The chefs that shape the Culinary Group at Xcaret Hotels

September 12, 2023

Michelin-star Mexican chefs

and one of the world's best chefs have their restaurant at Hoteles Xcaret.

Gastronomy plays a crucial role in choosing where to spend our vacations. Buffets, à la carte dinners, and signature restaurants are all experiences that stay in our memory and become one of the main reasons to return to a place that took us to culinary heaven with the first bite or transported us through time with its enticing aroma.

At Hoteles Xcaret, gastronomy is a significant pillar in guests' experiences. From the inception of the Hotel Xcaret México project, followed by Hotel Xcaret Arte and the boutique hotel La Casa de la Playa, they have gathered a team of professionals, passionate, and renowned chefs from Mexico and around the world to create unforgettable sensory experiences, primarily focused on taste.

So, if you are a food lover, enjoy traditional dishes, or are open to discovering new flavors with high-quality ingredients, you'll be interested in reading further. 

We will introduce you to the team of chefs who have shaped this culinary project at Hoteles Xcaret, showcasing their ability to elevate both national and international cuisine in one of Mexico's most important tourist destinations.

Chef Franco Maddalozzo

He is the Culinary Director of Hoteles Xcaret and the mastermind behind creating the Culinary Group for Hotel Xcaret México and Hotel Xcaret Arte. He has also created the "Culinary Ensemble" for La Casa de la Playa. Undoubtedly, his work deserves applause, as he has managed to bring together the best chefs, primarily Mexican and some with Michelin stars, to bring to life the culinary concepts of each restaurant.

Chef Franco hails from northern Italy, and his experience comes from his work in various countries, which led him to create the concept of Med-Mex cuisine, refining it in the kitchens of Hoteles Xcaret with his globetrotting flair.

Chef Franco oversees two restaurants in Hoteles Xcaret: Fuego Restaurant in Hotel Xcaret México and Cayuco Restaurant in Hotel Xcaret Arte.

At Fuego Restaurant, he blends flavors from different culinary cultures, including Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean, and Asian. The menu offers a selection of fresh seafood, artisanal pasta, and quality meats prepared with innovative culinary techniques.

On the other hand, Cayuco Restaurant focuses on the freshness of seafood and fish, combining Italian and European flavors with a touch of Mexican spice. You can find everything from pizzas, carpaccio, skewers, and pasta to intriguing preparations like oven-baked fish with mayonnaise and chili adobo. 

The dishes at both restaurants reflect Chef Franco's talent and passion for gastronomy and his commitment to providing guests with an unforgettable culinary experience.

Chef Alejandro Ruiz

Originally from Oaxaca, Chef Alejandro is recognized nationally and internationally for highlighting the authenticity of the culinary culture of his region. His culinary projects, such as his restaurants Casa Oaxaca and Oaxacalifornia, reflect his passion for local ingredients and commitment to sustainability. 

Chef Alejandro is responsible for two restaurants at Hoteles Xcaret: Cantina Los Faroles at Hotel Xcaret México and La Cantina VI.AI.PY. at Hotel Xcaret Arte.

At Cantina Los Faroles, he presents a variety of Oaxacan dishes for sharing, such as tamales with black mole, crispy duck tacos, and the traditional "tasajo tlayuda”. In addition, the extensive selection of mezcal and cocktails reflects his love for the culture and traditions of Oaxaca.

At Cantina VI.AI.PY., he showcases the versatility of Oaxacan cuisine by using local and regional ingredients in dishes that change according to the season. Here, you can taste everything from insect tostadas to wild mushroom broth, shrimp-stuffed peppers, seafood gorditas, and short rib barbacoa. 

Chef Alejandro's creativity and authenticity shine through in every dish at the table, turning this culinary experience into a journey filled with delicious traditional flavors. If you have not visited Oaxaca yet, you should take advantage of this chance to enjoy its exceptional cuisine.

Chef Miguel Bautista

Originally from Mexico City, Chef Miguel is a celebrity in the vegan cuisine scene in Mexico and Latin America. With a career spanning over 20 years, he has made a name for himself by participating in television programs, authoring several books, and offering workshops and consultations. His creativity and passion for vegan food have inspired many to adopt this lifestyle and explore new flavors and culinary techniques.

