Taste of Playa is an annual culinary event in Playa del Carmen that celebrates the creativity and cultural influences of chefs throughout the Riviera Maya. The event promotes the unique culinary perspectives of local chefs, highlights new event venues and coordinates the efforts of local businesses and municipal governments. In 2009, Taste of Playa captured the attention of national and international media and showed the spirit of multi-cultural cooperation that defines the modern Riviera Maya.
International culinary festivals are held throughout the world, with each host city highlighting the chefs, restaurants and retail food outlets that define the culture of the area. Playa del Carmen is renowned for its diversity, its international influences, its culinary expertise and its Caribbean lifestyle. The restaurants and food industry have played a major part in the development and definition of the Riviera Maya. This event provides local businesses with an opportunity to showcase the expertise of their talented chefs.
Originally named Xaman-Ha (waters of the north) by the ancient Maya, modern day Playa del Carmen is the heart of the Riviera Maya. Located on the coast 40 miles (60 kms.) south of Cancun, Playa, as it is now commonly known, is the perfect base of operations from which to explore the incredible sites of this fascinating region. Famous for its pristine beaches, clear blue waters, and Caribbean lifestyle, Playa del Carmen is a place for those in search of an extraordinary vacation destination. The friendly people, the vibrant indigenous culture, and the remarkable biodiversity all contribute to a unique travel experience that will stay with visitors long after their suntan fades. Once a quiet seaside fishing village, Playa del Carmen has doubled its population in the past decade, attracting new residents from around the globe. Europeans, South Americans, Americans and Canadians have discovered this little slice of paradise, and have set up permanent homes as well as a myriad of internationally influenced businesses.
The event location, Parque Fundadores, commemorates the Founders of Playa del Carmen and is a significant historical location within the city. Originally a community gathering spot where residents obtained their water, food and basic living essentials, this seaside location was the market hub for the then small village. As the population grew and the city expanded, the park evolved into a center for entertainment and events, with local businesses and vendors setting up shop around this central point. The current Municipal President, Prof. Roman Quian, has brought life back into this important community area and rejuvenated the site under the program ‘Rescate de los Sitios Publicos’. Playa del Carmen’s only beachfront park has been thoughtfully renovated to include public seating and shade, a play area for children and their families and a beautiful bandstand. The local vendors have remained, selling their wares, just as they have for generations.
The event is scheduled for November 21, 2010 in the Parque Fundadores from 3 pm to 9 pm. Local businesses and sponsors are supporting the operations of this food focused event, leaving chefs free to concentrate on the execution of their creations.
Government and media support will promote this festival to local residents and tourists alike, inviting everyone to sample creations that normally they may not have the opportunity to enjoy.
Admission to Taste of Playa is free to the public with all inclusive VIP Passes and Taste of Playa “Pesos” available for sale. The Taste of Playa Pesos are used to purchase the signature dishes offered. Samples will have a value of 1 or 2 Taste of Playa “Pesos” (10 to 20 pesos in value). Taste of Playa “Pesos” and VIP Passes may be purchased at the event, ordered in advance or purchased online.
In addition to sampling dishes from some of the best culinary talent on the Riviera Maya, festival attendees will be able to shop at the Taste of Playa Marketplace. The Marketplace is the event’s retail outlet where each year, a collection of food merchants will be invited to promote and sell their specialty food products. This venue proudly showcases a variety of local small businesses whose products will contribute to the overall experience of the event. Tourists and residents alike will have the opportunity to sample and purchase distinctive items and regionally prepared products.
The event schedule has the media entering at 2 pm in the press area, VIPs and Corporate Sponsors at 2 pm and general admission at 3 pm. The event closes at 9 pm.
