Los Cabos Magazine | Summer 2016 69 D I N I N G Many top chefs in Los Cabos have, in recent years, been moving away from Baja Med–style fusions in favor of a more Pan-Pacific culinary approach. Such fusions—primarily fresh, local seafood paired with Japanese and Peruvian accents and ingredients—may seem novel to visitors, unless of course they’re familiar with the brilliance of Pitahayas chef Volker Romeike. He has been a pioneer of eclectic and delicious Mexican-Asian fusion cuisine in Los Cabos and its foremost practitioner for more than 20 years. Romeike’s concept is more sophisticated and significantly broader conceptually than that of his contemporaries in the local fine dining scene. It encompasses cooking styles and traditions that extend from México to China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippine and Hawaiian Islands. Guests at his popular seaside restaurant—the name comes from a cactus fruit prized by Baja Peninsula residents for centuries—delight in the chef’s eclectic yet unerringly delicious combinations: Filipino-style lumpia spring rolls with Mexican pork carnitas and Southeast Asian Kaffir lime, for example, or jalapeño-and-honey-glazed pork belly plated with sweet potato plantain mash, Hawaiian barbecue sauce, and Asian ratatouille. Romeike’s unique approach dates to his time in Hawaii, when his exposure to numerous Pacific Rim cultures led him to begin experimenting in the kitchen, blending a variety of Asian accents with the European cooking techniques he learned growing up in Germany. This initial fusion style was successful from the start, but it has become more fleshed out since the chef opened Pitahayas in 1995 at what was then a Hyatt property but is now the gorgeous Hacienda del Mar. In fact, it is only in the last few years that he has fully integrated traditional Mexican ingredients and menu standards into what is now a melting pot of far-flung Pacific Rim influences. The results speak for themselves. Romeike has been declared one of the best chefs in the world by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, which has awarded Pitahayas its prestigious Five Star Diamond every year since 1998. The restaurant has also received the AAA Diamond award for excellence, and its driving creative force has been an honored member of the Chain de Rotisseur since 1999, Club Vatel Mexico since 2000, and the French Culinary Academy since 2001. From top: Chef Volker Romeike is the man behind the acclaimed menu at Pitahayas; Mexican and Filipino flavors combine for a carnitas lumpia roll.
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