Spicy Cooking with Guillermo Gomez

Guillermo Gomez was recently named executive chef at Esperanza, an Auberge Resort in Cabo San Lucas. Gomez oversees the culinary direction of the resort’s six restaurants, including the acclaimed Cocina del Mar and new Pesca, as well as developing all the seasonal menus at Esperanza with a special emphasis on Baja’s local produce and purveyors.

Always looking for authentic cooking classes when I travel, we met Guillermo during dinner as we awaited Hurricane Newton. Inquiring on the preparation of a certain dish, he left the kitchen to visit our table and discuss the ingredients. Once he revealed he was from Cordoba, Argentina, we shared our exciting Argentine travel tales and favorite Francis Mallmann restaurants (Mallmann is the Thomas Keller of Argentina). Guillermo began cooking when he was 12, when his mother and grandfather taught him the fine Argentine art of asado – specifically cooking over a flame or on a grill.

Gomez’s cuisine is reflective of his international experience in destinations including Argentina, Spain, France, Italy, Uruguay, Mexico and the U.S.

Our afternoon class with Guillermo took place in the Cocina Del Mar bar, overlooking the Sea of Cortez…divine setting! Known for it’s exquisite variety of fresh fish, it was appropriate to begin with ceviche. Culture,culinary traditions and geographic ingredients, the perfect combination! Best to be accompanied with an icy Margarita!

We made a few dishes besides ceviche and guacamole – recipes below.

GUACAMOLE

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 romaine tomato, cubed without seeds
  • 1 tbsp. chopped onion
  • Serrano or jalapeño chili to taste, chopped without seeds (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method: Avocados must be soft when squeezed gently. Cut avocados in half, cutting around the large, smooth pit. Separate the avocado halves and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado meat from the skins. Use a whisk or a fork to mash the avocados until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix very well and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy traditional guacamole with crispy warm corn tortillas “totopos”
or for topping your fajitas.
Guillermo is entertaining and extremely friendly and very patient in sharing each recipe presentation, we didn’t feel rushed or intimidated by the class – he is so well traveled, it’s easy to chat with him and share travel experiences; clearly, his vast globe trotting has influenced his cuisine. Also, he was very patient when I wasn’t satisfied with my photos on a somewhat misty afternoon and needed extra shots!

Highly recommend culinary classes with Guillermo at Esperanza, an Auberge Resort.

¡Buen provecho!

 

 

How to Survive a Hurricane

Monday Sept. 5 Hurricane Newton. From Cabo

The afternoon visit to Los Cabos Square was originally an outing to enjoy lunch, stroll and explore the small authentic town.San Jose Square

We met shopkeepers and art gallery owners, as we meandered from shop to shop, the talk of the storm intensified…initially described as a  tropical storm by some, it was clear by the end of the few blocks that the storm indeed was stronger than a tropical depression. Mothers in the shops mentioned school was already declared closed on Tuesday and as we took one more walk around the historic square the presence of a small convoy of AK47 armed military police indicated looting prevention measures were falling into place. OK, perhaps we look for a taxi and head back to our hotel.

We moved hotels to Esperanza, an Auberge Resort where we were warmly greeted with the usual custom of a chilled flavorful fruit drink – tequila infused? Si!

Red Flag Beach Closed!

Our suite was perched on the hilltop overlooking the grassy green resort, the seas below  were already churning and slamming the beach boulders. Staff members removed the outdoor furniture from the dining terraces…we would not be dining at Cocina del Mar on the terrace above the rocky cliff.

The hotel sent out several notices to the guests apologizing for the interruption to their vacations and Hurricane Advisories – basically stay in your room. We walked in the medium rainfall to dinner; enthusiastic staff was coping with the eventual downpour and blustery winds…guests were moved into a small ballroom for dinner, enormous glass doors rattled with each massive gust of wind. Sheets of rain poured off the rooftop, it was exciting, if you like Mother Nature’s personality! I do.

Hurricane Newton Esperanza Resort Cabo

Hurricane Newton Esperanza Resort Cabo

Dinner was festive, the congenial and fun hotel GM, Marc Rodriguez came to chat, slightly soaked from walking the grounds…all the staff conveyed a marvelous sense of ‘we will be fine’ and still apologetic for our inconvenience…Guillermo Gomez, the new chef came to our table to discuss the menu items and ingredients, followed by the sommelier to make his personal recommendations. Very festive and enjoyable! Our Last Supper was joyous, delicious and quite grand!

Marc Sent SOS Supplies..tequila and snacks!

Marc Sent SOS Supplies..tequila and snacks!

A golf cart ride up the hill in the pouring rain and ferocious winds – we kept our glass doors open for awhile to enjoy the drama…Marc had generously delivered a beautiful array of tequila, juices and snacks with a Buenas Noches note. Power blipped a few times and the generators took on their task. Dancing palms bent in the wind, but the fierce winds were no challenge to these astonishing trees…I had no idea palms were so robust, proudly standing up to Mother Nature’s whipping wind – Newton was not going to uproot or de-frond these impenetrable dancers.

My goal was to stay up all night and watch the spectacle unfold, alas, I fell asleep, slightly apprehensive…the eye was supposed to pass over us around 1 am, at exactly 2 am, I woke up – jolted by a loud banging – the door was rattling in the raging wind. I got up to look outside, double check the locks, the floor was wet by the doors…I have to say the door rattling jarred my initial sense of adventure – the reality of 100 mph winds was right here on my doorstep! I checked my phone and we still had WiFi until 2.20 am when we dropped off the WiFi radar.

I woke up again around 7 and the ceiling fan was off, indicating the generator power was off as well. The wild wind deterred me from opening the glass sliders, so I took a few misty photos through the streaky debris laden glass doors. Massive waves heaved and rolled against the beach wall. Nodded off again and at 8.30 woke to a loud rapping on the door…staff presented breakfast boxes with fruit and croissants…the porch and the golf cart path were littered with tree debris. But out across the grounds, only one palm tree seemed to have lost its waving mane, all others were proudly erect, standing in defiance,  defeating Newton.

Thirty minutes later staff arrived to clean the room, replenish towels and deliver breakfast burritos! Wow – an efficient team checking in on all the guests and really – change my bed linens? No, we are bueno, coffee would be happily received, but bed linens, no we can survive!

Hurricane Newton clean up begins

Hurricane Newton clean up begins

It’s now almost 11 am, we still don’t have power or WiFi, and honestly after a few days of local dining, I am certain we could use a detox day…we can organize boot camp in the room! The wind is still howling, the rain seems to have subsided; our glass door is open enough to enjoy the gusts. So far so good…

We subsequently enjoyed visits from the head of finance and Marc, our GM. The hotel staff is extremely well trained in managing drastic situations, their chief concern is the safety of their guests. Esperanza chefs toiled in a candlelit kitchen all night preparing our breakfast, grounds people were out as soon as the rain stopped clearing paths for their guests, this exceptional team kept us safe.

How to survive a Hurricane? Hope you are checked in to the five star Esperanza, an Auberge Resort.