Last updated: 03:02 PM ET, Thu September 15 2016

Festival Gourmet International Returns to Vallarta

Hotel & Resort | Dawna L. Robertson | September 14, 2016

Festival Gourmet International Returns to Vallarta

Photo courtesy of Festival Gourmet International

When chefs Thierry Blouet and Heinz Reize brainstormed on a concept to promote Puerto Vallarta’s stellar culinary assets in March 1995, they began to pave the path for what has evolved into a stellar international fare affair. That November, the pair of gastro geniuses premiered Festival Gourmet International with the participation of six five-star hotels, six restaurants and twelve invited chefs. 

In 2000, Chef Roland Menetrey helped Chef Blouet and Chef Reize expand the highly touted event to the nearby regions of Tepic and Riviera Nayarit. Set for Nov. 12-20, 2016, the 22nd edition of this foodie fete is on track to attract a global audience hungering to indulge in a full plate of pairings, tastings and dinners designed to spotlight Vallarta’s coveted cuisine.

To date, Festival Gourmet International Vallarta has indulged nearly 500,000 attendees with specialties presented by some 500 Michelin Star and celebrity chefs. Fest organizers and promotes consider this epicurean exchange as advantageous to local chefs, guest master chefs, attendees and the region as a whole.

Among 2016’s 25 participating hotels and restaurants are Chef Blouet’s Café des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta and his Tuna Blanca by Café des Artistes at Hotel Cinco Punta de Mita. The latter is a casually elegant 74-seat eatery following a farm-to-table model that highlights Nayarit’s freshest seasonal ingredients from regional fisheries and farms.

Tuna Blanca is the culinary focal point of the beachfront boutique hotel that carries out a chic surfer vibe in common areas and its stylish 12 two- and three-bedroom vacation condominiums. General Manager Jessica Garibay notes that the property sees a heavy flow of destination wedding and family business because of the beautiful settings and upscale homey features including full kitchens.

“People tell us they feel like family when they stay here,” said Garibay. “The feeling is more like you’re at home instead of being the guest of a hotel. Our staff gets to know everyone by name. It’s a truly unique place.”

Tuna Blanca will host the Nov. 16 Visitor’s Chef Table highlighting the talents of invited chef, Alan Huang, who is currently executive sous chef of Café Modern at the Museum of Modern Art in Forth Worth.

Other hotels and restaurants participating in Fiesta Gourmet International Vallarta 2016 are Andrea at Velas Vallarta, Azur at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, Carolina at The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Frida at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Green Bistro at La Tranquila Breath Taking Resort & Spa, Hiroshi at Hotel Mousai, La Casona at Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit, La Carona at La Corona–Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel, La Mesa del Chef at Secrets Resort & Spa, La Catrina at Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, Lemon Grass at Marival Residences Luxury Resort, Mikado at CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, The Iguana at Casa Kimberly, and Blanca Blue at Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa.

Festival Calendar

Friday, Nov. 11

Grand Gourmet Village

Saturday, Nov. 12

Theme Night at La Casona in Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit

Avant-Garde Progressive Dinner

Sunday, Nov 13

Country Grill Brunch “The Art of Roasting

Night Theme Trio

Monday, Nov. 14

1st Workshop, Wine Pairing &Luncheon

Kitchen Fiesta

Tuesday, Nov. 15

2nd Workshop, Wine Pairing & Luncheon

Theme Night at Kaiser Maximilian

Wednesday, Nov. 16

Tequila Patrón & Tapas Bar

Night Theme at Tuna Blanca in Hotel Cinco

Thursday, Nov. 17

3rd Workshop, Wine Pairing & Luncheon

Night Theme at Café des Artistes

Friday, Nov. 18

Talk with Great Masters of Kitchen

Gourmet Fusion “Mexican-Mediterranean”

Saturday, Nov. 19

Grilled & Smoked

Sunday, Nov. 20

Fiesta Del Mar Banderas Bay Seafood Brunch

Night Theme in Puerto Vallarta

Considered the most highly anticipated of the festival’s toothsome events is Fiesta Del Mar, a delicious festival finale satiating with a Banderas Bay seafood potpourri created by the foodie fest’s top chefs. Select wines, a Tequila Patron bar and live music will enhance the savory scene at El Dorado Restaurant & Beach Club.

For more details, event reservations and festival updates, visit

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