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Sweet delights, meet Pastry Chef Alicia

She was recruited by Secrets Maroma in the Riviera Maya and after her three-month trial period took advantage of the internal trainee program, choosing to work in Restaurants and learn her craft in the Bakery and Pastries section. After eight months as a Bakery Assistant, she was quickly promoted to Baker and a job as Pastry Chef soon followed. She learned how to work under pressure, studying new recipes, techniques and presentations as she prepared desserts, petit fours, ice creams, candies and pastries for all the restaurants and buffets, which ranged from French, Italian, Mexican to Asian.

Alicia says,” The Chef began to give me more responsibilities and appointed me as Supervisor. I was at the resort for six years before moving to Grand Residences. I have been here for four months as Head Baker and Pastry Chef and I love it.” She adds, “During my childhood in Palenque, I thought I might like to go into catering. My parents were bakers and I used to sell the warm bread in the neighborhood. I think a seed was planted back then and I am lucky enough to be pursuing my dreams.”

“This job is my greatest challenge so far and I am going to give it everything. I may not have all the theory yet, but I have the hands-on experience and organizational skills and I learn something new every day. I love French and Italian pastry making – I could say that they are my inspiration. I enjoy pairing classic recipes with tropical flavors and ingredients that Mexico has given the world, such as chocolate, chili and vanilla. I once created a glazed Caribbean dessert with all the flavors of a piña colada, rich in passion fruit, pineapple and coconut. It was a hit.”

The use of chocolate is a consummate art and Alicia was lucky enough to work with Alan Espinosa, a Mexican chef who is one of the world’s leading chocolatiers. She picked up techniques to strengthen the chocolate after crystallization and tempering to give it greater pliability for use in modeling figures. She explains, “I also love making special cakes, such as wedding, anniversary or birthday cakes. I channel my emotions and think about how happy I want to make the recipient and that inspires me, gives purpose to my research and spurs my creativity.”

Alicia is hard at work creating delectable desserts and cakes for you to try on your next visit. A new dessert menu will be launched this month in Flor de Canela. She is changing the room amenities – the cookies and chocolate petit fours left as delicious surprises in the suites, enhancing the presentation of the cakes and pastries served during afternoon tea and adding more flavors to the wedding cake collection. She has also changed all the desserts offered as part of the Seafood and International buffets. The International dessert table features sweets from France, Italy, Mexico and the Far East.

Her next project is to create a new dessert menu for El Faro Grill and the remaining theme nights.

In charge of a team of six in the bakery and dessert section, Alicia’s days are very busy and varied. She oversees the bakery inventory and purchasing, supply delivery and expiration dates. She keeps an eagle eye on kitchen hygiene, taste control and presentation in her section. She checks the dessert stations in the restaurants and ensures that they are kept constantly supplied with cakes and sweets. She compiles reports, registering which desserts are the most popular and which room amenities are requested the most. She develops new dessert menus with Executive Chef Borbolla. And then she finds the time to work on her own stunning creations!

She recommends that Grand Residences owners try the Corn Cake or Pastel de Elote. “We make it with tender young corn kernels so that it is really creamy and flavorful. And it is gluten-free,” she adds, “Another new one to try is our Chocolate Tart with a hint of guajillo chili pepper, there’s a Mexican artisanal chocolate cream with sesame nougat and we have an exquisite apple, mint and pomegranate dessert in the shape of a poblano chili as a tribute to our national dish, Chiles en Nogada. I invite you to try all our new desserts and cakes. Forget about your diet, you are on vacation! You’ll love the flavors, textures, presentation and the marriage of ingredients. We want every bite to be delightful, a memory to treasure.”

Alicia keeps up with the latest tendencies in the pâtisserie world and admires the creations of Chef Antonio Bachur and the Roca Brothers, saying, “Their desserts are incredible. Bachur makes everything from petit fours to gateaux and they are all spectacular.” She is quick to point out however, that it isn’t all about presentation; a dessert must taste as heavenly as it looks. Attention to flavor is all-important and she checks every stage of the dessert making process.

Finally, she hopes that during your vacation you will also try some of the traditional savory dishes that have earned Mexican cuisine its rightful place on the UNESCO World Heritage list, saying: “Try mole from Oaxaca or Puebla, chilies rellenos, antojitos or Mexican street food and even some of the many dishes we make using beans.”

Only 28 years old, Alicia is an engaging and creative spirit, happy to be part of a great team in Grand Residences and working to create a gourmet dining experience that exceeds your expectations.

 

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