Get To Know Chef Victor Garrido of Capella Marigot Bay

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Recently I had the chance to sit down with Capella Marigot Bay’s Executive Chef, Victor Garrido.  Get all the mouthwatering details from our chat below!

Hello Chef Victor and welcome to Capella Marigot Bay!  Tell me and the Capella Blog readers a bit about yourself.
Hello!  I am Victor Garrido, I began cooking at a young age.  As a kid growing up in Mexico, I would always be in the kitchen with my mother, grandmother and aunts, while my brothers and cousins played football outside.
My love for food, cooking and eating has allowed me to travel throughout Mexico and the world giving me the chance to enrich my repertoire.  I am so excited about this current opportunity to place these culinary and cultural experiences together on one plate for our guests here at Capella Marigot Bay.

Victor Garrido Capella Marigot Bay

Describe your attitude towards food and your personal cooking style.
My attitude towards food is all about respect.  I have as much respect for a single bay leaf as for a giant spiny lobster.  This attitude helps me to understand each and every ingredient and its characteristics to get the best of them and create the proper balance and match for palate, nose and eyes.
But that doesn’t mean I take food too seriously!  In fact I would describe my style as fun, adventurous and full of flavor.

What are your impressions of St. Lucia? 
St. Lucia is the best!  It is full of magic and wonder.  The environment and nature is rich and beautiful and the people posses a genuine warmth.  I have no doubt that this island will be a top vacation destination in the Caribbean in the very near future.

What do you think of the local food?
It is rich in both history and flavor.  You can taste the French- British influence combined with Indian spices and enhanced by organic local herbs in every bite.  Imagine these flavors joining with luscious chunks of Caribbean Kingfish and ground treasures…all in the same coal pot.
It just makes it amazing and full of potential seasonal variations.

Can you share some of your ideas for the different food outlets at Capella Marigot Bay?
Certainly!  As part of our plans, we have the construction and development for two new outlets and a Pool Bar, featuring fresh and healthy seafood options in our menu, such as Tiraditos, Lobster Rolls, Watermelon and Spicy Shrimp Salad etc.…

Our main restaurant will offer a relaxing atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating overlooking our gorgeous Marina.  For those looking for a more secluded affair, a private dining room will also be available.

The Hurricane Hole, located Jetty side, will serve lunch and dinner under a casual relaxed ambiance. I can’t wait to bring some smoky charcoal and barbequed meat aromas to the setting!

All of our dishes will possess true “Caribbean Soul,” as we are working with local farmers and purveyors to provide the most authentic and fresh ingredients.  I can’t wait for our guests to taste it all for themself!

 

 

 

 

Meet Capella Ixtapa’s Culinary Team

Capella Ixtapa's Culinary Team

It is my pleasure to present to you two new members of Capella Ixtapa’s culinary team: Executive Chef Rurik Salazar, and Sous Chef Miguel Baltazar.  Both are amazing chefs and I am excited to announce they are also both finalists for Mexico’s Chef of the Year contest!  I had to sit down and get to know a bit more about their culinary passions and of course, share them with you.

Capella Ixtapa's Culinary Team

Chefs, you clearly both have a love of food.  How would you describe your cuisine, your culinary style?

RS: I enjoy experimenting with unknown products in a search for the highest quality and the most adequate technique to bring out the best of every ingredient.  I am in a constant search of the perfect dish.  My culinary style is Mexican, whether traditional or contemporary, it is what moves me.  I also appreciate foreign gastronomies such as Thai.  Regardless of their origins, I love Fine Dining Cuisine.

MB: I have great respect for traditional Mexican ingredients and techniques.  I truly enjoy cooking with what I know best and taking it to the contemporary scene.  My cuisine is bold, colorful and very Mexican.

I am so excited that you both are the finalists for the Chef of the Year contest, which will be held in June 2014!  Will you be practicing together for the finals?

