Last week Merida was the venue for the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and the town was on fire! This list was launched in 2013 to celebrate gastronomy across the region and to provide diners around the globe with local insight and culinary recommendations.
The annual Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants lists are created by the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Latin America, each selected for their expert opinion of Latin America’s restaurant scene. The Academy is divided into five separate regions: Mexico, Central America; South America (North); South America (South); and Brazil, covering the following countries: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela.
The festivities started November 11 and went through November 17th where around town you could participate in lots of foodie events including 6 course meals in several of Merida’s best restaurants, speakeasy and mixology takeovers, culinary bazaars, market tours, turibus brewery tours, tastings at restaurants, pre and after parties and press chats with the chefs. It was a showcase of Latin America’s best talents and I was definitely in my element.
The awards night on November 15th started with a red carpet entrance where the excitement was contagious. Chefs, famous food critics, professionals in the the food industry and the press all gathered to celebrate the night. There was a pre-cocktail before the awards ceremony where everyone could enjoy a variety of appetizers from Bravo Catering and drinks from various brands around Mexico. Some of the high-profile guests included Chef Enrique Olvera, Massimo Bottura, Lara Gilmore, Domenique Creen, Jorge Vallejo, Food critic Marco Beteta, Dabiz Muñoz, Jonathan Gómez Luna, David Castro and many more.
The awards ceremony started right on time at 9pm and Mexico had a large presence on the final list of the best. Great news for us! It’s time to start planning our foodie trips.
7th Pujol – Mexico City
16th Fauna –Valle de Guadalupe
17th Le Chique – Cancún
18th Villa Torél – Ensenada
23rd Sud 777– Mexico City
28th Máximo Bistrot – Mexico City
29th Arca – Tulum
34th Pangea – Monterrey
37th Rosetta – Mexico City
41st Alcalde – Guadalajara
42nd La Docena – Guadalajara
43rd Quintonil –Mexico City
MEET THE CHEFS
The day of the event we were able to have an intimate speed-datingish event of “Meet the Chefs” where 6 of the nominated chefs and one of the special guest chefs went table to table to answer questions about their story, their cuisine, their vision and passion. I was able to have a 12 minute sit down with two of Mexico’s winners:
David Castro Hussong and Maribel Aldaco Silva, Chefs at Fauna (Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico) WINNERS- 16th Best Restaurant
Chef Castro Hussong: You enter Fauna and it’s a party, a feast of drinking wine, eating exquisite food, listening to music . You go to a food party.
David Castro-Hussong and Maribel Aldaco Silva, husband and wife owners and chefs, came to our press table to tell us about how they prefer the patrons to dine at Fauna: in a family style table feast. The best way to experience Fauna is to order dishes to share, the larger the group the better. They love to cater to groups of friends and family having long lunches or dinners all tasting and sharing exquisite dishes and drinking wine from Valle of Guadalupe. Fauna is located in the Bruma vineyard and works hand in hand with Lourdes “Lulu” Martinez Ojeda, who Castro considers the best oenologist in Mexico.
Fauna has an a la carte menu but also serves a 20 course tasting menu The chefs place much emphasis on sustainable farming and 80% of the produce used in the restaurant comes from Fauna’s own garden. The property is also fully solar powered and hosts a water treatment plant that recycles water from the hotel and restaurant for the winery. David tells us how privileged they are to wake up and say good morning oysters, mussels and the freshest fish in the zone of Baja California. The dishes reflect the food from their childhoods and is a combination of culinary memories and innovative creatives.
Maribel Aldaco Silva, the pastry chef, likes to combine different textures, seasonal fruit and her childhood memories to ensure the perfect ending to a meal.
The Chef’s favorite dish and most representative according to Castro is: Los Callos: a bowl of poached scallops in a hazelnut butter, an eggplant pure and flour tortillas to make a burrito.
The night was fantastic for any food lover and below is the final list and some of the highlights,
CENTRAL IN LIMA IS NAMED NO.1 AS THE LIST OF LATIN AMERICA’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS IS REVEALED FOR 2022
- Central in Lima reclaims its spot as The Best Restaurant in Latin America 2022, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. The last time Central claimed the No.1 spot in the annual ranking was in 2016.
- The list highlights establishments from 21 destinations and introduces 10 restaurants to the ranking for the first time
- Buenos Aires and Lima lead the way each with eight restaurants on the list followed by São Paulo with seven and Mexico City with five
- Restaurateur and sommelier Pablo Rivero of Don Julio in Buenos Aires becomes the first-ever recipient of the Beronia Latin America’s Best Sommelier Award
- Ecuadorian Pía Salazar of Nuema in Quito is named Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef, sponsored by República del Cacao
- Diacá in Guatemala City wins the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award
- Oteque in Rio de Janeiro takes home the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award
- Fauna in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe is the recipient of the Highest New Entry Award after landing in the No.16 spot
- Maito in Panama City wins the Highest Climber Award, scaling 36 spots to No.6
- Jonatan Gómez Luna of Le Chique in Cancún is presented with the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award as voted by his fellow chefs