The AMResorts team: Felipe
Daniele Müller; Orelbys Vigoa, Regional
Sales Manager Eastern Canada;
Jan Lapointe; Ariel Morales & Carlo
Trinidad, Regional Sales Manager Western Canada
A pre-dinner Secrets The Vine Cancun Vinetini
The 1st course was tuna Aguachile, a classic dish from Mexico prepared with cucumber, cilantro, avocado, serrano chili and pickled red onions with black sesame for garnish. “And we did it with a tuna sashimi, best quality we could find in Canada," said Daniele Müller, head chef of Rolandi Restaurant Group in Cancun. Paired with it was a 2012 Domaine du Vacheron Sancerre. The combination was scrumptious and made for an impressive start to what would be an overall outstanding meal.
This was the scene recently at c5 Restaurant Lounge located in Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum where AMResorts invited guests to enjoy a special evening featuring cuisine created for their resorts. The meal was a mere glimpse of what resort guests experience when they participate in
Sip Savor & See, a program that offers dining privileges at sister brand resorts in the destination that the guests are visiting. In addition to a gourmet meal, each resort schedules special evening entertainment featuring anything from theme events and performances to cocktail parties and movies on the beach.
Next on the menu was a duck taco seasoned with an hibiscus reduction and chipotle sauce mixed with duck skin chicharrón for crunch. Instead of the usual shell, this taco was wrapped in hydroponic lettuce leaves, and to accompany was a 2011 Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir. In a word… delicious!
Meals of such calibre don't happen without a talented chef at the helm. Müller, the mastermind behind the evening's menu, has earned an impressive list of credentials that include training from Institut Paul Bocusse in Lyon-France and stints at multiple Michelin starred establishments in France and Italy. After his time in Europe Müller returned to Cancun to head Casa Rolandi (the family business) which had been one of Cancun's famed eateries since 1979. In 2014, the restaurant (along with Villa Rolandi resort) merged with AMResorts and joined the Zoëtry portfolio. Felipe Vega is Executive Chef at Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres and holds an equally impressive resume having worked at multiple Michelin starred restaurants in France.
And what is an excellent meal without a thoughtfully paired wine? Ariel Morales, sommelier at Secrets The Vine Cancun was spot on with all of his selections and was kind enough to share a few trade secrets. “When the food is important, you don't want the wine to interfere with the flavours of the dish. When the wine is important, put something soft in the middle of the table, like cheeses that won't interfere with the taste of the wine. When you take a risk (in choosing the right wine to go with a meal), just enjoy it. A bad wine pairing doesn't exist. When you create a new flavour, that is wine pairing."
The 3rd course was Chile en nogada granite, a spin on a Mexican dish made with walnuts and pomegranate. Müller's addition of tequila gave it an extra punch while still preserving the fresh flavours. And to continue the fresh theme was black cod al Pastor, prepared with chiote and sour orange, roasted pineapple, habanero guacamole and fried tortilla powder. “People often expect meat (for their main course), but the idea was to give you the feeling of being by the sea," said Müller.
“We pride ourselves on being the masters of vacation innovation," said Jan Lapointe, Senior Director Sales & Marketing Canada. "We think of ways to create something special for 6 very unique brands." Aside from artfully prepared meals, a few other standout details that go into creating a memorable stay include 24 hr. room service, pool and beach waiter service, minibars refreshed daily and no wristbands.
Last but not least was dessert, a simple lemon pie paired with Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV Champagne. "We usually drink champagne on 2 occasions," said Morales. "To finish a dinner… and to reward someone for a special achievement. Tonight is the night of the chef! Thank you very much!" With that sentiment, we raised a glass to honour our chef.