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Master of flavors: Meet Chef Borbolla

We recently chatted with Grand Residences Executive Chef Rafael Borbolla about his inspiration and exciting new dishes to tempt your palate.
“How did I decide to become a chef?” muses Grand Residences Executive Chef Rafael Borbolla, “It was destiny, I thumbed the Yellow Pages directory and it opened right at the listings of cooking schools. I already knew how to cook, my parents were quite happy to let me loose in the kitchen to experiment. My grandmother used to take me to market with her when I was little; she taught me her secrets and how to choose the freshest fruit and vegetables.”
Rafael studied Culinary Arts in the Colegio Superior de Hoteleria y de Turismo Cesar Ritz and at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Turismo in Mexico City. He also took specialist diploma courses in Mexican and Italian cuisine at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana.
After training with acclaimed French chef Olivier Lombard and collaborating in the opening of Le Cirque, his Polanco restaurant, Rafael’s eyes turned to the Pacific coast. He was to spend years in Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos working for several leading hotel chains and heading up a prestigious restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. “Everything that I am comes from the Mexican Pacific,” he explains. “I used to go out with the fishermen at dawn and help them bring their catch to market. The freshest seafood you can imagine. I learned cooking techniques and traditional recipes from coastal communities in the states of Jalisco, Nayarit and Baja California Sur and new ways of preparing fruits de mer shared by chefs from France, Italy and Canada who were competing in food festivals in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. I use all this experience and inspiration here, pairing the finest Pacific and Caribbean seafood with bold flavors to create a veritable feast for the senses.
“Mexican cuisine is my passion and I want to take Grand Residences guests on a culinary journey through the country, from the north to the southeast for an unforgettable evening of recipes and flavors,” says Rafael. “Mexico is so rich in ingredients, delicious dishes and culinary traditions, it is exceptional and for this reason it is on the World Heritage List.
“At Grand Residences I lead a team of 45 kitchen staff.” Rafael explains. “My responsibilities are menu planning, administration, costs, personnel management and above all, maintaining quality standards, constantly looking for ways to enrich the dining experience we offer our guests.
“ It’s been a busy few months since I joined the Grand Residences family in late 2018.” Rafael adds, “I introduced a new International theme night on Saturdays with Asian, Prime Rib, Italian and Mexican dishes to give diners more options. I have also been working on the El Faro breakfast menu, adding more kinds of fruit to the buffet and a wellness station. I incorporated a children’s area with a larger selection of kid-friendly dishes and another change is that we now serve jugs of juice on the tables with a variety of choices available.
“Our Grill Night has also changed and has more of a picnic theme and I have added the concept of a Fish Market. Diners choose the fish they want and we prepare their ceviche to order and serve it in a coconut. As soon as the annual Distintivo H kitchen and storage area inspections are over, I am going to continue making changes, focusing on the El Faro lunch menu and the Heaven Grill menu. I want to add new recipes so that diners always have something delicious and different to try on vacation.
“Alicia Guzman, our pastry chef, and I have been changing the dessert and cake selection too,“ Rafael adds. “I really believe that the more eye-catching the dessert, the more people want to try it. We have been working on the presentation of all our dessert stations and buffets to offer our diners a variety of new sweets.”
On the question of cooking influences Rafael has this to say, “French and Italian cuisine are definitely two of my greatest influences, but lately I have been drawn to authentic cuisine, the techniques of our ancestors passed down through the centuries, really fresh food, intense flavors and the smoky fragrance of a wood-burning range.
“Where do I seek inspiration? It’s hard to explain,” he says, “I celebrate food, pay tribute to my roots and when I make someone happy with a dish I have prepared, that makes me happy and inspires me to face the next challenge.”
“I think Mexican cuisine really is one of the world’s richest. A well- made black mole sauce competes with any Indian curry in terms of the complexity and depths of the flavors and the use of spices. It is a traditional dish that is also very sophisticated.
“Over the centuries Mexican cuisine has evolved, embracing ingredients introduced by settlers from all over the world and this has only made it even richer.” Rafael explains, “For example, in the 16th century, the Spanish brought over lard, milk, coffee, citrus fruit, herbs and many of the spices we use today. Our cuisine is a unique blend of native foods consumed by pre-Hispanic civilizations and ingredients from Europe and the Middle East. In turn, Mexico has shared its own gifts with the world: avocado, tomato, chile, corn, chocolate and vanilla, among others, enriching other cuisines. After all, where would French cuisine be without vanilla or chocolate, or Italian cuisine without tomatoes?
“If you ask me about Mexican chefs that have taken our cuisine on to the world stage, I would have to say that some of them are heroes, sharing a passion for our recipes and forging a path for the rest of us to follow. One of them is Enrique Olvera, who has gone back to his roots and uses locally sourced artisanal produce, which in turn boosts the livelihood of small farmers in rural areas. Chefs all over the country are now following his lead. Enrique Muñoz Zurita is another one – he is a food researcher and is rescuing traditional recipes before they fade from memory. Monica Patiño, the late Patricia Quintana and Alejandro Herredia are others. And turning to international chefs, I would have to say Massimo Bottura, not only for his cuisine, but also his charity work.
“I have lots of plans for the restaurants at Grand Residences, new dishes, menus and theme nights. And I’m offering cooking classes too, “ Rafel says. “I recently showed guests how to make tikinxic or Mayan-style barbecued fish, Ligurian-style pasta with mushrooms, rocket, toasted nuts, white wine, shrimp and grated grana padana cheese and miso soup with pork dumplings.
“My message to our Grand Residences owners and guests is to come hungry, open your heart and mind ready to try new dishes and flavors. A sensational dining experience awaits you.”

