There are many sides to a Cuvée vacation: luxurious accommodations in the world’s most coveted locales, once-in-a-lifetime cultural immersion, and, of course, culinary adventures that excite even the most discerning of palates. Our private chefs are key to this, bringing with them a wealth of experience in internationally renowned kitchens and culinary programs.
Travel to one of Cuvée’s glorious estates in Mexico or Royal Island and you’ll meet one of the most important members of our team: Chef Sergio Castro. For the past several years, Chef Sergio has prepared mouth-watering gourmet offerings for guests in the Cuvée community. We asked Chef Sergio about his love of culinary, the flavors and figures that influence him, and his most memorable Cuvée moments.
Chef Sergio’s Journey
For Chef Sergio, it all began in his mother’s kitchen in Puebla City, Mexico. The first meal he remembers learning to cook as a young boy was a fluffy omelet. It was that experience—chopping the fresh vegetables, grating the cheese, cracking the eggs and, of course, tasting his own creation along with his family—that made him fall in love with food. The many possibilities and flavors excited him, as did the thought of creating beautiful dishes for others.
A period of experimentation followed. “I liked to mix spices together,” says Chef Sergio, “just to see what it would taste like.” Sometimes the results were delicious and surprising. Sometimes they weren’t as good. He still remembers the night he got up after everyone had gone to bed and switched the salt and sugar. His family was not happy the next morning.
But his passion for culinary didn’t wane; Chef Sergio moved on from his mother’s kitchen to study at Pizzolotto Institute of Gastronomic Arts and garner experience at a number of high-profile kitchens in Mexico, eventually making his way into executing private dinners and events for Diamante Golf Clubs.
In 2010, Chef Sergio founded The Cabo Gourmet, a full-service chef and butler company offering artisan culinary right in clients’ homes. Once again, he was bringing his love of culinary to people where they lived, getting to know them and their tastes and finding new ways to take them on culinary journeys from the comfort of their own dining tables.
Culinary Memories of a Lifetime at Cuvée
Working with Cuvée, Chef Sergio has traveled all over the world and savored unique flavors from every region he’s visited. Though classic Mexican cuisine is closest to his heart, he’s made a point of collecting ingredients during his travels that he can share with guests in Mexico and Royal Island, like porcini mushrooms and truffle oils from Italy that he can work into carpaccios, pastas, and other dishes—or ideas for entrees that serve as a nod to Italian cuisine, like a creamy risotto that features Mexican ingredients.
His favorite Cuvée memory? “The people. These properties always bring me in contact with interesting people.” He enjoys getting to know guests through his one-on-one cooking classes, which offer him the chance to pass his love for fresh ingredients and elevated culinary on to others in the Cuvée community. It breaks the ice, he says—and it sets the tone for a warm relationship with guests over the course of their stay.
Some of those most memorable moments with guests involve celebrating their accomplishments out on the water, when they return from a day out fishing with a big catch that they’d like to be the centerpiece of dinner. “It’s like I’m cooking a trophy,” he laughs. And it offers him the opportunity to plan a meal alongside those who will be enjoying it. “Sometimes they’ll ask, ‘can we make this or that with my catch?’ And I’ll work with them and say, ‘this kind of fish lends itself better to ceviche,’ and we’ll plan around that.”
But there are also quieter moments Chef Sergio enjoys, like taking in the views from the various Cuvée properties where he’s worked. Nothing makes a long day of cooking more serene than a beautiful ocean view. His favorite, he says, is Casa Fortuna in Cabo, which boasts superb views of the ocean and terrace right from the kitchen, as if the property, itself, were built with the chef in mind.
Flavors, Chef Sergio-style
Chef Sergio is quick to recommend a delicious flavor combination or ideas for a multi-course meal. When it comes to his own tastes, and as a tequila aficionado, he likes to plan around a harmonious blending of fresh local ingredients and a fine tequila. In Mexico and Royal Island, this often involves fish. His recommendation for a simple, yet elegant, pairing: a tequila blanco with roasted Mexican corn and a good ceviche.
Though his children are grown and he no longer cooks large family meals, we asked Chef Sergio to imagine gathering his family together on the terrace of Casa Fortuna for a dream dinner. Of course, there would be excellent tequila—Don Julio 1942, to be exact, which he describes as “honest and mellow,” with no additives, colors, or sweeteners. But he surprised us by skipping right to dessert, pairing it with a rich pecan flan or golden churros with a warm dulce de leche sauce for dipping: sweet treats to pair with sweet memories.
Chef Sergio’s Advice
If he could give one piece of culinary advice, Chef Sergio encourages everyone to remain inquisitive and open. Ask a server or chef what they recommend, especially when you’re facing an extensive menu. Take risks and push your own boundaries. Let a chef surprise you with new experiences and new flavors.
With Chef Sergio at the helm, that surprise is sure to pay off.