Meet Chefs Denise Shavandy and Eric Ponchet

Alexis Velasco
Nov. 28, 2017

The 22nd edition of the Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival took place a couple of weeks ago and Vallarta Lifestyles had exclusive access to two of the most prestigious chefs that participated at the event during an intimate conversation at Café des Artistes restaurant. Restaurant owner and Gourmet Festival organizer, chef Thierry Blouet, hosted a cocktail for a selected group of media outlets and served as a translator with his special guests: French chef Eric Ponchet and American chef Denise Shavandy.

Eric Ponchet serves as Executive Chef at Le Reminet, a French bistro located across from the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, where he offers a fusion of French gastronomy and other exotic cuisines from Africa, the Caribbean and islands on the South Pacific. He uses spices and ingredients imported from places such as Polynesia, Madagascar and Cuba, among others.

“This is my first visit to Puerto Vallarta and I am truly impressed by the professionalism and discipline of Café des Artistes cooks and kitchen staff, the venue where I’ve been offering my specialties. I will come back to México very soon. I am interested in learning more about the culture, customs and gastronomy; I also want to get some spices, herbs and peppers used in Mexican cuisine”, he said.

Chef Shavandy’s culinary area of expertise is Middle East cuisine. She serves as Executive Chef at Café Modern in the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; where she is in charge of serving breakfast and brunch and hosting big banquets and other special events and dinners. During the Puerto Vallarta International Gourmet Festival, Shavandy offered a special menu featuring dishes created along with chef Blouet at the Tuna Blanca restaurant in Punta Mita.

“Participating in the Gourmet Festival has been an exciting experience since we’ve been able to share culinary and cultural knowledge with all our colleagues. It’s been amazing discovering the variety and freshness of the ingredients from the sea, the meat and vegetables they use in the local culinary scene”, she said.

The International Gourmet Festival is an annual event celebrated in Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Tepic. It began in 1995 as an initiative promoted by local chefs Thierry Blouet (Café des Artistes), along with chef Heinz Reize (Coco Tropical restaurant). In 2000, chef Roland Menetrey, owner of a prestigious restaurant chain in the United States and outstanding promoter of Vallarta Nayarit, joined them. Learn more about the event by clicking here.