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Introducing the Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Guests – Part II: International Guest Chefs

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It’s that time of the year that we love the most, when we get to experience the best of local and international cuisine, wine, tequila and mezcal with world-class golf in this, the most exclusive destination in Mexico: Punta Mita!

The 8th edition of the Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic will take place from November 29th through December 2nd this year, and as it is a tradition already, it will be  a long weekend full of the best food, wonderful golf, great company and amazing parties.

As we have done it in previous years, we will be sharing with you a series of articles showcasing the Special Guests participating in the Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf 2018. In this second article, we invite you to meet the International Guest Chefs who will be surprising us with their creations.

Alex Branch

Chef Alex Branch joined Hakkasan Group in October 2017 as Chef de Cuisine at Herringbone Los Cabos. Branch leads the kitchens at Herringbone’s first expansion outside the USA, which opened its doors in February 2018 at Vidanta Los Cabos. In addition, Branch also oversees the menus at the other venues that make up the dynamic new entertainment district created by Hakkasan Group and Grupo Vidanta including Casa Calavera, Hakkasan Group’s newest restaurant brand.

Branch has an in-depth knowledge of the culinary scene of Cabos San Lucas having joined Hakkasan Group from Manta by Enrique Olvera at The Cape, A Thompson Hotel. Prior to this Branch was Executive Sous Chef at One and Only Palmilla as well as Assistant Executive Sous Chef at Market by Jean Georges at the same property. In addition, Brand was previously Chef de Cuisine at Capella Pedregal Hotel and Resort in Cabos San Lucas.

Having started his professional career in Mexico City, Branch has built up an outstanding reputation in Mexico and has participated in prestigious culinary events throughout the country including the Punta Mita Beach Festival and the Festival Gastronomica Morelia en Boca.

Andrew Ormsby

This Chef’s passion for fine food and hospitality has been a lifelong pursuit. Trained in Australia, he was Executive Chef for seven years at the Arts Center in Melbourne, a large catering operation involving restaurants, banquets, catering, galas and receptions for royalty and heads of state. Raised in Australia, he always wanted to travel the globe. After his formal education, he proceeded to travel to Europe, notably France to expand on his knowledge of fine cuisine. His dishes combine smoky, seafood pairings, grilled meats and tangy sauces. His ten-year travel journeys have positively made an impact on his cuisine. He has created menus for restaurants in Italy, Montenegro and Martha’s Vineyard.

John Signorelli

Executive Chef John Signorelli leads the talented culinary team at The St. Regis Houston Hotel after three decades working in the finest kitchens of several 5-Star, 5-Diamond hotels and restaurants under the mentorship of many Certified Master Chefs and Michelin-starred Chefs.  Chef Signorelli has honed his leadership skills in the kitchens of several Ritz-Carlton Hotels in the USA and Japan, opening several of them, as well as at the prestigious Greenbrier. Being a top honors alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Signorelli has also had the distinct opportunity to compete in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition as a finalist Assistant Chef. His passion for travel, dining, and selecting fresh, local and sustainable ingredients culminate to a broad range of true regional American influences reflected throughout the hotel’s restaurant menus, as well as showcasing his world-wide repertoire of flavors within The St. Regis Houston’s refined catering menus.  Texas’s rich culinary heritage has also been an inspiration for the bold direction of his outstanding, inviting and award-winning cuisine. During his current tenure, The Remington Restaurant and The St. Regis Houston continues to be on the forefront leading edge of setting the culinary pace for the region.

Leslie Durso

A vegan chef and healthy living educator, Leslie Durso is the glowing face of a fresher plant-based movement that refuses to compromise style for sustainability. Walking the plant-based talk since the age of eight, this Southern California native has always been well ahead of the times with her meatless mindset, but the greater populace is now embracing her teachings more than ever. She currently broadcasts her farm fresh recipes and warmhearted sensibilities to an extensive audience spanning more than 130 countries via LeslieDurso.com. After establishing herself as a private chef for the NYC and Hollywood elite, Leslie emerged as a public persona, hosting cooking segments on television and healthy living content online. Determined to inspire beneficial life-long eating habits for everyone, she has appeared on The Food Network, The Discovery Channel, The Hallmark Channel, Everyday Health and Mother Nature Network and written for Mind Body Green, Veg News, CNN.com, Redbook, Glamour, Maxim, and dozens more, evangelizing the benefits of a mindful lifestyle, delivered with her trademark blend of sunshiney sophistication and girl next door relatability. Leslie’s persona captivates everyone from carnivorous young men to granola blogging grannies. Maxim Magazine wrote: “We want to hire Leslie as our own personal chef! We’ll even eat vegetables for her.”

Yasuo Asai

Born in Japan and an avid traveler, Chef Yasuo Asai discovered his love of the kitchen as a young man, travelling to New York at age 23 to expand his horizons, beginning as a kitchen assistant in a Japanese restaurant where he learned to put a western take on his cuisine of origin. His career led him to work in Japanese restaurants for the Hyatt hotel chain, first in Santiago, Chile, under the tutelage of Chef Oritza, and then in Brazil, before returning to Japan. But his love of travel soon had him on the move again, bringing his take on Japanese cuisine to Mexico City. He opened his first restaurant, Yoshimi (formerly known as “Benkay”) with an innovative Teppan grill menu. Now, Chef Yasuo has created a completely unique concept in Mexico with his latest venture, Asai Kaiseki Cuisine, serving authentic Kaiseki fare created with fresh, local Mexican ingredients.