Last updated: 09:55 AM ET, Mon February 22 2016

Cuisine of the Sun Set to Shine in Vallarta

Features & Advice | Dawna L. Robertson | February 18, 2016

Cuisine of the Sun Set to Shine in Vallarta

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

In a region long lauded for its culinary prowess, Vallarta is prepping to add yet another foodie feather to its cap with the inaugural Cuisine of the Sun International Food Festival slated for April 13-17.

Celebrity chefs from the U.S. and Latin America will gather at Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit for a star-studded fare affair curated by Food Network Celebrity Chef and USFOODS Culinary Specialist, Penny Davidi.

Joining Davidi will be Stephen Kalt (Wynn Las Vegas Corsa Cucina), Michele Ragussis (Food Network Star), Rahm Fama (host of the Food Network’s Meat and Potatoes), Mia Mastroianni (founding bartender of Soho House West Hollywood), Marita Jara (Season 8 of The Next Food Network Star), Adam Gertler (host of FX Movie Download) and Patrick “Pat” Neely (restaurateur, television personality, author and co-owner of Neely’s Bar-B-Cue restaurant in downtown Memphis).

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Olivier Coupat, Villa La Estancia’s general manager, notes that Cuisine of the Sun chefs’ culinary talents will span the palate spectrum. “And that is what cuisine is all about – expanding your knowledge, experiencing new flavors and trends and, of course, enjoying a simple and tasty meal in the company of those you hold in the highest esteem,” said Coupat.

The Cuisine of the Sun schedule will run the gamut, from an opening night Gastronomic Fair where guests mingle amid gastro gurus to Sunday’s finale Vallarta Beach Brunch with live music and seafood specialties. Aside from exhibition cooking and mixology classes, each day’s agenda will also feature an afternoon “Most Famous Mexican Wineries” session held poolside with vino producers and sommeliers.

Wednesday, April 13

Gastronomic Fair Opening Event

Thursday, April 14

Recipe For Meat Lovers with Rahm Fama

The Best Home Cooking Show with Celebrity Chefs

Most Famous Mexican Wineries with Sommeliers and Wine Makers

The Secret Recipe with Michele Ragussis

Grand Degustation Menu with Tequila & Liquor Pairing at Four-Diamond La Casona

Friday, April 15

Highlight of Modern Cuisine with Stephen Kalt

Road Tasted BBQ with Pat Neely

Most Famous Mexican Wineries with Sommeliers and Wine Makers

Incredible Cocktail & Bites Experience with Manouschka Guerrier

Dine ‘N Style with Celebrity Chefs

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Saturday, April 16

Sweet Treats with Adam Gertler

Most Famous Mexican Wineries with Sommeliers and Wine Makers

Modern Mixology with Mia Mastroianni

Cuisines of the Sun Under the Moon Dinner & Beach Party

Sunday, April 17

Vallarta Beach Brunch

In conjunction with the festival, Villa La Estancia has created a Cuisine of the Sun package catering to diehard foodies. Available on a daily basis as an a la carte all-inclusive plan, it covers lodging, single-day festival access, all-inclusive resort dining, access to the resort’s Tatewari Spa hydrotherapy area, resort activities, entertainment, non-motorized water sports equipment, taxes and service charges from $430 per person per night.

Located on Banderas Bay, the AAA Four-Diamond resort further appeases foodies with its hacienda-style villa accommodations designed with gourmet-style kitchens where private chefs will prepare in-villa dining experiences. As the host location to Thursday evening’s Grand Degustation Menu event, La Casona is considered Villa La Estancia’s gourmet dining option.

For Cuisine of the Sun package reservations or more details on the International Food Festival, visit or call (800) 831-1191.

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