"Los niños exploran la gastronomía a través de sus sentidos"
~Children explore gastronomy through their senses~

One of my biggest frustrations when we first moved to the Riviera Maya was the lack of activities for children. Besides going to the beach or visiting a local cenote, there was just not much out there for kids to do on the weekends or after school. Organized educational kids activities in Playa del Carmen were practically unheard of. Over the past eight years, a lot has changed! Many new schools have opened and the extracurricular options for children living on the Riviera Maya are many and varied. There are so many great sports, arts and other recreational programs available for local kids that is difficult for a parent to decide which to choose!

One annual program I have always wanted to get my kids involved with is "Aprendiendo con el Chef". For the 5th year in a row, Vatel Club de Mexico and Flora, Fauna y Cultura Mexico have joined together to present "Aprendiendo con el Chef", a wonderful culinary event for children ages 5 to 12. This is the second year that this event has been held at Parque la Ceiba in the heart of Playa del Carmen.  All the funds raised by this event go toward maintaining the park and its facilities and creating even more great programs for local kids. This master cooking class for children is actually one of their oldest running programs and was started before the park itself was inaugurated! This year, I was able to reserve a place for both Cat and Cole to attend!







Throughout the morning, working side by side with distinguished Chefs from Cancun and the Riviera Maya's finest restaurants, resorts and culinary organizations, the children learned to identify the five "tastes" - sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami - and develop new cooking skills. Clad in authentic white chef's coats and hats, the children learned to make cookie dough from scratch, build their own pizzas and even decorate their own petite cake! At the end of the day, each of the Chefs, big and small, were presented with official certificates of completion and their delicious creations to bring home!








Some of the amazing and talented Chefs who participated in this year's "Aprendiendo con el Chef" are:

Chef Alex Alcántara - Bluebay Esmerald & Bluebay Diamond
Chef Danton Valle - Fairmont
Chef Jorge Hidalgo - Omni Cancún
Chef Dennis Radoux - SIlversands
Chef Jose Mena - Secrets Maroma
Chef Hector Rosales - Sea Adventure
Chef Hector Escobedo - Banquetes Chef Escobedo, ACRIM
Chef Eric de Maeyer - Live Aqua Cancun
Chef Abel Navarro - Coral Beach
Chef Pepe Barrientos - Wicky´s Playa del Carmen
Chef Jorge Cordova - Occidental
Martin Vazquez - Live Aqua Cancún
Alfredo Santamaria - Live Aqua Cancún
Leo Zurita - Omni Cancun
Ana Manrique - NTD Ingredientes
A special thanks to Gina Taboada, Lei de Landero, Grisel Alcantara, Hector Escobedo and all the Chefs and event organizers who participate in this class year after year. Through programs like this, Parque la Ceiba and Flora, Fauna y Cultura Mexico are working towards environmental and cultural education for children and hope to encourage the greater Riviera Maya community to respect and protect the delicate natural resources of our region.