Chef Miguel sets his signature at the BIO restaurant in Hotel Xcaret, México, where he has created a 100% vegan menu that surprises guests. His dishes, made from scratch without industrial processes, include vegan moles, coconut-based vegan cheeses, sprouted fava bean chorizo, lentil burgers, mushroom pastor-style tacos, as well as a variety of products like vegetal milk, sweet bread, smoothies, acai bowls, and cold-pressed juices.

Visiting BIO is undoubtedly an opportunity to be amazed by the versatility of plant-based ingredients and the creativity with which flavors like traditional ones are achieved.

In addition to the BIO restaurant, Chef Miguel offers a vegan alternative line of dishes in each restaurant at Hotel Xcaret Mexico and Hotel Xcaret Arte.

Chef Carlos Gaytán

Although originally from Guerrero, Chef Carlos Gaytán immigrated to the United States at a young age, where he climbed the culinary industry ladder until he opened his restaurant, Mexique, in Chicago, featuring a fusion of Mexican flavors and French techniques. He received a Michelin star, becoming the first Mexican chef to achieve this honor.

In 2018, Chef Gaytán returned to Mexico and materialized the Restaurant HA project at Hotel Xcaret México. HA', which means "water" in Mayan, is the first restaurant at Hoteles Xcaret to receive the AAA Five Diamond award for the highest standards in quality and service.

At HA', Chef Gaytán offers contemporary Mexican cuisine through a seven-course tasting menu, where each dish is paired with exquisite wines and spirits. His menu invites guests to discover the ingredients through textures and temperatures while telling a story of love for his roots and his multiple journeys to find the best ingredients for his dishes. 

Undoubtedly, HA' has become an icon of contemporary cuisine in the Riviera Maya and Mexico. It is a place that is worth visiting.

*This restaurant is not included in the All-Fun Inclusive® concept. 

Chef Luis Arzapalo

Originally from Valladolid, Yucatán, Chef Luis Arzapalo began his culinary career in the Riviera Maya, and later, he moved to Europe, where he gained experience on the island of Ibiza and worked alongside chefs specialized in Japanese cuisine. Upon returning to Mexico, he joined the Culinary Group of Hoteles Xcaret. He currently heads the Xin-Gao restaurant at Hotel Xcaret México and the Tah-Xido restaurant at Hotel Xcaret Arte.

At the Xin-Gao restaurant, he combines the best flavors and techniques of Japanese cuisine with subtle nods to Mexican cooking through four experiences: the traditional Teppanyaki, a live culinary spectacle; Robatayaki, the Japanese grill at its finest; Fusion, an elegant, simple, and creative menu; Omakase, the chef's invitation to be surprised by his creations.

At the Tah-Xido restaurant, he showcases the best of Oriental culinary art with three experiences of contemporary Japanese cuisine: Teppanyaki, with plenty of fire and sauces involved; Fusion Table, an à la carte menu to taste a variety of dishes; Omakase, where you trust the chef and let yourself be guided by his daily proposal.

Whether at Xin-Gao or Tah-Xido, the quality of fresh ingredients is evident when savoring the delights crafted by Chef Luis Arzapalo.

Chef Jonatan Gómez Luna

Originally from Mexico City, Chef Jonatan is recognized as one of the leading exponents of contemporary Mexican cuisine. He founded Le Chique, listed among "Latin America's 50 best restaurants." He has also received numerous awards, including the title of Iron Chef Canada in 2012, and has been recognized as one of Mexico's best-emerging chefs by Bleu & Blanc magazine.

Currently, Chef Jonatan leads the Chino Poblano restaurant at Hotel Xcaret Arte, where he has created a tasting menu that masterfully combines contemporary Mexican cuisine with hints of Chinese cooking. His main goal has been to achieve a perfect balance between both gastronomies, highlighting the unique qualities of each.

To achieve this culinary fusion, he uses high-quality ingredients and meticulously explores the culinary techniques of both cultures. Additionally, the chef has experimented with Chinese techniques like wok cooking and stir-frying and Mexican techniques like grilling and slow cooking.

Undoubtedly, the tasting menu at the Chino Poblano restaurant in Hotel Xcaret Arte is a unique and exciting experience, where Chef Jonatan will surprise you with his innovative proposal that celebrates the best of both cultures. 

