Using my voice to tell others’ stories . . .
I was fortunate enough to be hired by Auberge Resorts Collection to write for Our Stories, the section on their Esperanza and Chileno Bay websites that shares first-hand stories from the resort team members of their experiences on property and in the region. My favorite interviews were with the culinary and F&B staff, I extracted colorful detail to write about. I would interview the team member then research and write their story in first-person. As I’ve always said, having worked in the hospitality industry for so many years, the very best of every hotel company is the team on property. They work with joy and purpose of sharing their unique hospitality. Chef Guillermo Gomez of Esperanza is a genius and a gentleman. Here is one of the story intros, followed by the complete article.
There is a cliff at Esperanza where I go to retrieve live sea urchins that cling to the sides of the warm granite, as they sunbathe and seek refuge from the constant crashing of the Sea of Cortez. The cliff is one of my favorite spots at the resort and I go there to carefully collect the urchins and bring them to my kitchen to prepare and serve them. Foraging for fresh seafood among the backdrop of Cabo’s dramatic cliffs is one of the most surreal and best things about my job here, and to have immediate access to high quality food is any chef’s dream.
We are blessed by more than the sea, the organic farms in Baja Sur provide an abundance as well, with exceptional fruits and vegetables that nourish tourist and locals alike. On weekends and days off, my family enjoys going to Miraflores, a small town almost 50 miles northwest of Cabo which was settled more than 300 years ago by French sailors. We make a day of it there, visiting leather craftsmen, the farmer’s markets and sometimes we make it to the hot springs. My daughter and son love to pick their own produce at the farms we visit. In fact, the Valentina’s salad we serve at Cocina del Mar is inspired by my daughter who is a “foodie” and eats everything, including raw oysters which she first tasted at age two.
We moved here almost three years ago from Sicily, Italy. Like Cabo, Sicily is perched on deep blue and turquoise waters and the view is sometimes obstructed by hills and cliffs that taunt curiosity and beg for exploration. Cabo San Lucas surprised me, in some ways. I wasn’t expecting such rich nature and biology, so much depth in the landscape and not just in and around the town. When I’m walking around the resort, my gaze still gravitates to the trees where red and yellow birds sing and dance from branch to branch.
As a chef, every day is a new day. I can prepare the Chocolata Clams for Cocina del Mar every day for five days in a row and it will not exactly be the same each time. The chocolate clams that are native to our waters, the cucumbers from Miraflores and avocados from Michoacán are different today than they were yesterday, and they will be different tomorrow. Maybe our guests cannot tell a difference, but I absorb the subtleties of product and approach them new every day.
It’s my good fortune to work and live here in Cabo. My colleagues around the resort and especially within the culinary team have formed a family and I find it very satisfying to work with them. Every day I see beauty here, the views from La Palapa and Cocina del Mar are unforgettable. Some of my favorite times of the day are when I come out to the kitchen to greet guests and get a peek and the deep blue sea and sky behind them.