Gastronomic & Golf Extravaganza in Paradise
St. Regis and Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico

Feature by: Bill Nestor

An ideal time to be at the luxurious St. Regis and Four Seasons beach, golf and spa resorts is January 28-31, 2016 for the sixth annual American Express Gourmet & Golf Classic.  The timing is optimal: hot sunny days, clear blue skies, exquisite sunsets, comfortable nights, and whales visible just off shore.  This year's celebration of food, drink and golf will again present a parade of sumptuous creations from a distinguished cadre of international chefs, wine and tequila pouring and the Punta Mita Cup, a two-day golf tournament on the Jack Nicklaus designed Pacifico and Bahia courses on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

The Gourmet & Golf Classic has grown in attendance, scope and sophistication since its inception.

The extraordinary four day party in paradise brings together culinary artists, wine sommeliers, and tequila masters with an appreciative audience of the impeccable service, exceptional meals from esteemed chefs, top shelf elixirs; and golf enthusiasts playing amid captivating splendors of nature, beauty, elegance and comfort.  

The Gourmet & Golf Classic has grown in attendance, scope and sophistication since its inception.  The 2015 event delivered a customary resplendent program graced by style and charm to a sell out crowd.  It attracted more participants, sponsors, golfers and diners than ever and raised  $55,000 for Mexican LPGA Lorena Ochoa’s foundation that supports underprivileged children through educational programs, sports, healthy living, and self-esteem seminars.  Sponsors included American Express, Aeromexico and Delta as official airline partners, Nespresso, TaylorMade, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Veuve Clicquot, Monte Xanic, Louis Roederer, SKYY Vodka, Campari, Casa Madero, Taittinger, Punta Mita Expeditions, and Patrón Tequila, among others.

The extravaganza was bookended by an opening carnival themed, cocktail party for 500 while costumed-stilted characters mingled and video drones hovered on Las Cuevas Beach, Four Season and a festive, blowout banquet on Sea Breeze Beach, St. Regis where a team of chefs atop an elevated, demonstration kitchen prepared a sit down dinner for 450.  A sparkling live performance from painter David Garibaldi held diners spellbound as he created portraits of Carlos Santana and Lorena Ochoa, accompanied by music and displayed on stadium sized screens.  The paintings were immediately auctioned for Ochoa's foundation during a stellar fireworks show that filled the night sky.  It was a full immersion sensory spectacle.   

Many other activities were enjoyed throughout the event by golfer and non-golfer attendees: small group sessions and cooking lessons with renowned chefs, wine and tequila tastings, spa treatments, paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and more.  The four day celebration was a multi-faceted culinary escapade from beginning to end that offered culinary participation throughout both resorts – at restaurants, on golf courses, at the beach, aboard a boat, and elsewhere.  It was nothing short of brilliant, each course, meal, tasting and activity, a delicious treat.

The extravaganza featured an opening carnival themed while costumed-stilted characters mingled and video drones hovered on Las Cuevas Beach. 

The Four Seasons Resort occupies an entrancing location and has set a standard of excellence at Punta Mita since opening in 1999.  Its setting, understated elegance, dining options, exceptional service and spectacular sunsets have helped create one of the most desirable havens in the world.

The St. Regis Resort opened ten years later and has continuously added to further enhance the destination's prominence as a luxurious, leisure paradise.   It is much like a boutique hotel with 120 spacious guest rooms and suites in charismatic tile-roofed casitas, ocean-view terraces, rustic Mexican décor and handcrafted furnishings that create a relaxing, seductive and tranquil ambiance.  Outdoor stone showers and 24-hour butlers exemplify St. Regis's elements of comfort and service.

“The much-anticipated 2016 Gourmet & Golf Classic will most certainly continue to set the bar and attract the best in gourmet and golf,” said Carl Emberson, General Manager of The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort and creator of the event. “It gives us great pleasure to offer our loyal guests the finest gourmet delicacies and elixirs from the world’s top culinary talent and participation in sensational golf competitions set along the golden shores of the Riviera Nayarit.”

“It is with great honor and excitement that we welcome gourmands and golfers to the sixth edition of the American Express Gourmet & Golf,” said John O’Sullivan, general manager of Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. “With an unforgettable backdrop, top culinary talent, and outstanding cuisine and spirits, this celebration of the finest pursuits is not to be missed.”

Punta Mita
Resident chefs will be featured at the 2016 Gourmet & Golf Classic at The St. Regis and Four Seasons Punta Mita resorts.

The 2016 Gourmet & Golf Classic at The St. Regis and Four Seasons Punta Mita resorts will feature resident chefs: Felipe Donnelly, Philippe Piel, Hector Leyva, Jose Salas, Ramon Bramasco, Gabriel Kolofon, Jose Meza and pastry chef Paulina Abascal.  They will be joined by a collective of worldwide acclaimed chefs from America- Andrew Ormsby, Ormsby Catering; Abraham Salum, Komali; Diane DiMeo, Hook & Cleaver; Felipe Donnelly, Comodo; Dean Fearing, Fearing’s Restaurant; Carlos Gaytan, Mexique; and Richard Sandoval, several Latin cuisine restaurants worldwide; and from Mexico- Daniel Ovadía, Paxia; Alfredo Villanueva, Romero y Azahar; Thierry Blouet, Café des Artistes Group; Edgar Nuñez, Sud 777; and Josefina Santa Cruz, Dumas Gourmet.

Golf Digest will present a private golf clinic with PGA golfer Craig Stadler.

Other special guests will include: Alfredo Sánchez, Tequila and Mexican spirits expert and sommelier; Sergio Elias Gutierrez founder of Bocanegra Brewery; Jesus Briseño founder, CEO and brewmaster of Cerveceria Minerva, and President of the Mexican Association of Brewing (Acermex); and sommelier Maria Rivero Gonzalez.  Golf Digest will present a private golf clinic with PGA golfer Craig Stadler.  Tournament players will also have an opportunity to win a variety of prizes including the latest model from Porsche Mexico.

The Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic located on an alluring slice of paradise is an exceptional event that has gotten better each year.  The aura of Punta Mita engenders a disarming relaxation: a spell of magic facilitated by its enchanting setting, mesmerizing tranquility and observing the sun slipping into the sea each night.  I eagerly anticipate teeing it up at sunrise on Pacifico and Bahia, and indulging in the scene, pristine nature, cuisine and mystical culinary creations at St. Regis (Carolina, Sea Breeze, Mary Mita Boat, Las Marietas) and Four Seasons (Aramara, Bahia, Ketsi) restaurants.

The American Express Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic 2016 packages and reservations.  St. Regis Punta Mita Resort: Call (877)250-8871or email - and Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita: Call (866) 280-9490 or email -

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Freelancer Bill Nestor explores the world to write about travel, food, nature, golf and lifestyles.