Chef Paco Mendez

Originally from Mexico City, he has stood out for fusing Mexican culinary traditions with avant-garde techniques. After moving to Barcelona in 2012, he worked in restaurants owned by renowned chefs Albert Adrià and Ferran Adrià, where he developed his unique cooking style. Paco Méndez is responsible for the "Come "restaurant in Spain, formerly Hoja Santa, which has recently been awarded its first Michelin star, revalidating the recognition obtained in the previous restaurant.

Chef Paco Méndez oversees the signature restaurant Encanta at Hotel Xcaret Arte. His proposal pays homage to traditional Mexican dishes and adds a personal, subtle, and characteristic touch. In its nine-course menu, you can find both sea and land products that are a delight.

His menu will take you on a journey of modernity and a reinterpretation of traditional Mexican dishes, constantly enhancing the main ingredients' flavor. 

Chef Roberto Solís

Originally from Mérida, Yucatán, Chef Roberto Solís is recognized as the creator and leading exponent of "New Yucatecan Cuisine." After gaining experience in restaurants in Mexico City and the United States, he opened his restaurant, Nectar, in Mérida, where he merges modern techniques with the rich Yucatecan culinary tradition.

Chef Roberto was honored with awards such as Best Chef in Mexico in 2015, and the Excellence in Gastronomy Award in 2018, and his restaurant has been included in the list of "Latin America's 50 best restaurants."

In charge of the restaurant Kibi-Kibi at Hotel Xcaret Arte, Chef Roberto Solis offers à la carte breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus exclusively for Casa de los Artistas guests. His proposal is based on the fusion of Yucatecan and Lebanese cuisine.

The breakfast menu offers options such as the castacán taco with bola cheese, a typical Yucatecan gastronomy dish, and hummus, a classic Lebanese dish. For lunch, you will be surprised by dishes like the black pastor taco, a fusion of the traditional recado negro with Lebanese pita bread. And for dinner, the star dishes are the lobster kibis with queso relleno style and the Kibi-Kibi-style lasagna with lamb and recado negro.

The culinary proposal of KIBI-KIBI is another showcase of Chef Roberto Solís' creativity and culinary skill; he has managed to create a unique culinary experience by combining two very different yet complementary culinary cultures.

If you've made it this far, we recognize that you're a good food lover, and we hope that you can experience the value each chef brings to the Cuisine Collective during your next vacation at Hoteles Xcaret. 

If this has left a good taste in your mouth, get ready because next, we present the celebrity chefs who are part of the Culinary Ensemble of Grupo Xcaret's most exclusive project, La Casa de la Playa.

Chef Martha Ortiz

Originally from Mexico City, in 2002, Martha Ortiz opened her restaurant, Dulce Patria, where she fused elements of traditional Mexican cuisine with contemporary techniques and flavors.

Throughout her career, she has received numerous recognitions and awards for her work in Mexican gastronomy, including the "Chef's Choice" award from Food & Wine magazine in 2018 and the "Women Entrepreneurs" award from Forbes Mexico in 2020. She has also been included in "Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants" for several years.

Chef Martha Ortiz presents a love letter to Mexico at the helm of Tuch de Luna restaurant in La Casa de la Playa. Her concept is based on the idea that food is much more than nourishment. For her, food is an opportunity to create memories and emotions that will endure over time. With this philosophy in mind, each dish served at Tuch de Luna is a work of art, carefully prepared and presented elegantly and subtly.

Creativity is one of the main ingredients in Chef Martha Ortiz's kitchen. At Tuch de Luna, this creativity is manifested in the fusion of traditional flavors and techniques with contemporary presentations. Each dish on her menu tells a story and will leave you with a story to tell as well.

Her project, Tuch de Luna in La Casa de la Playa, leaves a legacy for its commitment to preserving and innovating Mexican culinary culture.

Chef Virgilio Martínez

He's a renowned Peruvian chef who has made his mark on national and international cuisine. In 2009, he opened his restaurant, Central, in Lima, which stands out for its focus on lesser-known Peruvian ingredients and its concept based on the country's altitudes and biodiversity.

Central has been included in "Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants" for several years, and in 2022, it claimed the top spot on the list. The same year, it also secured the second position on "The World's 50 Best Restaurants" list. In 2013, his Peruvian restaurant "Lima" in London was awarded a Michelin star, showcasing Chef Virgilio's talent and ability to elevate Peruvian cuisine to the next level worldwide.

