Logo (since 1999)
Food Festival News Section


Chef stirring

You are here > Home > Food Articles

Food Festival News >  Holbox Gastronomic Festival



From Amateur & Basic Cooking Classes to Professional Chef Training & Degrees -  Associates, Bachelors & Masters
More than 1,000 schools & classes listed for all 50 States, Online and Worldwide


1st Holbox Gastronomic Festival A Huge Success


Hundreds Flock to Small Island off Cancun’s Coast to Taste its Culinary Treats

Holbox, Mexico (September, 2012)
The first Holbox Gastronomic Festival was a huge success as hundreds of locals and tourists flocked to the small, picturesque Mexican island just north of Cancun between August 30 and September 3 to celebrate the region’s best chefs and culinary delights.

More than 25 distinguished chefs participated in a grand tasting of the island, featuring their tempting – and unique – specialty dishes, including lobster pozole and chilpachole (traditional Mexican stews with a twist), crust pastor mushroom casserole, and stuffed squid. A panel of celebrity chefs, journalists and food and wine connoisseurs judged the dishes, and awarded 12 Golden Forks based on several criteria such as presentation and creativity.

Hotels reported an extraordinary 90 percent occupancy rate thanks to the festival, which was organized by the Island of Holbox Restaurant Association in an effort to showcase the island, and some of the finest restaurants along the coast with diversified culinary options from Mexican to International fare. A usually peaceful, charming destination, Holbox featured more Caribbean flair than ever over the four-day period, as locals and tourists jammed to salsa music while strolling down sandy streets to sample the island´s traditional dishes.

“It was so wonderful to share a taste of the island with so many people from all over the world at the first Holbox Gastronomic Festival,” said Denisse de Kalafe, president of the I.H. Restaurant Association. “I’m glad we were able to capture the attention of visitors looking for gastronomical offerings in paradise.”

Chef Dana Fernandez of Casa Sandra took home the “Golden Fork Award” in the Excellence Category – or the best in show – for her flavorful and locally-inspired pairing of a lobster and yucca salad with a mojito and rum-infused fish filet entrée. After a lifetime of cooking for her loved ones in Cuba, Fernandez moved to Mexico in 2009 to study cuisine. A year later she became the top chef at Casa Sandra in Holbox.

The cuisine was so delicious that judges had a hard time choosing the winners, which is why some categories featured a three-way tie.
The winners included:

  • In the International category, Casa Lupita’s Chef Monica Nieto was celebrated for her lobster burger main dish; Chapulin Restaurant’s Erik Chapulin featured a delicious roasted sea bass salad with mandarin vinaigrette and goat cheese starter; and Chef Luca of La Guaya delivered a tasty ginger and citrus-seasoned fresh fish appetizer.
  • Chef Moises Vera of Suchi de Holbox and Chef Enrique Madera of El Colibri each took home a prize for their fusion-inspired dishes.
  • In the Mexican and Holbox Roots category, Chef Magali of Buena Vista was celebrated for Ceviche; Chef Mariela of El Farito for stuffed jalapeños; and Chef Norma Agaez of Villamar for fresh shrimp-stuffed fish.
  • Chef Jorge Melul of Mandarina Restaurant, Chef Marco Antonio Trejo of El Mangle Restaurant, and Chef Polito of Las Marquesitas De Polito each took home a prize for their delicious desserts.


Among participating judges: Marta Chapa, a prominent Mexican artist and author of several celebrated cookbooks; Deby Beard, an icon in the wine business and well-renowned life and style journalist; and Suzanne Tracht, a notable chef highlighted by Food and Wine Magazine as one of the “Best New Chefs of the Year” in 2002. Other judges included Mexican television show producer and on-air personality Oscar Cadena; and Marco Beteta, a local artist and entrepreneur regarded as the go-to person to learn about the best in Mexican food and travel.

Just 26 miles long and separated from the mainland of Mexico by a shallow lagoon, Holbox is considered a paradise unspoiled by tourism, featuring white-sand beaches and calm, crystalline waters that blend with the horizon and populated by exotic species of flora and fauna. Holbox is also perfectly situated near three islands: Yalahau, Passion Island; and Bird Island or Isla Morena.

