Culture / Travel

A Mexican Golf and Food Dream — Punta Mita Brings Top Chefs and Legendary Golfers Together

This is No Ordinary Tournament Weekend

BY // 01.02.22
photography courtesy of Punta Mita

PUNTA MITA, MEXICO – The Puerto Vallarta airport was full of stylish travelers bustling around in sun hats, searching for their golf bags and suitcases full of beachwear. This discerning group was heading to ring in the 10th year of Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf after nearly two years of COVID 19 dormancy.

The exclusive enclave of Punta Mita, located just 45 minutes outside of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, boasts beautiful beaches with jaw dropping cliffs and a jungle landscape. Punta Mita’s Four Seasons and St Regis resorts, two award winning golf courses and countless five-star amenities do not need a star studded event to draw guests to this seaside oasis.

Yet, an indulgent weekend with an itinerary chock full of oceanside golf, wine and tequila tastings, cooking classes and celebrity chef cooked meals can really push a vacation over the edge.

Punta Mita’s signature event is the brainchild of Carl Emberson, Head of Marketing and Operations who brought his dream of showcasing the incredible talents of the enclave to life. Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf celebrates the region’s stunning surroundings and pristine golf courses and highlights Mexico’s soulful food.

Complete with a fireworks show, this year’s party kicked off with an extra lively bash at Punta Mita’s St Regis Beach Club with visitors, chefs and golfers thrilled to be back. In a nod to the current times, Punta Mita put an emphasis on safety, limiting things to 250 guests and making the most of its spacious and open air scenery.

Major Chef Power

For its 1oth anniversary, the Punta Mita team put together a dream team of chefs, winemakers and liquor masters on both a local and international level. The foodie fun was driven by the use of local produce, which made each meal all the more memorable.

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Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf (Photo by courtesy of Punta Mita)
Fresh seafood was a highlight of the culinary magic at Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf. (Courtesy of Punta Mita)

More than a dozen chefs from Mexico, Texas, California and beyond treated foodies to tasting menus inspired by that produce. Guests were invited to partake in different chefs’ tasting menus throughout the weekend.

Chef Abraham Salum, owner of his namesake restaurant Salum on Cole Avenue in Dallas, represented North Texas. Salum has participated in all 10 years of the event and is a longtime champion of Punta Mita’s culinary excellence.

Abril Galindo, the executive sous chef at Four Seasons Hotel Austin, dazzled diners with an inventive dinner including freshly caught seafood crudo and beef tenderloin with bone marrow butter.

The female chef power continued with Leslie Durso who is the vegan chef for Four Seasons Punta Mita. The plant based food pioneer proved with a complex flavorful menu that the vegan lifestyle can be very gourmet.

A two time winner of Chopped — Chef Diane DiMeo — served up a seaside lunch of grilled fish and shrimp dumplings in something of a preview of Punta Mita’s newly remodeled Kupuri Beach Club – one of the property’s most popular restaurants.

DiMeo was joined by several other celebrity chefs with TV experience, including Alfredo Villanueva, Andrew Ormsby, Antonio de Livier and the charming Sam Choy, head chef of Four Seasons Haualalai, who cooks for stars, including Bruno Mars, and hosts a hit cooking show in his native Hawaii on Netflix.

The food came with wine and spirit pairings put together by head event sommelier Ariel Morales. Morales made certain authentic locally made tequila, mezcal and wine from Mexico’s renowned wine region Valle de Guadalupe got highlighted.

Punta Mita’s Gourmet and Golf Cup

The golfing portion of the bonanza consisted of the two-day American Express Gourmet and Golf Cup played on Punta Mita’s Pacifico and Bahia Courses. A focal point was the unveiling of the major restoration to Pacifico Course, a Jack Nicklaus signature course. The course’s notable Tail of the Whale hole, a landmark natural island golf green, is back and better than ever.

Tournament players warmed up with a lesson at Punta Mita Golf Club led by pro golf legends Lorena Ochoa, Jean Van de Velde and “The Walrus” Craig Stadler. That trio boasts three majors and one of golf’s most memorable near major wins.

Every Gourmet and Golf Club makes a charitable donation to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation. The Mexico native sweetly expressed her gratitude to the crowd for raising $75,000 for underprivileged children and teenagers in her home country.

Tail of a Whale” hole on Punta Mita’s Pacifico course (Photo by courtesy of Punta Mita)
The famous Tail of a Whale hole on Punta Mita’s Pacifico course is the only natural island golf green. (Courtesy of Punta Mita)

With a scramble format on day one and a best ball format on day two, the players were definitely challenged as they took in those oceanside views.

For those not interested in golf, a number of other experiences showcased the best of Punta Mita. These included a beachside cooking class led by Sam Choy The Godfather of Poke, a whale watching boat cruise, a tequila blending class, spa treatments and more.

At the closing party for the event, the fun loving Stadler was seen helping chefs put the final touches on their bites before serving them to his new friends – a perfect example of the blending of convivial magic and an unabashed appreciation for good food that was so palpable at Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf.

This was no ordinary golf — or food — weekend. In no ordinary place.

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