Meet Mexico’s Top Celebrity Chef Talent at Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

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Food Wine Festival Mexico
Mexico’s Food & Wine Festival

Epicures and oenophiles will be heading to the Pacific Coast of Mexico again this winter for the second annual FOOD & WINE Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, on March22-24, 2012. Award-winning chefs Michael Symon and Marcus Samuelsson, along with leading wine expert Mark Oldman will join Mexico’s most esteemed culinary professionals to celebrate the cuisine and wines of Mexico and a philosophy of “32 tastes, 1 history, 1 soul.” The event is hosted by FOOD & WINE in conjunction with the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In 2011, FOOD & WINE chose Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo for the magazine’s first foray into Latin America. The event was highly successful, selling out every slot on a packed, 3-day agenda. In its return in 2012, the festival is proud to host two James Beard-award winning chefs in Symon and Samuelsson and one of the U.S.’s top wine personalities in Oldman.

“We are honored to partner with FOOD & WINE and announce the return of the FOOD & WINE Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo,” said Higinio de Leon, chairman of the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo CVB. “Bringing such talented chefs continues to cement our festival as a premier culinary event with a distinct point of view, combining international talent with Mexico’s own top chefs and wine makers to celebrate the culture and cuisine that makes our country so great.”

Symon, known for his acclaimed Cleveland restaurants and his appearances on Iron Chef, draws on his Greek and Sicilian heritage to create dishes that are vibrantly flavored and intensely satisfying. He was named a Best New Chef by FOOD & WINE magazine in 1998 and is now a co-host of ABC’s new food talk show “The Chew.”

“I’m totally psyched to be invited to participate in this festival and get to experience first-hand the unique, intense flavors of Mexican cuisine,” Symon said. “Ever since I learned about the success of the inaugural event I’ve been dying to get involved with this festival.”

Samuelsson brings a world-class culinary talent to the festival. His cooking blends influences from Scandinavia, Africa and the Americas, taking a modern approach to traditional cuisines. Samuelsson, the chef-owner of Red Rooster Harlem and Founder of, is the youngest chef to ever receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times. In 2009, he served as guest chef for the first state dinner of the Barack Obama presidency.

“The quality of cooking in Latin America has always been on the cutting edge of the culinary world,” Samuelsson said. “I’m truly appreciative of the opportunity to work closely with the incredibly talented chefs in Mexico.”

Award-winning author, TV personality and wine expert Oldman regularly speaks to sold-out audiences at top culinary festivals, including the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen and the James Beard House. As a TV judge for PBS’s “The Winemakers,” wine expert for Pottery Barn, and wine columnist for the Food Network, Oldman’s signature style aims to turn wine lovers into true wine connoisseurs.

The festival will also feature top Mexican celebrity chef talent, including Guillermo Gonzlez Beristain, Jos Ramn Castillo, Aquiles Chvez, Federico Lpez, Alfredo Oropeza and Patricia Quintana.

Mexican cuisine was recognized by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” in 2010, and the festival’s homegrown talent will showcase their reverence for Mexico’s culinary traditions throughout the weekend.

“We are excited to partner with the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo CVB for the second annual FOOD & WINE Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo,” said Christina Grdovic, vp/publisher of FOOD & WINE. “Master chefs from throughout Mexico will present authentic cuisine and work in concert with our exciting line-up of celebrity chefs to create an unforgettable epicurean experience.”

Beyond the plate, attendees will be able to enjoy all that this tropical paradise has to offer. Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo’s activities include world-class spas, beaches, surfing, shopping and ecotourism. With over 75 hotels and more than 25 miles of beach, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo provides an authentic escape unlike any other Mexican destination.

What makes Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo distinctive is the multifaceted appeal of the two neighboring yet unique towns. Ixtapa is a vacation haven of sandy beachfront and five-star resorts, while the older Zihuatanejo is a picturesque, traditional fishing village with ocean-front boutique hotels. Travelers to the region experience the best of both the modern and traditional, the visitor and the local, just moments apart.

The complete festival lineup and ticket information will be announced later this fall. For more information, visit


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