RS: I won the first national semifinal in the Bajío region last June.  I am thrilled to be representing Capella Ixtapa  along with Miguel.  This is the most important culinary contest in Mexico, so it is amazing that we have both made it so far!  Together we will put Capella Ixtapa on Mexico’s culinary map!

MB: I won the second national semifinal that included the states of Michoacán, Morelos and Guerrero.  I loved the experience of being tested in every possible way.  From my perspective what gives you edge is controlling your nerves.  I am so happy to represent Capella Ixtapa and it is an honor to be head-to-head with my Executive Chef!  I am sure we will practice together because at the end our goal is to finish first and second.

What innovations are you bringing to Capella Ixtapa’s dining experience?

RS: Our main goal is to create unique culinary experiences for our guests.  This will come from having the best local ingredients in an attempt to showcase regional gastronomy.  We will have seasonal menu changes through the year while keeping our signature dishes.  My biggest professional challenge is to take Capella Ixtapa’s cuisine to a national and international spotlight.

MB: Chef Rurik and I have a very similar conception of food and I think great things are about to take place.  I am bringing a fresh twist on traditional Mexican Cuisine.  We are both bringing our own personal experience and vision to the food.  We want guests to visit Capella Ixtapa because of our cuisine.

Fall has come to Ixtapa, and with it the new seasonal menu at Capella Ixtapa.  What can the guests expect at our restaurants?

RS & MB: Be prepared to taste real Mexican flavors, from smoked cow’s tongue to black berry tamales.  We are cooking a very interesting menu for A Mares, where we are combining gastronomy of the Guerrero’s coast with ingredients and techniques from central Mexico.  Also not to be missed is our special set menu for the Tequila tasting, it is as Mexican as it gets!

For my final question, what is your favorite Mexican dish?

RS: There is nothing that takes me back to my hometown as much as a Mole de Caderas.  Every year I wished for Día de Muertos to come because I knew I was getting a nice hot bowl of this flavorful soup made with goat’s hip and spine.  It’s unique flavor comes from goats who have dieted on salt throughout their lives.

MB: I am a simple man and I love eating, but there is nothing that I enjoy as much as a big plate of Morisqueta made by my grandma.  Steamed rice, slowly cooked beans, spicy tomato salsa, aged Cotija cheese and sour cream; every spoonful is a childhood memory.

 

To make a reservation at any of our restaurants, please send us an email to: pa.ixtapa@capellahotels.com, or call us at 01.755.555.11.00

 

Conoce Al Equipo Culinario De Capella Ixtapa

Capella Ixtapa's Culinary Team

Es un placer para mi presentarles a los nuevos miembros de el equipo culinario de Capella Ixtapa: El Chef Ejecutivo Rurik Salazar, y el Sous Chef Miguel Baltazar. Ambos son excelentes chefs y me emociona también anunciar que ambos están dentro de los finalistas nominados para ¡Chef del Año en México! Para compartirlo con ustedes, me senté con ellos a conocerlos un poco más y a sus pasiones culinarias:

Capella Ixtapa's Culinary TeamChefs, es obvio que a los dos les encanta la comida. Cómo describirían su cocina, su estilo culinario?

RS: A mi me encanta experimentar con productos poco conocidos en una búsqueda de la más alta calidad y las técnicas más adecuadas para sacar lo mejor de cada ingrediente. Estoy en constante búsqueda del platillo perfecto. Mi estilo culinario es mexicano, ya sea tradicional o contemporáneo, es lo que me apasiona. También disfruto de otras gastronomías como sería la comida Tailandesa. Sin importar su origen, me encanta la Alta Cocina.

MB: Tengo mucho respeto por los ingredientes y técnicas mexicanas tradicionales. Me encanta cocinar con lo que conozco mejor y darle una interpretación contemporánea. Mi cocina es llamativa, rica en sabor, colorida y muy mexicana.

Me emociona mucho que los dos estén como finalistas nominados para Chef del Año en México, el cual se decidirá en Junio del 2014, estarán practicando juntos para las pruebas finales?

