Gastronomy Festival of the Year Ends With a Sour Note, or Two

 Gastronomy Festival of the Year Ends With a Sour Note, or Two

BY LISSETTE VALENTIN

The most famous gastronomic event of the year, Sabor a Cabo (Taste of Cabo), and its motto El Sabor del Reencuentro (the Flavor of Reunion) took place at the Club Campestre San Jose (San José del Cabo Country Club) on December 2, where more than 20 wineries and 30 local restaurateurs delighted guests with their local flare and delicacies. This festival is almost a tradition and an institution and brand of its own(Sabor a Cabo S.A de C.V.).  After a brief break of three years due to COVID, it has returned for its 15th edition with great expectations from organizers and gourmands.

This time around the organizers Canirac Los Cabos (The local restaurant association) had the support of FITURCA (The Los Cabos Tourism Fund) which is a Destination Marketing Organization created in 2019 by the private sector. 

This year, six internationally renowned chefs participated in the best dish contest. Chef Javier Plascencia for Semillon, Chef Ángel Carbajal for Nicksan, Chef Guillermo Gómez for Sage, Chef Gustavo Pinet for Don Manuel’s at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, Chef Héctor Morales from Sunset Monalisa and Chef Juan Pablo Loza from Comal. The chefs all had 25 minutes to prepare a Pacific Bluefin Tuna Dish.

The winner was chef Javier Plascencia, recognized for his restaurants such as Animalon in Valle de Guadalupe (Mexico’s wine country) Semillon in San Jose del Cabo, and Jazamango in Todos Santos just to name a few. The distinguished jury panel was made up of the president of Club Vatel Baja California Sur and Culinary Director of the Top Star Chefs Event at Sabor a Cabo chef Edgar Román. 

Chef Josiah Citrin and Chef Guy Santoro are veterans of the Los Angeles gourmet culinary scene while Chef Marco Beteta is one of the highest authorities on gastronomy and a pioneer of restaurant guides in Mexico.

Following the best dish award ceremony, Juanes, a Colombian pop star performed for almost two hours. I would guess that many of the English-speaking attendees had no idea who Juanes was, so please allow me to tell you who he is. 

Juanes is famous in Latin America having won 26 Latin Grammy Awards and sold over 15 million albums worldwide. His album Mi Sangre (My Blood) released in September 2004 debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums. The album’s third single, “La Camisa Negra” (“The Black Shirt”) catapulted him into stardom.

His show began with no presentation and it didn’t catch the attention of the event participants, to the point that many left early.  Tickets started at $200 for the concert and the afterparty with DJ Alex Cruz (no food or alcohol included). Do you know who this DJ is by any chance? General admission tickets were $400 and included the concert, food, and beverages, $500 for an all-inclusive table, $6,500 for VIP tables seating 10, and finally $7,500 for the super VIP table. Juane’s fans most likely couldn’t afford any of the options available. 

Unexpectedly halfway into the concert, the South American musician decided to come off the stage to sing a ballad standing in the middle of the super VIP area which turned out to be a bad idea.  The audience was surrounding him tightly with their phone cameras on hand when suddenly someone started throwing wine and wine glasses while he was singing a romantic piece. Once the song ended you could hear people shouting get out, get out, get out with no sign of security to control the situation.  Seemingly this is how la creme de la creme of Los Cabos behaves after having a few glasses of wine.  Despite the Colombian’s efforts, the crowd seemed more interested in drinking than his music.  Only a few were dancing and singing along to his hits. 

His concert finished around 11 p.m. when the leftover people started heading out walking towards the shuttle buses that would take them to the abandoned G20 building parking lot. Only the VIPs could park at the clubhouse and walk to hole #1 of the golf course where the event was set up. Ah, the golf course, yes it is beautiful but not practical, quite a few dressed-up ladies in high heels stumbled around on the uneven green.

The afterparty featuring DJ Alex lasted for three hours and ended at 2 a.m. The open bar was offered for the rest of the night which by the way wasn’t included in any of the tickets, hoping it left a healthy profit to cover Juane’s expenses since some of the back tables looked empty.

The event’s proceeds will go to the Red Cross and Fire Department of Cabo San Lucas. Overall, the food was phenomenal and there was plenty of fine wine. May we suggest a line-up of some of the wonderful musicians are hired next year instead of bringing someone that only a few are fans of?