The Riviera Nayarit celebrated the VNG 2020 star chefs with a boho-chic style party

  • The recently inaugurated Conrad Punta de Mita hotel was the perfect setting for a cocktail hosted by the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Government of the State of Nayarit.

A gorgeous sunset was the glorious backdrop for the Riviera Nayarit’s welcome event for participating chefs in the Vallarta Nayarit Gastronómica 2020 Special Hybrid Edition, held in the destination from October 29 – November 1.

The newly inaugurated Conrad Punta Mita was the ideal spot for a cocktail hosted by the Riviera Nayarit CVB, the Banderas Bay Hotel and Motel Association, and the Government of the State of Nayarit in honor of the chefs, sponsors, and special guests. They not only enjoyed the hotel’s hospitality, but also the extraordinary beauty of our destination.


The boho chic atmosphere was fully evident upon arrival at the hotel, where a magnificent sunset was part of the natural display that perfectly complemented the neutral shades of the stunning décor: flowers, dreamcatchers, pillows and lounge chairs, wood, macramé, and more in the bohemian style, all perfectly placed in an open-air space between the gardens and the beach.

Living spaces, electronic music, and dancing were part of the festivities. A cocktail bar was a must, serving a selection of libations especially prepared by Nayarit mixologists.


The gastronomy deserves its own special mention—it was truly a standout. Following the main party theme, it was all about barbecues and grills showcasing the zarandeado-style fish, a traditional dish from the state of Nayarit. There was also a selection of goat meat, pork, fresh seafood, an outstanding variety of tapas, and a delectable dessert bar.

Star chefs

Invitees had a chance to mingle with the star chefs, among them renowned Spanish chef Mikel Alonso, from the famous LUR restaurant; Abel Hernández Mejía, creator of the Grupo Restaurantero Culinaria Chic; Oscar Herrera, from Flor de Nogal restaurant in CDMX; Darren Walsh, from Isolda and Egg Co. in Guadalajara; Jorge Orozc, Mexico’s Pre-Hispanic Cuisine Ambassador; Jesús Vázquez, from Loma 42 Bahía and Loma 42 Tepic; Marco Valdivia, from Emiliano in Tepic; and Emma Bonilla of Puerto Vallarta’s Vegan Bomb.

Also present were chefs Bricio Domínguez, from Guanajuato’s Jardín de los Milagros; Jonatán Gómez Luna, from Le Chique de Cancún, included in Latima America’s 50 Best list; Jordi Casas, from San Miguel de Allende’s El Asador Catalán; Pablo Salas, delegate fthe Mexican Gastronomic Culture Conservatory; Elías Sapién, from Sapién Catering; Memo Wulff, chef owner of Barrio Bistro Puerto Vallarta; and Ana María Soto Vargas, Traditional Cook of Guanajuato; the mixologists, bartenders and sommeliers Yamir Pellegrino; Marco Juárez, Mario Mendoza y Samantha Frey, just to name a few.

Union and strength

Carlos Elizondo, general director for the VNG and Consuelo Elipe, operations director, welcomed chefs and special guests by emphasizing the spirit of unity the event is known for, despite the current uncertainty brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We feel a solidarity and responsibility as never before towards supporting our destination, Mexico, and the world. We need to support every person and business involved in our daily lives, all of which are fighting to get ahead and restart even better than before. Thanks to the chefs, who in spite of this situation have put forth their best effort. They deserve all of our gratitude, love, and respect. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts!”



A Unique Event

The official welcome was extended by Antonio Rojas Meléndez, Secretary of Tourism for the State of Nayarit, accompanied by his counterpart in Jalisco, Germán Ralis Cumplido. Also present were Fernando Villalba, Tourism Counselor for the Spanish Embassy in Mexico and director of the Spanish Tourism Office.

Jesús Carmona Jiménez, president of the Banderas Bay Hotel and Motel Association, was on-hand representing the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau, as was Managing Director Marc Murphy, both of whom highlighted the consolidation of the destination as one of the most important in the nation thanks to the quality of its gastronomy, high-end hotel offer, air connectivity, and the economic investment that has continued unabated.

“The Convention and Visitors Bureau is proud to support this important event, which undoubtedly contributes to the promotion and attraction of tourism to the Rivera Nayarit as it embraces international recognition of the quality of the gastronomy our visitors can enjoy in our destination,” said Marc Murphy.

Tourism authorities, hosts, and sponsors all welcomed the chefs.


On his part, Jesús Carmona celebrated the energy and enthusiasm of the Vallarta Nayarit Gastronómica’s organizers, who daringly carried out this hybrid event, the first of its kind in the region.

“It’s not about two separate destinations, it’s about the fact there are two tourism secretaries—one from Nayarit and one from Jalisco—working together. This indicates we must continue to work along with our brethren in Puerto Vallarta, hand-in-hand with the hotel associations, and with the Riviera Nayarit CVB. Today I’m able to say that, after having closed our hotels for three months, this pandemic has taught us the importance of our hotels for both destinations, and that we must continue to move forward together,” he said.


Last but not least, traditional beautifully embroidered Huichol shirts were presented to all the chefs. These were created by Le Bistró, which year after year continues to surprise recipients with these beautiful designs that are a work of art unto themselves.

Of note is the fact the cocktail was held following the protocols laid out by the health authorities, and that the needs of the new normal have been established, including the use of masks at all times and safe distancing. The total number of attendees was below 80.


Remember, Mexico’s Pacific Treasure will be here when you can travel again.

We’re ready!


The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) work together to promote the region with the support of the Government of the State of Nayarit through its Tourism Promotion Trust (Fiprotur). The culinary tourism product offer is an invaluable asset for these promotional efforts.