RS: Gané la primera semifinal nacional de la región del Bajío el pasado Junio, y estoy emocionado de representar a Capella Ixtapa junto con Miguel. Este es el galardón culinario más importante en México, así que considero maravilloso que los dos estemos dentro de los finalistas! Juntos, estoy seguro, pondremos a Capella Ixtapa ¡dentro del mapa gastronómico de México!

MB: Yo gané la segunda semifinal que incluía los estados de Michoacán, Morelos y Guerrero. La verdad es que me encantó la experiencia de ser evaluado en toda forma posible. Desde mi perspectiva lo que puede darte una ventaja es controlar tus nervios. Estoy muy contento de representar a Capella Ixtapa y además un honor estar nominado junto con mi Chef Ejecutivo! Estoy seguro que practicaremos bastante juntos, ya que nuestra meta es hacer “el uno-dos”.

Que innovaciones están trayendo a las experiencias culinarias de Capella Ixtapa?

RS: Nuestra meta principal es generar experiencias culinarias únicas para nuestros huéspedes. Esto viene de utilizar los mejores ingredientes locales en un esfuerzo para mostrar la gastronomía regional. Tendremos cambios en el menú cada temporada, y mantendremos nuestros platillos característicos. Uno de mis retos profesionales más grandes es llevar la cocina de Capella Ixtapa a los reflectores de la escena gastronómica nacional e internacional.

MB: El Chef Rurik y yo tenemos una idea muy similar respecto a la comida y creo que grandes momentos nos esperan. Yo aporto una mirada fresca de la comida tradicional mexicana con un pequeño “twist”. Ambos aportamos nuestras experiencias profesionales y visiones personales a la comida. Queremos que nuestros huéspedes visiten Capella Ixtapa por la cocina.

Ya es otoño en Ixtapa, y con ello los primeros cambios de temporada en el menú de Capella Ixtapa. Que pueden esperar nuestros huéspedes en nuestros restaurantes?

RS y MB: Estén preparados para probar verdaderos sabores mexicanos, desde lengua ahumada a tamales de zarzamoras. Estamos cocinando un menú muy interesante para Amares, donde combinamos la gastronomía de la costa de Guerrero con ingredientes y técnicas del centro.

También no se pueden perder es nuestro menú especial para maridar la cata de Tequila, ¡no se puede ser más mexicano que eso!

Mi pregunta final es: ¿cuál es su platillo mexicano favorito?

RS: No hay nada que me lleve de vuelta a casa como el Mole de Caderas. Cada año espero el Día de Muertos ya que sabía que recibiría entonces un gran plato de este colorido caldo hecho con cadera y espina de cabra. Es un sabor único que viene de cabras que han sido criadas a base de sal durante su vida.

MB: Soy una persona de gustos simples y me encanta comer, pero no hay nada que disfrute más que un gran plato de Morisqueta de mi abuela. Arroz al vapor, frijoles cocinados lentamente, salsa de tomate picante, queso cotija y crema; cada cucharada es un viaje a mi infancia.

 

Para realizar una reservación para cualquiera de nuestros restaurantes, por favor, envíanos un correo electrónico a: pa.ixtapa@capellahotels.com, o llámanos al 01.755.555.11.00

Get To Know Sean Carney Of Capella Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Capella Marigot Bay

I am so excited that the latest Capella Hotels and Resorts, Capella Marigot Bay, has arrived in St. Lucia.  Since acquiring the property less than two months ago, Capella has already begun to instill its own brand of elite service under the guidance of interim General Manager, Sean Carney.

Since arriving eight weeks ago, Mr. Carney has hit the ground running and I doubt he’s stopped for even a moment!  I always see him rushing around the property, encouraging and training staff, discussing renovation plans and much more.  Luckily I was able to get him to squeeze in a few minutes for this interview so that you could get to know a bit more about him, Capella Marigot Bay and St. Lucia.

