Campeche Chefs’ Trip

September 20-27, 2015 This year’s chefs’ trip is to Campeche, a seldom visited state on the Yucatán Peninsula. The capital, also Campeche, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and will be our destination for the chefs’ trip September 20 through the 27th. Campeche, formerly named Ah-Kim-Pech, which means “Place of Snakes and Ticks,” is an ancient settlement from the magnificent Mayan culture founded in 1540 by the Spanish.

Chef Ricardo Munoz

Chef Ricardo Munoz

The week is filled with classes, demonstrations and discussions with Chef Ricardo Muñoz and various local chefs who will teach Campeche’s local specialties such as muc bil pollo.

www.culinaryadventuresinc.com

Malecon in Campeche

We will be staying at the Best Western Hotel Del Mar just across the street from the Gulf of Mexico and the colorful 3.5 kilometer malecon (boardwalk), for you running and walking enthusiasts. The location is just blocks away from the historic centro with buildings ranging from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including military, civil and religious structures. The folklore and history of this legendary city are still alive in its streets and one can easily imagine the Spanish conquistadors and pirates that once roamed here.

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Photo by Ana Elena Martinez

There will be demos at the Panderia La Huachita bakery, and in the small town of Becal we will see how the jipilapa hats are woven by families and made in limestone caves to escape the Yucatecan blistering heat. There are some wonderful pictures here by Lukas Vacovsky of the process.

Next up is a demo on making muc bil pollo at the Hacienda Blanca Flor before driving to Uxmal where we will spend the night. In the morning we will tour the site before visiting the Eco Chocolate Museum, and returning to Campeche and more classes with local cooks.

www.culinaryadventuresinc.com

Chefs Ana Elena Martinez and Ricardo Munoz

The trip starts and ends in Campeche and costs $4,000 with an additional $300 for a single room. The costs include two meals per day, hotel accommodations and transportation and fees during the trip. It excludes airfare to/from Campeche. The trip is limited to 20 chefs and food professionals (as of 5/5 there are 7 spots left). To sign up please use the contact form listed below.

Chiapas Explorer’s Trip

Here is a visual summary of the February explorer’s trip to Chiapas. The videos were made by Kathy Martinides.

Jalisco, land of cowboys and tequila

Jalisco Culinary Explorer’s Trip with Rick Bayless and Ricardo Muñoz as your guides

This trip is full.

After more than 10 years, we again are planning a trip Feb. 15-22, 2014 to the brash state of Jalisco, best known for its mariachis and tequila, the spirit of Mexico. The music and drink seem inseparable here, but also there is a distinct gutsy regional cuisine, characterized by dishes such as birriacarne en surugo, and my favorite, the messy but super flavorful, tortas ahogado.

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Ana Elena Martinez and Ricardo Muñoz

We will stay both in the sprawling capital, Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico, and in a small town in the highlands. This Los Altos region is a treasure trove of fine tequila distilleries surrounded by fields of blue agave.

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Agave plant
Photo by Ignacio Urquiza

As always, we will have a packed schedule including classes with Chef Rick Bayless.

Rick Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless

To get everyone in the spirit of Jalisco, on our first full day we will attend the Ballet Folklorico with dances that symbolize the culture and importance of ranch life, and then join with the locals to watch the Sunday charreado, a very elaborate version of a rodeo. On other days we will wander through the relatively unknown archeological site of Los Guachimontes with its circular pyramids, view the dramatic Orozco  murals in the vast Institute of Cultural Cabanas, and browse and shop in the artisan towns of Tlaquepaque and Tonalá. Every major form of arts and crafts can be found in these two places, especially the beautiful local pottery, and I once brought home a 4 foot tin rooster for my husband!

During the coming days, we will tour a variety of distilleries, learning about the harvesting of the agave, the cooking, grinding, filtering, and distilling process and then sampling the end result.

www.culinaradventuresinc.com

The heart or pina
Photo by Ignacio Urquiza

While we do not have all the scheduling details for this trip worked out, I did want to alert everyone so that those who are interested can send in a $400 deposit to hold a space. Our trips always fill early, and we already have people signed up.

This trip will start and end in Guadalajara. Trip cost of $3,650 include two meals per day, hotel costs and transportation while on the trip and any fees associated with visits to local sites. Transportation to and from Guadalajara is excluded from trip costs.

Please contact Culinary Adventures if you are interested in joining us

The Blind Burro, A Chef’s Dream

Once in a while, you receive affirmation that your life’s work has made a difference in someone else’s life. When Rick Bayless and I decided to commit to having chefs’ trips for food professionals twelve years ago, our purpose was to share our love for Mexico, its people and its cuisine, and to encourage young chefs to explore the richness and diversity that make this cuisine so wonderful. I wanted to share this letter that we received from one of our chefs who has participated in two of our trips. Sara has just opened the Blind Burro in San Diego at 639 J St., specializing in Baja cuisine. We are so proud of her and appreciate the small part that we had in inspiring her to make her dream come true.

Marilyn,

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for creating the outlet for the many chefs and food professionals who have attended your trips over the years to be exposed to and inspired by the Mexican culture and cuisine. Without the opportunity I jumped at 2 years ago, I would not be experiencing what I am right now. Although my passion for authentic Mexican food and its culture was initially inspired by Rick and his show, it has been elevated to a new level each time I come back from one of your trips. The knowledge, techniques, flavors, experiences and inspiration from the chefs, colleagues and culture around me when we are on the trips is priceless and has truly changed my life and who I am as a person.

I am writing this to you not even 24 hours after the most surreal experience of my career. I just spent the last 3 1/2 months developing a menu for a Baja inspired restaurant, Blind Burro, that we opened last night in downtown San Diego. I have never been prouder of anything I have accomplished in my career and it seems to be the consensus of the guests as well. We served an overwhelming number of people last night and it was as if we had been open for years. As I walked the dining room talking to guests, they commented that they had never seen anyone so excited about the food. I owe so much of that to you and everyone involved in my experiences over the years. From Rick to Roberto (Santibañez), Ricardo (Muñoz), Ana Elena (Martinez), all of my fellow chefs and everyone I have met along the way on this incredible journey.

I know that not everyone will enjoy the food, that is just the nature of the game…..but I know that I put my heart and soul into this project, because it has become so much a part of me. I have so much more to learn about the food and culture and it will become part of my life journey to dive deeper with every experience. I had the opportunity to work side by side with Javier Plascencia (Misión 19) last week and talk with Miguel Ángel (Guerrero Yaguës of La Querencia) at his museum exhibit and I feel like there are great things to come with them in the new year.

I just wanted you and the others to know how much I appreciate what you/they have done for me and I thank all of you!

Happiest of Holidays!

Sara Polczynski

To follow the Blind Burro you can like their page on Facebook. To read more about the Baja experience our chefs experienced in September, go here. Our next chefs’ trip will be to Mexico City and Puebla September 22-24, 2013.