Most of the people of Holbox make their living from fishing and you’ll often see fishermen walking through the village carrying nets with their catch of the day, which is part of what makes seafood such a specialty on the island.

Festival goers received hotel accommodations, airport transfers, lunch and dinner at any of the 25 participating restaurants, a boat tour of the three islands and the Yalahao cenote, and a 30-minute massage with full ocean view with their ticket purchase. Tourists who purchased individual packages with any of the agencies promoting the festival received a delicious lunch and three-course dinner, including a dessert, at any of the 25 participating restaurants for just $36.

Stay tuned for information on the 2013 Holbox Gastronomic Festival, which is expected to be even better as it will be six days long instead of four days and will feature local wine sommeliers, too. Visit  for the latest information on next year’s taste of the Island of Holbox.

About Cancun
Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is Mexico’s number one tourist destination and is known all over the world for its spectacular beaches, unique beauty and breathtaking turquoise waters.
Cancun’s shoreline recently underwent a $71 Million Dollar makeover, that featured 1.3 billion gallons of sand to renovating the Hotel Zone’s seashore.  The most popular tourism destination in Mexico and Latin America has also added to its sun, beach, and nightlife, by creating a unique five-day route that will offer visitors a chance to experience adventure and interaction with nature. Cancun and the Treasures of the Caribbean invite travelers to discover the vast natural, cultural and gastronomical cultures of Puerto Morelos, and the four islands of the Mexican Caribbean: Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Cozumel. Cancun is a multifaceted destination that combines nature, historical Mayan Culture, glamour, luxury and world class tourism with the seduction for adventure, the passion for paradisiacal nature and the enchantment of gastronomical magic.




  Food Festival News   |   North Fork Horseradish Festival   |   Fish & Chef on Lake Garda   |   Big Island Chocolate Festival   |   Coffee & Tea Festival NY 2014   |   Hood River Hops Fest   |   Savor the Season NYC   |   Culinary Trends at 15th AITC   |   33rd NY Wine Experience   |   Great American Beer Festival Weddings   |   Barista Competition   |   Taste of Colorado Awards   |   Holbox Gastronomic Festival   |   Taste of Hawaiian Range   |   Holbox 1st Gastronomic Festival   |   20th Hospice du Rhône   |   Big Gateaux Show Winner   |   Opa! Big, 'Fat' Greek Festival   |   Philly Great Beer Expo   |   4th Taste of Playa   |   9th Texas Steak Cook-Off   |   Adelaide Hills Winter Reds Festival   |   Hawaii Food & Wine Lineup   |   Culinary Events at Gettysburg   |   New Orleans Wine & Food Experience   |   Emeril Lagasse at Newport   |   Taste of the Hawaiian Range   |   Houston Wine & Food Week   |   Monterey Wine Festival   |   26th Ojai Wine Festival   |   Gettysburg Gingerbread 2010   |   Delaware Food Tastings   |   PA Governor's Culinary Award   |   China Oil 2010   |   China Wine 2010   |   Gala Italia   |   National Pie Day 1/23   |   Circleville Pumpkin Show   |   Puerto Vallarta Gourmet Festival   |   Golden Spurtle Won by Bob's Red Mill   |   Kosherfest 2009 Preview   |  Paris CookBookFair 2010   |   Sydney Int'l Food Festival   |   Best Meatballs at Cuisine of Queens   |   Breakfast on the Bridge   |   Mohegan Sun Winefest   |   Porkapalooza 2009   |   World Porridge Championship   |   Meals On Wheels Benefits from Festival   |   Georgia Shrimp & Grits Festival   |   Epicurean Classic News & Photos   |   Buffalo Wings Catch A Dream  
  Home   |   About Us & Contact Us   |   Food Articles   |   Food Festivals   |   Shopping   |   Food Links  

Please feel free to link to any pages of from your website.
For permission to use any of this content please E-mail:
All contents are copyright © 1990 - 2019 James T. Ehler and unless otherwise noted.  All rights reserved.
You may copy and use portions of this website for non-commercial, personal use only.  Any other use of these materials without prior written authorization is not very nice and violates the copyright. 
Please take the time to request permission.