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Punta Mita Golf Kitchen 2019 – Meet the Chefs Part 1


From April 25th – 28th  Punta Mita will welcome amazing guest chefs from some of the most prestigious Golf Clubs and Resorts in the USA and Latin America. They are coming to participate on this new culinary tradition in paradise: the Punta Mita Golf Kitchen 2019.

In the next couple of weeks will be sharing with you a series of articles showcasing the Special Guests and details about the second edition of the Golf Kitchen Punta Mita! In this second article, we want you to meet the first seven fabulous chefs who will be joining host Chef Pato Pérsico, Punta Mita’s own Executive, offering an incredible gourmet experience!

Gastón Yelicich

Punta del Este, Uruguay

Born in Uruguay, Gastón has been a cook since he can remember. With several internships in England, Portugal, United States and Spain under his belt he created along with other partners Isla de Flores 1900 in 1996, considered by “The New York Times” as one of the best restaurants in Montevideo. Since 2013 he lives in Punta del Este and opened Cuatro Mares. In 2016 he embarked on a new culinary concept restaurant, El Jardín del edificio Celebra in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Lalo Palozuelos

Club Bosque Real, Mexico

Chef Eduardo Palazuelos studied at the “GlionCenter International Switzerland” school, and is currently the General Manager of Susanna Palazuelos Catering. His career as a chef began when he was a child, following in the footsteps of his mother, Susanna Palazuelos and ventured into the field of catering as a waiter. With experience acquired at Raynier&Marchetti, a major catering company in Paris, and as a Thai chef at the Marriot Royal Garden Riverside Hotel he collaborated with his mother and has stood out as a family business of high reputation.

Chef Bertha Alicia Barajas

Tail of the Whale Restaurant, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, México

Chef Bertha Alicia Barajas is our Chef of the Restaurant Tail Of The Whale, who is also a local from Higuera Blanca; the neighboring town of Punta Mita. A whole life inspired by the local products and recipes of the region; Bertha began her professional career at the opening of this Four Seasons, and since then she has grown hand in hand with the resort. She has shared her home with countless world-class Chefs and Golfers where Bertha has been able to share her seasoning, her passion for cuisine.

Doug Blair

Executive Chef, Cassique at Kiawah Island Club, South Carolina, USA

Doug has traveled extensively for his career from a young age and was mentored by esteemed Restaurateurs Carmine Smeraldo and Tom Colicchio. Doug’s style of cooking is a perfect blend of rustic farm to table and upscale fine dining. Doug and his team were featured in the Golf Kitchen Cookbook, and he is now working on writing skills to talk about his passion for his trade and the camaraderie that he has with his peers. In the Golf Kitchen world, we all call Doug, The Man. His dishes will show why!

Anthony Giacoponello

Executive Chef At Sebonack Golf Club, Southampton, New York, Usa.

Anthony Is A Recipient Of The Golf Kitchen Culinary Excellence Award, 2018

Anthony Giacoponello is one of the industries finest chefs. He has an impeccable culinary background and has traveled extensively. He has worked and trained with many of the world’s finest restaurants including Lespinasse, Restaurant Daniel, La Caravelle, Le Cirque and Alain Ducasse at Le Louis XV, to name a few.

Giacoponello has held the Executive Chef role at the prestigious Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York now for ten years and is the recipient of The Golf Kitchen Culinary Excellence Award, 2018.

Do not miss this unique opportunity to taste Chef Giacoponello’s menu.

Michael Ruggiero

Executive Chef At Glenarbor Golf Club, Bedford, New York, Usa. Home Of The Gary Player Invitational.

Michael Is The Recipient Of The Golf Kitchen Participating Chef Award, 2018

Michael Ruggiero has had a lifelong passion in Culinary Arts that has spanned over two decades of accomplishments beginning with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, then working with a Master Chef, earning a Certified Executive Chef designation from the American Culinary Federation, 2 gold medals in hot food competition and working as an Executive Chef in multiple Private Country Clubs.

Ruggiero has a family background rich in food, highlighted by growing up in his Father’s Italian Deli and spending Sunday’s at his Grandmother’s Josephine’s house in the East Village of Manhattan helping her make Italian favorites from fresh pasta to Sunday “Gravy”. He has spent his career in the restaurant and hospitality industry with his early years as a Sous Chef under Master Chef Edward Leonard in which he had the privilege of working under for a decade, in Chicago at Cantare Restaurant, and then at Westchester Country Club. During this time he also assisted in creating food pictures for two of his culinary cook books, and was greatly influenced by the U.S.A Olympic team practices at the club. During Michael’s years at Westchester Country Club he was influential in leading the culinary team and vision in all locations.

Michael then went on to long tenured positions as Executive Chef at Orienta Beach Club and The Tuxedo Club prior to joining the GlenArbor kitchen. Michael is a recipient of The Golf Kitchen Participating Chef Award, 2018.

Tony Villanueva

Executive Chef At Edgewood Country Club, River Vale, New Jersey, Usa And Host Chef At The Launch Of The Golf Kitchen Culinary Excellence Awards, 2018.

Tony Is The Recipient Of The Golf Kitchen Participating Chef Award, 2018

Tony Villanueva, was born and raised on Manhattan’s Lower Eastside and grew up with New York’s ever-changing dining scene. He had his first taste of the restaurant business when he went to work as a kid with his single mother who worked in a catering company preparing breakfast and lunch for the likes of the NY Stock Exchange. When times got rough, his family moved to New Jersey, and Villanueva began working at a string of restaurants before becoming the Executive Sous Chef at Greenbrook Country Club. After 12 years he was given the Executive Chef role which he held for eight years before taking on the Executive Chef role at Edgewood Country Club in New Jersey which has new owners who are creating a modern, family-oriented country club with the intention of building homes on the property.

Villanueva is enjoying bringing new excitement into the Edgewood Kitchen recently hosting the first ever Golf Kitchen Culinary Excellence Awards, 2018.

 For more information about Punta Mita Golf Kitchen please visit:

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