 Capella Marigot Bay

 Mr. Carney, we are so excited to have you here in St. Lucia at the helm of Capella Marigot Bay!  Tell me (and the Capella Blog readers!) a bit about yourself.
Originally from Ireland, I am married to an amazing woman, who is the not so quiet support behind me and we have one boy who just actually turned four years old last month.  Having spent the last 15 years working abroad with some great professionals and organizations has allowed me to gather a wealth of experiences to adapt and change with the various markets that I have been privileged to work in.  Passionate about what I do allows me to do something I enjoy doing on a daily basis and not have to think of it as work.  Meeting our employees and guests from all over the world allows me to get to know different people and cultures that one would not normally be exposed to.  Personally I enjoy swimming and cycling when time permits. Diving is another passion of mine.  I spent a few years also in the volunteer fire departments in Portchester NY and Waikoloa in Hawaii believe it or not.

You’ve been in St. Lucia long enough to get a taste for our beautiful island.  What are your first impressions?
It is a wonderful island with an amazing sense of warmth that flows genuinely from all of the individuals I have encountered.  It is great to see people from all walks of life coming together in Anse La Raye for Fish Friday or Saturday nights in Gros Islet.
The island itself is an amazing place with dense foliage, jungles and mountain scenery.  The breathtaking landscape from the Pitons down to the sea or the gorgeous sunsets here in Marigot Bay make for a picturesque setting everywhere you turn!

I think those are pretty spot-on first impressions!  So, what do you think Capella can bring to the island?
For an island that relies as heavily on tourism as Saint Lucia any positive impact from any organization is well received.  However I believe, Capella will take things further than just another resort.  By bringing its unique service based approach to the hotel, through our Canon and philosophy, we are determined to instill a sense of service confidence that our wonderful Ladies and Gentlemen will be able to match with their own hard work and desire to be the best that they can be.
Additionally, as a company we are always looking to contribute the areas we live in.  We partake in a variety of outreach programs and always look to work with the local community to preserve culture and traditions.  It is important for us to become part of our communities.

I know you’ve been busy, but what are the ways you like to spend downtime in St. Lucia and what activities are you looking forward to trying out?
Marigot Bay is very centrally located, which means all of St. Lucia’s major attractions are at most an hour away.   I love the adventure activities offered — from zip lining, diving, jungle and waterfall hikes to fishing off Marigot Bay.  And yes, I have done the Sulpher springs and covered my self in the black mud as well as relaxing in the hot thermal water!
Another great attraction just five minutes from the hotel is the only distillery left on the island and they do an amazing tour with a few samples at the end.  I have had the privilege of touring the facility with their master blender and tasted some products that they are working on for the future!  Definitely a great experience worth asking your Capella Personal Assistant about.

Last but not least, can you let us in on any details from the upcoming renovation?
Details are still being determined, but I can tell you a few secrets!
The new restaurant will have an extended balcony seating giving a great vantage point for bay view dining and watching the yachts sailing in and out.  This restaurant will feature an open show kitchen and a private dining room with both indoor and outdoor seating as well as some garden seating.
Another new food and beverage outlet will be located near the docks and will include a rum cave for private tastings and chef dinners.  The venue will also serve light fare for lunch and an everyday dinner menu.
The spa will also be transformed. The current fitness center will be moving upstairs and the spa downstairs.  This allows for the creation of a spa village with treatment “huts” in the middle of the garden that will allow for guests to really relax into the surroundings.

 

You can learn more about the latest Capella Hotels and Resorts HERE.

