Recently, the Grand Park Royal in Cozumel reinvented the menu at its El Italiano restaurant with award-winning Italian chef Michele Rinella.
Not only do travelers want to become immersed in a new world while on vacation, they also hope to experience the many pleasures that define that destination. And, increasingly, they’re discovering resorts that no longer rely on impressive geography and a pleasant climate—they’re offering world-class restaurants with outstanding food. Here and Beyond chatted with chef Rinella about his new endeavor with the Grand Park Royal.
How did this opportunity happen?
Park Royal is where I started as a chef in Mexico. El Italiano offers some of the best Mediterranean dishes that I have in my professional menu, such as Gnocco ripieno di gorgonzola. It offers homemade pasta, fresh fish and three different kinds of risotto. The menu at El Italiano has totally changed. We’ve created new dishes and new ingredients so we can offer people the best Mediterranean food experience in the best diving destination in Mexico.
What other things are on the new menu?
Fish is very important in Cozumel—not only serving it, but cooking and preparing it well, and keeping the right flavor. We also pay a lot of attention to the right herbs and spices, such as pesto, albahaca (basil) and olive oil.
Most important thing to keep in mind when developing a new menu?
You must start with local products, because they are fresh and will be available. When starting a menu, you start by identifying products. Fresh, original products are most important in our kitchen. We are what we eat!
What is your cooking style and culinary philosophy?
My style is Mediterranean fusion. My approach is that food is medicine, and I cook with love and conviction.
What’s next for you?
To travel more in Mexico and find more recipes and inspiration. This land has much to offer everyone.