.

This spot in fact, is strategically positioned to enjoy one of the most ventilated and privileged views of the resort. Equipped with the largest variation of Tequilas in the world,  I invite the chef to keep me company. He nods,  and before he sits,  he send the waiter in a perfect Spanish still distilled with a French twist , to bring me today's Ceviche for a taste as I am peacefully sipping my delicious lychee Margarita.

Native of France, Fabrice Guisset had been in Mexico for nearly a decade and had become one of the country’s most celebrated chefs when he was appointed Executive Chef of Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort in January 2007.

Taking the reins of a resort with a heralded reputation for the finest dining in Los Cabos, and among the best in Mexico, Chef Guisset has elevated Las Ventanas to a new level of culinary acclaim.

Fabrice tells me that before he landed in Mexico , he traveled for many years around the world. I felt within his eyes a Bohemian je-ne- sait -quoi that turned him today into the improvised and the eclectic culinary creator is renowned to be. He made his living working temporarily in restaurant kitchens while absorbing the different countries culinary customs and flavors. Among the  "Hot "countries he visited, Australia, South Africa,  the Brazilian Amazon, and Argentina but India was one of his favorites because of its spices, along with Morocco where he learned the art of making coucous , but it's the taste of Avignon , where he was born that dictates in all his creations that Mediterranean touch.

Recognized for his creativity, skills and culinary knowledge, Chef Guisset put his imprimatur on the dining experiences at Las Ventanas with innovations, special touches and enhancements. His most important, and inspired, addition has been “Cocina del Fuego.” He introduced this little-known culinary art, where the entire menu is cooked on wood-burning grills and in a wood-burning clay oven, to the Sea Grill at Las Ventanas.

Chef Guisset is one of the world’s few masters of this unique cooking technique based on the finest meats and freshest seafood, the flavors imbued by the woods, fine olive oils and fresh herbs from Las Ventanas’ own herb garden. His Cocina del Fuego cuisine at the resort’s waterfront grill has been received with rave reviews from the international culinary world, while inspiring a renaissance of innovation in the dining scene of Los Cabos.

Chef Guisset came to Las Ventanas from Paraíso de la Bonita, the Five Diamond resort in Puerto Morelos in Mexico’s Yucatan where he enjoyed widespread acclaim for his fusion of culinary styles. Previously, he served as executive chef at the La Jolla de Mismaloya Hotel in Puerto Vallarta and at the Camino Real Cancun.

I listen fascinated to the stories behind each trip when I realize that the resort under the guidance  has set up systems and procedures to ensure the highest-quality organic cuisine. Among them an outdoor herb garden is all organic and includes a demonstration cooking center where weekly cooking classes are held.

Moreover,  the resort works exclusively with local growers, farmer's market, predominantly from the fecund fields of Miraflores, to ensure that Las Ventanas has a dependable supply of the freshest organic produce, right from the region. The seafood is bought from select local fishermen who catch it daily from the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean.

Likewise, Mexican cheeses, olive oils and other products come from the best regional producers, furthering the resort’s commitment to locally sourced ingredients; Like Fabrice, las Ventanas believes that Baja is the Provence of Mexico. My personal view instead  my dear readers,  is that  Las Ventanas cuisine is simply a taste of paradise.

Joelle's Picks:

Chef Guisset's Recipes:

YUCATAN SEA BASS CEVICHE (Serves 4)

Ingredients :

600 g                    Sea bass Fish Fillet

1/4                         Red Onion

2 pz                         Ripe tomato

1 pz                        Cucumber

6 oz                        Lime Juice

1 pz                        Habanero chili

1 Bunch             Cilantro

1 oz                        Virgin Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Procedure:

  • Cut in small cubes and Marinate the Sea bass in lime juice for half an hour to one Hour
  • Chop the Cilantro
  • Chop all vegetables the same size
  • Take off the Sea bass from lime juice
  • Mix with chop vegetables, Habanero chile and Cilantro
  • Add the olive oil
  • Season
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GUACAMOLE ( serves 4 )

Ingredients:

2   Kg Avocado

1   White Onion

1   Ripe Tomato

1   Cilantro Bunch

2   Chile Serrano

1 oz. Lime Juice

Salt

Procedure :

  • Cut the Avocado in Half and take out the seed
  • Get big cubes out of it
  • Add the rest of the ingredients finely chopped and season it with salt an the lime juice.
  • Serve with Tortilla Chips
Red Snapper with Organic Vegetables *Gremolata

This dish is a favorite at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico.  Executive Chef Fabrice Guisset prepares it in his weekly cooking class in the outdoor demonstration kitchen and herb garden – where guests sip champagne and watch while the Chef works his magic on fresh fish that comes straight from the Sea of Cortez!

Serves 4

-       Cook the vegetables in salty boiling water for 5 minutes and cool down on ice

-       Prepare Gremolata by cutting the shallot finely, chopping the flat parsley, grating the lemon and orange zest in a bowl, and adding the olive oil. Season and rest.

-       Fry the snapper fish fillets starting skin down in olive oil, 2 minutes on each side, season with salt and pepper

-       In a bowl, mix the pre-cooked baby vegetables with the gremolata, divide evenly and place on each plate

-       Top with fish fillet and serve.

Ingredients

*Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment made of garlic, parsley, and lemon peel. Although it is a common accompaniment to veal, the citrus element in gremolata makes it a wonderful addition to seafood dishes

8                                    Red Snapper boned fillets100 gr

(3 ½ oz.)                       Baby carrots

100 gr                                    Zucchini

100 gr                                    Broccoli

100 gr                                    Spring onions

50 gr            (1 ¾ oz)            Chopped flat parsley

20 gr            (1 ½ TBL)            Shallot

1 piece                                    lemon

1 piece                                    orange

salt

pepper

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