Chatting with Maître Cuisinier de France Michel Mustiere of Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya is a gorgeous property with exquisite rooms and incomparable service, but that’s not all it has to offer — guests are in for a culinary treat at this truly all-inclusive resort; even the fine dining is included, no upcharge required as one often finds at a more typical all-inclusive packages elsewhere.
The food at the property is distinctive and truly divine, with each restaurant offering a particular fare from Mexican, to Asian, to French. Why? Michel Mustiere oversees them all.
With over 25 years of experience in restaurants and hotels, he is one of only seven chefs in Mexico (and only 300 in the entire world) to attain the prestigious Maître Cuisinier de France title. And, as if that isn’t enough, he’s also at the helm when it comes to onsite catering and the development of the new Yucatan restaurant.
Regardless of his massive appointments you can still find him regularly in the kitchen at the Piaf restaurant at Grand Velas where he has been for the better part of seven years since the resort opened.
His food is rooted in classic French cuisine but with a contemporary twist. He is all about detail and handling ingredients with the utmost delicacy. In fact, he eschews the use thickening agents in most of his sauces and instead allows them to reduce for upwards of twelve hours as needed. Some of his favorite methods of preparing food include sous vide and dehydration.
Guests say they can’t get enough of the wild flavor combinations with which Mustiere plays, including glazed oysters au grand Marnier sabayon and orange zest; foie gras 8/80: brioche served with salty caramel ice cream “Guérande” recipe and soft nougat; and white fish coconut steam; green “risotti” with goat cheese, pinenuts, crab meat, lobster sauce, and squid link crotons. It may sound crazy, but with Mustiere orchestrating, the result is nothing short of magical.
Some of this other fan favorites include escargot raviolis “Amélie-style” with mash garlic and green peas, persil foam, “comté” cheese, and short veal juice au cognac, as well as his Kobe beef sautéed and roasted in butter on truffle mash potatoes, vegetable “Tamay-style,” red wine au thyme, and lavender romance.
Mustiere says his love of all things culinary comes from his family and that nature’s bounty, including the simplest of offerings like garlic, butter, and thyme, all inspire the dishes he crafts. We caught up with Mustiere to find out more about what makes this chef’s creative juices flow:
The Daily Meal: Can you tell readers a bit about the inspiration behind your menus and what you are hoping to achieve with their offerings?
Chef Michel Mustiere: My source of inspiration is my family, my travels, and the people around me. For example, my 96-year-old grandmother’s famous apple pie continues to bring back moments of pleasure from my childhood. I have transformed her tart with learned culinary techniques and present the results to the resort’s guests.