At the helm of Estero, the restaurant at La Casa de la Playa, Chef Virgilio presents a concept that allows you to discover the diversity and richness of flavors from the sea, underground rivers, mountains, and the Amazon, disruptively fusing Peruvian and Mexican cuisines. Estero draws inspiration from the diverse landscapes of Latin America, from the Caribbean coast to the Amazon rainforest, where unusual ingredients are combined with modern cooking techniques.

Chef Virgilio's dishes are always based on two main ingredients, so on his menu, you will find shrimp and corn, mussels and seaweed, squash and spices, tuna and insect caviar, octopus and agave, wagyu and caviar, mango and Andean mint, cocoa, and honey. The chef's creative and distinctive touch is evident in the most original presentations, combining textures, shapes, and colors to create beautiful dishes that abstractly represent the landscapes of Latin America.

In conclusion, Estero is a unique culinary experience that allows you to discover the diversity and versatility of unconventional yet representative ingredients from each region. Its authenticity and impeccable dish presentations will confirm why Virgilio Martínez is one of the world's top chefs. 

The Rivera-Río Brothers

Rodrigo, Daniel, and Patricio

Rodrigo is the eldest of the Rivera-Río brothers. After several years of making a name for himself in the culinary scene of the north of Mexico, in 2015, he and his brothers Daniel and Patricio embarked on their life project called KOLI (cuisine of origin). KOLI, which means "grandfather" in Nahuatl, is based on the value of family, where Rodrigo, as the chef, Daniel as the pastry chef, and Patricio, as the maître, shape this concept.

KOLI is recognized as one of the top 120 restaurants in the country by the "Guía Culinaria Mexicana Nespresso - St. Pellegrino." It has been nominated twice as one of the restaurants with the best service in all of Mexico by "Gourmet Awards México," it recently appeared on the list of "Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants" in 2022.

The Rivera-Río brothers have expanded their vision and participate in other culinary projects where they continue to make a mark and elevate Mexican cuisine. At La Casa de la Playa, their legacy is consolidated in two fine dining restaurants: Lumbre and Centli. 

At Lumbre, they invite us on a journey through northern Mexico, paying tribute to Sonora, Chihuahua, and Nuevo León cuisine, where you will find innovative dishes, always marked by the flavor of grilling and smoke. Their menu includes interesting proposals ranging from pork rind and tuna tacos to beef barbecue, kid goat with foie gras, and suckling pig with beer sauce.

At Centli, they take us on a journey through southern Mexico, paying tribute to the milpa and its main ingredient: corn. The states of Yucatan, Chiapas, Veracruz, and Hidalgo serve as the route to discover traditional and innovative cuisine. Their menu recreates experiences you can only taste in Mexico's most remote and magical places. Crab tacos al pastor, mushroom mixiote, langostino mextlapique, colado tamales, and many other delights with corn as the main ingredient.

Sandra Fernández


She is considered the most important and influential leader in Mexico regarding wines and spirits. In 2022, she was appointed "Sommelier of the Year" by CANIRAC and has been publicly recognized as the most prominent wine promoter in the country by the Mexican Sommelier Association, among many other national and international accolades. 

As the corporate sommelier of Hoteles Xcaret, Sandra plays a fundamental role in creating the wine lists for the different restaurants and selecting the perfect pairings for each dish in the signature restaurants. Her main objective is to offer guests a diverse and high-quality selection through carefully curating wines that perfectly match the essence of Hoteles Xcaret. To achieve this, she has established connections with significant national and international wineries to provide a variety of authentic and diverse labels that go beyond the conventional.

Sandra has been the mastermind behind "Cava" at La Casa de la Playa, a unique experience where guests can enter any time of the day and choose the wine that suits their taste. They can enjoy it in place, take it to their room, or even bring it to dinner.

The culinary experiences offered by the Cuisine Collective within the All-Fun Inclusive® concept of Hoteles Xcaret are a great reason to visit each of the many restaurants. So, prepare your must-tries list and enjoy the wide variety of dishes on your next visit, all crafted by the best chefs from Mexico and worldwide.

Cazador de puntos instagrameables, me gusta explorar nuevos lugares de comida y recomendarlos con mis amigos. Soy originario de Guadalajara pero decidí ser costeño ya hace varios años. Me encanta ir a la playa, la fotografía y la tecnología.


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