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Turn your vacation into a foodie escape with top chefs, winning restaurants, and innovative cuisine at some of your favorite resorts.

Cocktails Before Dinner Both Excellence Riviera Cancun and The Beloved Playa Mujeres by Excellence Group feature Thursday tequila tastings to go along with the mojito and wine-tasting experiences. Tequila – the taste of Mexico –varies according to its aroma, aging, and barrel storage, leading to classifications such as gold tequilas, silver tequilas, reposado (aged in oak barrels), añejo tequilas (aged 1-3 years), and extra or ultra añejo tequilas (aged for over 3 years). Sip attentively!

Top Chefs Set on the beach at Playa del Carmen, Grand Velas Riviera Maya is known for its three award-winning dining venues – which happen to be run by some of the world's top chefs! Overlooking the ocean, the AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning Frida – named for the legendary artist Frida Kahlo – is the domain of celebrated chef Ricardo de la Vega, a native of Mexico City whose creations reflect the rich flavors of Mexico. Foodies rave about his specialties, which spotlight such dishes as habanero chili salsa, veal osso buco in a molé de olla, and honey tamarind duck confit with corn tortillas. With its extravagant décor evocative of decadent 1940s Paris, the AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning Piaf (named for French singer Edith Piaf) serves classic French dishes with a contemporary style and a delicate presentation, the creations of chef Michel Mustiere. One of only 300 chefs in the world to be named a Maître Cuisinier de France, Mustiere has developed a menu that's full of sumptuous delights, including oysters on the half shell with shallot vinaigrette and carrots julienne glazed in a Champagne Sabayon, classic onion soup with gruyere cheese au gratin, and grilled blue shrimp with mushroom risotto and veal with a cognac reduction. Thanks to Basque natives Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso, Cocina de Autor – the first all-inclusive restaurant in the world to win the AAA Five-Diamond Award – specializes in a blend of Basque and Spanish cuisine with Mexico's traditional gastronomy

Wowie in Maui! The restaurants at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort in Hawaii get inspiration from the local culture, and so Ka'ana Kitchen draws on local farmers, foragers, and locavores in order to serve authentic farm-to-table Maui dishes family style. At Morimoto Maui, worldrenowned chef Masaharu Morimoto, best known from Food Network's Iron Chef and Iron Chef America programs, uses locally sourced, seasonally fresh ingredients to forge a distinct style that blends Western and Japanese traditions. Since you can't bring Chef Masaharu home with you, the resort invites you to learn such techniques as preparing fish, cooking the perfect steak, and rolling your own sushi in monthly cooking classes led by master chefs. Andaz also offers mixology classes that teach you about various spirits and the craft behind making great cocktails. After all, what's good food without good drink?

The options for your vacation choices are almost endless, and your travel agent will guide you to your own personal nirvana – or the Chef's Table!


On the Go Magazine