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Chef Refugio Silva – Chef Patron – Garza Blanca & Hotel Mousai

Chef Refugio Silva

Chef Silva keeps all of the restaurants running smoothly, behind the scenes. He serves a very important role that is crucial to the kitchen departments, but not always visible to the guests. Today we pull back the curtain to shine a spotlight on Chef Silva.

Tell me about your background, and your role at Garza Blanca and Hotel Mousai.

I was born in Michoacan, and I moved to the United States when I was 14 years old. I lived in Nebraska and I started working in a restaurant there as a busboy when I was 17 years old, and that is how I began my career. I got promoted to dishwasher, then kitchen. I fell in love with cooking and now I have many years experience in international cuisine including Mexican, Italian, French, Spanish and even vegetarian cuisine.

When I decided to come back to Mexico, I knew I wanted to live in a vacation town like Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. I chose Puerto Vallarta because it is close to Michoacan and my parents still live there, so it’s convenient for me to visit them, and also because I vacationed in Vallarta and loved it. I went on vacation and never left! I’ve been here for 10 years already.

When I came here to Vallarta, I started working at the hotel Velas Resorts in the marina as a line cook, and then I moved up to Casa Velas in the marina in the same company. I got my first position as an Executive Sous Chef there, and I worked there for 3 years. Then Garza Blanca hired me in 2013.

 

I worked at Garza Blanca from 2013. I was Executive Sous Chef for Garza Blanca and Hotel Mousai for 4 years. I went to work at a different company in Playa Del Carmen for 9 months, but then I came back here to Garza Blanca in Puerto Vallarta. Now I’m in a different role but because of my experience, I can lend my skills to many areas.

Right now I’m working the Comisariato area, and my current title is Chef Patron for Garza Blanca and Hotel Mousai. Chef Patron means Head Chef, but my particular role is a little bit unique. My role is like the role of chef de partie or chef de cuisine in French; it means the chef in charge of a particular area. My current area is Comisariato.

Comisariato translates to Commissary in English, but this area serves multiple functions at Garza Blanca and Hotel Mousai. The Comisariato is where we do the production of all of the food that needs to be prepared ahead of time for all of the restaurants on the property, including Blanca Blue, BocaDos, The Rooftop, The Terrace, and Aqua Azul, as well as for room service, and events.

Chef Patron - Garza Blanca

We do things like squeezing fresh squeezed juices, cutting meat, preparing salsas, and baking bread and other baked goods.  We keep all the restaurants stocked with the fresh food items they need to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for our guests.

 

I do all the preparation of recipes and I’m in charge of standardization, so all the sauces taste the same in Blanca Blue, BocaDos, and all the restaurants on the property, as well as room service, and events. I’m in charge of quality control so everything tastes the way the guests expect.

 

I have contact with the chefs from each department, so if something is wrong they tell me immediately and we can correct it.

This is a part of Garza Blanca and Hotel Mousai that is really behind the scenes. You might not think about all of the preparation that goes in running the numerous restaurants on the property. We buy fresh ingredients and make everything ourselves on the property. It takes a huge staff to make everything for the restaurants we have. I have 45 people under me that I supervise.

The Comisariato is also the staff kitchen and dining room. Every day we prepare shift meals for the entire staff of 681 people who work at Garza Blanca and Hotel Mousai, and I oversee all of that preparation and cooking.

 

Because of my previous experience as Executive Sous Chef, my current position is a floating position because I can perform many functions, I can supervise, and I can fill-in in many departments whenever necessary. For example if there is a head chef missing one day in Blanca Blue or any of the other restaurants, I am the one in charge that day.

 

I also take care of all the food amenities that guests receive. For example I am in charge of the chocolate amenities for VIP members, and my team also handles room service orders. We also make all of the food for events that are held on the property, such as weddings or conventions.

 

You mentioned that you left the company for a while and then came back. Why did you come back to Garza Blanca?

Because I know it’s a great company it’s a great place to work. I’m happy to be working here. I know a lot of people who work here. It’s beautiful. It’s gorgeous. It’s wonderful. Being here and knowing many people made me feel more comfortable working here.

 

Tell me more about your experience working at Garza Blanca.

I love what I do, and that’s the most important thing. I have learned a lot, I have met a lot of people. I am good friends with many of the team members here. When I first arrived I worked as a line cook. Then I advanced quickly into other positions.

 

I’ve had a lot of great experiences here. For example, I have cooked as a private chef for many families staying in the penthouses over the years. They like to see what I do, how I prepare everything. Now, when they come visit, they ask me to cook for them in the penthouse while they’re here. The clients remember me year after year and they think I’m a great chef. They send me emails on my personal email asking how I’m doing, and if I’m still at Garza Blanca.

I have also cooked for a lot of actors and famous people like Eva Langoria for example, and  Mario Lopez and his family. I was in charge of all of the private events for them at the resort.

 

I love to have conversations with people, especially our guests and members.

Chef Garza Blanca & Hotel Mousai

What’s coming in the future?

We have a new menu coming out for events. It’s a big menu, including breakfast buffets, lunch buffets, dinner buffets, and platter menus for weddings, conventions, any type of event at the hotel.

 

What else should members know?

Garza Blanca is a wonderful place for pampering. You can hire the chefs to teach a private cooking class, and they will come to your penthouse and teach you how to make guacamole, pico de gallo or other Mexican dishes. You can also hire the chefs to cook a full meal of any type of food such as Italian, traditional Mexican, Spanish (for example paella), seafood, sashimi, sushi rolls, anything you want. This is a fun activity that guests and members like to do, and I encourage them to take advantage of this service while they’re on the property.