Corporate Sponsors for Taste of Playa 2010 include:
Title Sponsor: Habanero: Chili Piquin: LocoGringo.com, Yucatan Holidays Serrano: Grupo MSM Alquiladora, Wanna Lounge Chipotle: Deli-Playa, Acanto Condo Hotel, Mayaqueb Constructor Jalapeno: Buy Playa Real Estate Advisors VIP Lounge: Wicky’s Restaurant and Beach Club Poblano: Cultura Culture Xactic: Buy Playa Real Estate Advisors, Abyss Dive Center, Latido de Mexico, Playa Rentals, Hotel Tropical Casablanca, Yoga by the Way, North American Standards, Latin Latitudes
An up to date list of Sponsors, Restaurant and Marketplace participants will also be available on the webpage at www.tasteofplaya.com/restaurants and www.tasteofplaya.com/sponsors.
This year, the organizers of Taste of Playa 2010 have signed on a celebrity host, Travel and Food Expert, Mark DeCarlo, to team up with local chefs during the event. Mr. DeCarlo, host of the hit comedy/food show on the Travel Channel “Taste of America with Mark DeCarlo”, traveled the United States collecting recipes and characters for over four seasons. All the best morsels from his travels appear in his new book, “A Fork on the Road: 400 Cities One Stomach”, published in September 2010 by Lyons Press which will make its Mexico debut at the event November 21, 2010.
As he moves across North America, Mark’s traveling comedy and cooking show will be chronicled in daily Podcasts available to 60 MILLION fans via MSN and WhereTraveler.com.
Throughout the day, Mark will be conducting a series of food demonstrations with local chefs highlighting the unique recipes of the Mexican Caribbean, signing copies of his new book and sampling dishes from the 40 participating restaurants and beverage providers.
Each year, Taste of Playa will donate proceeds from the event to a local non-profit food or clean water program. The goal of the committee is to help develop and sustain community programs that will have a positive effect on the residents of Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.
Proceeds from Taste of Playa 2009 were awarded to Ak Lu’um International School, Playa del Carmen’s only non-profit learning institution. Funds raised by Taste of Playa 2009 provided the school with clean, safe drinking water for students, teachers and volunteers for the 2009/2010 school year.
This year’s donation will go to a new food education program implemented by the Rotarians of Playa del Carmen, in an effort to educate local children and families about the importance of nutrition, nutritional balance and the use of local produce and resources to maintain a healthy diet. The Rotary Club brings together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the cities and areas where we live.
Taste of Playa Executive Committee Members develop, execute and market this International Event.
The committee members for Taste of Playa 2010 are Nicola Inwood, Executive Chairperson and owner of Hotel Tropical CasaBlanca, Gabi Waldert, Graphics Committee Chairperson and owner of Playa-Rentals , Ellen de Jonge, Volunteer Committee Chairperson and owner of Yoga by the Way, Susan de Lima, Operations Committee Chairperson and owner of Latido de Mexico, Sherry Stevens, Marketplace Committee Chairperson and agent for One Stop Real Estate, Monica Hartlief, Restaurant Committee Chairperson and owner of Latido de Mexico, Mitch Gour, Sponsorship Committee Chairperson and freelance travel writer, Armando Elizalde, Finance Committee Chairman and owner of the online newspaper, MexicanCaribbeanToday.com, Michele Kinnon, Marketing Committee Chairperson and owner of Buy Playa Real Estate Advisors and Tyra Hamilton, Administrative liaison to the Executive Committee and agent for Yucatan Explorer. Each committee member has brought a unique set of skills and personal experiences crucial to the success of this exciting event.
The attendance for Taste of Playa 2009 has been estimated at over 3200 persons; which was comprised of local residents, tourists and media. The event attracted the support of 27 Corporate Sponsors. 25 restaurants participated, 65 volunteers supported the event operations, and 5 Marketplace participants sold their food items at the event. Testimonials from the event day are available at http://www.tasteofplaya.com/media/testimonials.html .
It is anticipated that 5000 people will attend Taste of Playa 2010, 65 volunteers will support event operations, 40 restaurants, 10 marketplace vendors and over 80 Corporate Sponsor representatives will participate in the event.