Cooking with the Pros at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso

Staff Writer
Our contributor experiences an interesting cooking demonstration at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Betsy Cohen

Chopped lobster gets sautéed with shallots, leeks, serrano peppers, and garlic before it is stuffed into pumpkin flowers.

Recently, at Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Riviera Maya, Mexico, I had the pleasure of observing and participating in a demonstration cooking class, one fantastic experience with five top chefs, each one creating dishes that can, easily, be made at home.

Click here to see the A Decadent Demonstration: Learn to Cook in Mexico (Slideshow)

The Pumpkin flowers stuffed with lobster were unique and very simple to prepare. We call them zucchini flowers in the United States. Whatever you choose to call them, they’re delicious.

The vegetable and cod salad was not what I expected. I thought, prior to the demonstration, that cooking fish in oil for 30 minutes would make it greasy. Not at all. The dish was complemented with roasted vegetables, topped with a freshly sautéed mushroom vinaigrette, which was the perfect dressing for this unusual salad. 

I learned how to slice a black-hoofed pig’s leg, home to the most delicious Serrano ham, and how to make paella for a large crowd. And after all my years of making guacamole, it was here that I learned how to make the perfect one.

For dessert the Baileys crème brûlée topped with chocolate soufflé prepared in a siphon bottle, with sable cookie crumbs and a scoop of ice cream, exceeded my highest expectations. I discovered that martini glasses, specially made for baking in the oven, provide an eye-catching presentation. Lastly, the deco piece made out of Halls Mentho-lyptus blew my mind.

Watching very talented chefs prepare delicious foods, while sharing their sense of humor and passion for their art, made this cooking demonstration one of my all-time favorites.