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Five dishes to try this September at Flor de Canela

Are you in the mood for Mexican cuisine this month? Here are five delicious dishes you won’t want to miss at Flor de Canela restaurant.

Mexican Snack Platter

Great for sharing, try the Mexican snack platter, a tempting spread of antojitos or Mexican finger food. Our selection includes sopes, quesadillas filled with Oaxaca string cheese, tlacoyos with tender nopal salad and crispy fried chicken tacos. Accompany your platter with a bowl of guacamole and lashings of salsa.
You might be tempted to order another plate, or try some of the other  appetizers on the menu. How about a plate of tacos, choose from duck, shrimp, rib-eye steak or barbacoa, lamb cooked in an adobo two-chile marinade? Or opt for Yucatecan panuchos, which are tortillas filled with beans and topped with cochinita pibil, pork marinated in a Seville orange and achiote (annatto) spice mix and slow roasted. And for a seafood snack, try the fish pescadillas or the tuna tostadas.

Tuna in a Mexican Seed Crust

The taste of the Mexican Pacific, yellow fin tuna cooked in an aromatic sesame, coriander and chia seed crust. This delicious fish dish is served with baby potatoes, nopales, onion, chayote sautéed with xoconostle prickly pear syrup and purslane salad.

Tikinxic

On Mexican Caribbean shores, you must try the Mayan-style grilled fish, tikinxic. Fresh fish is marinated in achiote and Seville orange juice, topped with sliced bell peppers and onion and charcoal-grilled. It is served with fried plantains, tortillas and habanero salsa.

Chicken in Oaxaca Black Mole Sauce

In Mexico, when food conversation turn to mole, the famous smooth, sophisticated chocolate-chili-spice sauce, you’ll find that people are split into two camps, those that prefer recipes from Puebla and those that love Oaxacan mole. The truth is that both are delicious and each state has a variety of mole dishes made to traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation. At Flor de Canela, we serve tender organic chicken breast in a black mole sauce from Oaxaca.

Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce) is the Mexican Independence dish par excellence.
Chiles en Nogada dates from 1821 and was created by the nuns of Santa Monica Convent in Puebla for a banquet to honor General Agustín de Iturbide who was visiting the city after signing the Treaty of Córdoba, the agreement that gave Mexico its Independence from Spain. The recipe is based on Poblano chilies that are stuffed with a tasty mix of ground pork and beef, assorted dried fruit, spices, garlic and onion. The chilies are topped with a creamy walnut sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, coriander and parsley, the colors of the Mexican flag, red, white and green.

Of course, these are just suggestions, there are many more tempting dishes to try on the menu. Order a margarita, tequila or mezcal, straight or in a red berry cocktail, or a bottle of Mexican wine and be sure to save space for dessert.

Buen provecho!

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September Spa Morning

Set aside some time this month for a Spa morning at Grand Residences. Here are some recommendations for you to try.
Why not begin your morning with a Hot Stone Massage? Inspired by an ancient Native American healing ritual, it is relaxing and therapeutic. It boosts your circulation, calms, decongests and cleanses the body, giving you a deep feeling of wellbeing.
Continue with a facial, the Germaine de Capuccini Timexpert Rides treatment aids cell regeneration, erases expression lines and fills in wrinkles. The end result: soft skin and a more youthful look.
The Vitamin C body wrap will revitalize and relax your body, rolling back the signs of aging. It moisturizes your skin and aids cell regeneration.
Finally, complete your Spa morning with a manicure and pedicure and you’ll be ready for a day in paradise.

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Kids Club

From party piñatas and guacamole, music and dance to lotería, Spanish classes, arts and crafts, your children will have a taste of Mexico this month at the Kids Club.
The fun program of daily activities includes games and workshops with a Mexican flavor. They’ll enjoy themselves so much they won’t want to leave!

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Every picture tells a story

This month we celebrate the beauty of Mexico starting here in the Mexican Caribbean and stretching the length and breadth of the country.
Be sure to follow Grand Residences on Instagram @grandresidences to see more pictures from your home in paradise.

If you have a picture of Grand Residences, Puerto Morelos or a special place in the Yucatan or a vacation story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Send your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com. A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter

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Spread the Word about Grand Residences

If you enjoy telling your friends, relatives and associates about Grand Residences and showing them photos of your home in paradise, why not help spread the word by participating in the Grand Residences Referral Program?

We want your referrals to discover the Grand Residences luxury vacation experience for themselves and we are willing to offer them, on your behalf, a special 3 night/4 day stay in a luxurious Junior Suite at Grand Residences at a greatly discounted rate, so that they can do just that. 

   To take advantage of this special offer the only requirement is that during their stay, your referred guests must attend a personalized resort preview of our Private Residence Club. We will show them our new vision of luxury living and what it would be like to have a beautiful home in paradise. If your referrals choose to become owners, you will receive 2% of the net purchase price of their Fraction in Royal Resorts Rewards that you can apply towards your annual Club Service fees, use to pay your club bill on your next vacation or make a donation to Royal Resorts Foundation charitable causes. 

   Start thinking about the people you know and that you think would be interested in the Grand Residences lifestyle. We would love to hear from you and look forward to showing your friends your beautiful resort home. 

If you would like to make a referral, click here or  call +52 (998) 881-0100 ext. 65846.