Who is going to win a Culinary Award?
April is the month that celebrates the Culinary Awards. It is a recognition to gastronomy´s best in our destination. A project that I am so proud to have been part of over the two first editions.
As one of the organizers it has been very challenging to provide a project that honors the best of our culinary offers and have everybody win. I do not mean winning an award or a statuette, but to strengthen the restaurant´s business industry and the exposure of Los Cabos as a tourist destination that offers a world-class gastronomy. It is not a coincidence that renowned chefs such as Martin Berasategui, Sidney Schutte, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Richard Sandoval, Thierry Blouet and Benito Molina have opened restaurants in Los Cabos because it is no secret that something very good is happening here
Last week we finally met the nominees for the 23 different categories for the second edition of the Culinary Awards. Therefore, I want to briefly explain how the evaluation process is held.
Jury Awards. The Organizing Committee selects and invites local experts to be part of the Jury. They participate voluntarily and remain anonymous as they visit the participating restaurants as if they were Mystery Shoppers. They pay for their own bills and evaluate every restaurant over a grade report. This report reviews general and specific aspects from the restaurant: food, service and facilities. The Jury is responsible for 13 categories.
People's Choice. General community (locals and visitors) support their favorite restaurants through an online voting. They award 10 categories.
This year we had big surprises. I was personally pleased for the nominations of Brasa Viva, Casasola Café & Brunch, Il Forno, Origen and Serrano – Wine, Seafood & Grill. None of these five restaurants are in the touristic zone. It has been very satisfying to see how locals are embracing these little places full of flavors; and how the Jury has done a brilliant job by picking places that makes the Los Cabos gastronomy great.
On the other hand, restaurants such as Arbol, Café des Artistes, Cocina de Autor, Comal, Flora’s Field Kitchen, Seared, Sur Beach House y Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar, position themselves as places that offer truly culinary experiences. They captivate the most demanding palates. All these restaurants reflect consistency. They have been nominated over the two first editions of the Culinary Awards in several categories
Some Wikipedia-style data from Culinary Awards:
• First Edition (2018) – 104
• Second Edition (2019) – 121
Restaurants that got at least one nomination:
• First Edition (2018) – 29; and 10 of them took at least one award home.
• Second Edition (2019) – 37
Most awarded restaurant in the first edition (2018)
• Comal (5)
Most nominated restaurants (considering both editions):
• Café des Artistes Los Cabos (12)
• Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar by Richard Sandoval (9)
• Cocina de Autor y Comal (8)
Most nominated restaurants per edition:
• 2019 – Café des Artistes (8)
• 2018 – Comal (7)
Most nominated hotels (considering both editions and all restaurants registered by the hotel):
• JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa (13)
• Grand Velas Los Cabos, Chileno Bay Resort & Residences y The Cape, a Thompson Hotel (8)
• The Resort at Pedregal (7)
Restaurants that were nominated for the same category in both editions of Culinary Awards (2018 and 2019):
• Café des Artistes Los Cabos – Restaurant of the Year inside a Hotel, Chef of the Year (Thierry Blouet), Sweet-Dessert Proposal and Culinary Experience: San Jose del Cabo, inside a Hotel
• Flora’s Field Kitchen – Restaurant of the Year in the City and Culinary Experience: San Jose del Cabo in the City
• Toro Latin Kitchen & Bar by Richard Sandoval – Restaurant of the Year in the City
• Cocina de Autor – Culinary Concept
• El Farallon – Culinary Experience: Cabo San Lucas inside a Hotel
• Comal – Culinary Experience: Tourist Corridor
Who do you think that is going to win this year?
I quote Renato Mendonca during last year's award ceremony: "there is no doubt that the biggest winner of Culinary Awards is Los Cabos".