A Very Special Zeitgeist Award Nomination

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As I shared in the past, every three months we present our Zeitgeist Award to an employee who embodies the tenants of our Zeitgeist: exclusivity, loyalty, experience and legacy.  This time, we had an extraordinary nomination from one of our apprentices, Helge Unterweg, who wanted to thank the entire kitchen team here at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  Everybody was so overwhelmed by this nomination that I simply had to share this with you:

Helge Unterweg In The Kitchen“The clock strikes 4:45 in the morning, this is the time the early shift reports to start breakfast service.  Time flies: the buffet is set up and then joyfully serving, serving, serving: Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs, a battalion of fried eggs, gluten-free pancakes – with enthusiasm the kitchen makes everything our guests desire.  Handling everything with perfect execution.  It is now 9:30am and the next shift arrives.  They support the breakfast service, while starting to arrange the kitchen for lunch, prepping the dish of the day…and then get again joyfully serving, serving, serving – steadily in great mood, because they love what they do.

After lunch (as we all know after service is before service): cleaning the kitchen, and again arranging- now for dinnertime. And all are looking forward to serving, serving, serving!  The night shift arrives punctually to complete the 24 hours cycle.

Along the way and throughout the services much more is happening.  From encouraging the staff with food, signing reports, mentoring an apprentice, writing the service schedule for the next week, making the order for the next day, tasting new dishes, preparing a food show, preparing events, taking part in many meetings…the team completes everything with an impressive passion and affectionate addiction.

Herewith, I nominate the whole kitchen team: the apprentices, the Demi Chefs, the Chefs de Partie, the Junior Sous Chef and the Executive Chef.

Whether we will win the award or not: It is an honor for me to work with you! Thank you.”

Isn’t this beautiful?!  It really paints a beautiful picture of the behind-the-scenes of our kitchen team.

Meet Breidenbacher Hof’s Tobias Schall

Tobias Schall 2

Tobias Schall is Director of Rooms here at Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  I was always curious what the position encompasses, so I thought I would take this opportunity to learn a bit more.  I found out that he has a very exciting and vital position—full of responsibilities.  Undoubtedly you will be as impressed as I was.

Breidenbacher Hof's Tobias Schall

In your role as Director of Rooms what are your duties?

I am responsible for everything that deals directly with the hotel rooms: the front desk, the bell boys, our call center and housekeeping.  I also oversee things like the public domains, including ordering flowers and the like.

What do you like most and how do you motivate yourself?

The contact with our guests is very exciting and dynamic.  Every day there are new wishes and desires to be met. Every morning, I set my own goal: To give our guests a second home and to enthuse them.  This is my motivation.

Have you always dreamed of working in the hotel business?

During 11th grade we had a career day.  The intention was, to find out your own strengths and weaknesses to discover the perfect job.  I found out that I perfectly fit into the service industry, so I decided to take on an apprenticeship and I loved it!  The hotel business connects a lot of different tasks I like, for example to care about guests, to organize the flow of work and the possibility to work in different countries.

What do you like most about Dusseldorf and the Breidenbacher Hof?

Dusseldorf is my hometown!  My family still lives here and I first heard of the Breidenbacher Hof when I was very young and this huge magnificent building has always fascinated me.  I was working at another Capella Hotels and Resorts property when I heard they would be taking over the Breidenbacher Hof.  I jumped at the chance to work in a hotel with such rich history.

So you have not always lived in Düsseldorf?

No!  After school I moved to Berlin for my apprenticeship in the hotel trade at the hotel Adlon.  From there I worked all over the world.  I’ve also lived in London, Rome, St. Moritz, Washington D.C. and Velden.  Working in this industry has allowed me to see the world!  But it is nice to now be at The Breidenbacher Hof.  I am very happy to be back in my hometown Dusseldorf and near family and friends.  However if a new opportunity arises, I am ready for the adventure.

What is your advice to someone moving to a new country?

Trust the people, who are local. I always got the best advice from the hotel that I went to work for and the people who have already been there for a while. It just makes it much easier than to start from scratch.

What should every visitor to Dusseldorf experience?

The city is full of culture and places to see. Obviously we have the famous “Königsalle”, one of the most known shopping streets in Germany.  And I always send our guests to my favorite local breweries to grab something to eat and to try our legendary Altbier.