A Ritzy Weekend with Chef José Andrés in Puerto Rico
Dozens of discerning travelers from Spain and the USA chose to enjoy an alluring culinary adventure with Spanish Chef José Andrés
The relaxing turquoise horizon of the Atlantic Ocean was the most inspiring ingredient for a mesmerizing epicurean week-end that blended friendship, fun, a taste from Spain, a taste of Puerto Rico, and the unique, enthralling personality of Chef José Andrés, who for a second year in a row transformed the Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort in Puerto Rico into the most lavish Caribbean destination with his second annual Culinary Getaway, an indulgent tasteful encounter that brought to the Isla del Encanto dozens of sybarites and celebrity chefs from the United States.
Eric Ripert (3 star-Michelin Le Bernardin, New York) Anthony Bourdain, and Tim Love (Love Shack and other restaurants in Texas) joined José Andrés in this epicurean escape, a four-day gastronomic experience comprised of outdoor activities, culinary demonstrations, glamorous dinners, wine tastings, and culinary surprises through which participants had a chance to enjoy a glimpse of Puerto Rican Christmas spirit in full-scale splendor, and the best taste ofMi Casa by José Andrés, the chef’s fine dining restaurant at one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts.
The non-stop celebration kicked off with a Meet & Greet Welcome Party for Dorado Beach members where José Andrés and his guests were joined by local Puerto Rican chefs José Enrique, José Santaella, Wilo Benet, Enrique Piñeiro, Xavier Pacheco and Mario Pagán.
The following day the sun shined in full splendor for a vibrant garden BBQ gathering by the pool of historical Su Casa, one of Dorado Beach’s original buildings which was dressed with a rustic glamour amidst palm trees, Latin music, and the sea breeze that made lunch a special occasion to delight in flavors that blended classicals from the Puerto Rican, Spanish and American culinary traditions, with a contemporary flair. Pulled pork sandwiches were served on ensaimada buns, classical corned beef hash took the shape of a sweet potato and chorizo hash, macaroni were flavored with lobster and Manchego cheese, and local coquito drink was transformed with liquid nitrogen onto coquito ice cream, among other delicacies for which Arzuaga Navarro Tempranillo wines from Ribera del Duero DO were a perfect pairing.
Following the BBQ event, José Andrés conducted a culinary demonstration in which eggs became the feature ingredient, and fun and Spanish cuisine the main condiments. Assisted on stage by Ramón Martínez, Executive Chef of Jaleo restaurants, the Spanish Chef created easy-to-make recipes, full of practical hints for home entertaining.
A refreshing Pisco Sour drink preceded the creation of a Russian Salad with Mayo Mousse, his own version for ensaladilla rusa that replaced potatoes with yucca. José Andrés explained how to make an emulsion with eggs and abundant olive oil from Spain, a mayonnaise he then transformed into a creamy mousse. Following this one-of-a-kind ensaladilla rusa, the Chef went on to prepare a pisto Manchego with eggs, not one or two hen eggs, but a tiara of a dozen quail eggs in a single serving. After these treats, Manchego cheese was the perfect pairing with white truffles for a sophisticated scrambled eggs version. Then the chef made tortilla española easy by replacing freshly cut potatoes with crispy patatas fritas from José Andrés Foods. White truffles were again a seasoning for an eggs with mushroom dish, which opened the door to a deconstructed version of tortilla española, which he served in a jar using potato purée mousse, and garnished with chives and potato chips. The egg blast concluded with a fried egg, so crispy in the bottom that he was capable of folding it to make an egg taco, served with caviar and a piece of bread.
The culinary class ranged between a culinary demonstration and a stand-up comedy as a barefoot José Andrés mastered not only the art of cooking, but also of that of skillfully triggering the button that turned on the excitement of the audience, composed of dozens of customers of his restaurants in the United States who joined him in Puerto Rico, Ritz-Carlton loyals, local guests, and other discerning visitors from Spain and the United States who found in the chef’s spice a savory excuse to pay a visit to this Caribbean destination.
A chefs’ discussion with influencers, followed by a Paella Party on the Beach, a wine tasting hosted by Think Food Group’s Wine Director Andy Myers, more culinary demonstrations, a gala dinner and a farewell champagne brunch rounded up the sybarite week-end encounter.
José Andrés has a decades-old romance with Puerto Rico, a destination he first visited in 1991 and toured decades later to immerse in local gastronomy and do research about local cuisine. This helped him conceive the menu of Mi Casa by José Andrés, Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve’s signature restaurant which opened in December 2012 offering fine dining choices through an amalgamation of Spanish and Puerto Rican cuisines. Three decades after he also celebrated in Puerto Rico the recently attained two stars minibar by José Andrés received in the first edition of the Guide Michelin for Washington, DC. “I waited thirty three years for this,” he confessed to www.foodswinesfromspain.com
The Chef also told www.foodswinesfromspain.com that this December he will open Bazaar Mar, a restaurant focused on seafood, at the new SLS property in Miami. Also on December 8th he will welcome the opening of the new MGM National Harbor near Washington, DC where his restaurant spot will also focus on fish and seafood, and a selection of ciders from Asturias will be served. He also anticipated that more projects will be on their way in Puerto Rico, once the Island’s economic situation improves.
José Andrés also informed that together with Ferran Adrià he has contributed to the publication Harvard University will soon launch about the Science and Cooking Lecture Series it has presented for the past few years. Although currently on-hold, the Chef said he may resume the Spanish Cuisine Program he directed at the International Culinary Center in New York. “I want to shape a program that is both educational and fun,” he said.
Additionally he plans to continue expanding his José Andrés Foods line, through which he will also market his Astur Blue, an Asturian aged blue cheese infused with cider schnapps that will probably also be in the market by 2017.
An indivisible culinary trio, Ripert, Bourdain and José Andrés will gather again next January for a stellar Caribbean culinary performance in the Cayman Islands.
The relaxing turquoise horizon of the Atlantic Ocean was the most inspiring ingredient for a mesmerizing epicurean week-end that blended friendship, fun, a taste from Spain, a taste of Puerto Rico, and the unique, enthralling personality of Chef José Andrés, who for a second year in a row transformed the Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort in Puerto Rico into the most lavish Caribbean destination with his second annual Culinary Getaway, an indulgent tasteful encounter that brought to the Isla del Encanto dozens of sybarites and celebrity chefs from the United States