Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, is one of the hottest dining destinations in Los Cabos, with Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz’s Comal on everyone’s hit list. The resort is venturing now into pan-Mediterranean cooking around the theme of grandmothers’ contributions to various cultural traditions, including Italian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Palestinian — and, of course, Mexican. YAYA, which means “grandmother” in both Italian and Greek, celebrates the recipes of generations of women home cooks with a menu centered around live-fire cooking. YAYA will also source as many products as possible from women purveyors.
Chef de CuisineEliana Godinez went to Italy to study the foods of her mother’s family, training with Massimo Bottura at Michelin three-star Osteria Francescana before returning home to Mexico City to work with Jorge Vallejo at Quintonil. All along the way, she deepened her love of baking, which, during the beginning of the pandemic, she and her husband, Orli Del Angel (now the hotel’s executive sous chef), turned into an artisanal bread business, starting with babkas and expanding into a full bread operation.
Godinez’s ties to baking appear throughout YAYA’s menu, first and foremost with the bread each guest is served upon being seated. Essentially pizza dough that she calls “air bread,” Godinez embraces the metaphor of two or more people breaking bread as they begin a meal together.
In an interview last week, Godinez said her current favorite dishes are shrimp aglio olio with peperoncino — which is a combination of Mexican and Italian impulses, with adobo, tomatillo, onion and Aleppo pepper — and the pizza of the day, offered alongside the classic Margherita. She also loves the crisp, clean, organic raw vegetables in the crudité, rainbow-like on the plate, with spreads such as fermented lentils with sumac and basil oil.
The Italian wine list goes with everything on the menu, and Lead Mixologist Yared Alba’s cocktail program features Condesa, a gin distilled in Mexico City produced by women, and YOLA Mezcal. A new communal beverage experience offered here is the concept of sharing beer just like wine is traditionally shared. Cervecería Cielito Lindo, a women-run brand in Jalisco led by Brewmaster Laura Peña, is served in large caguamas (32-ounce beer bottles unique to Mexico) with multiple glasses.
Los Angeles-based Studio MAI designed the space, which overlooks the three-tiered infinity pool, to be a cool respite from the Cabo sun. The open dining room and open-hearth kitchen encourage guests to observe the cooking and mixology going on all around. For special events and outdoor activations, YAYA will overflow onto the resort’s El Limonero lawn, in addition to alfresco seating adjacent to the restaurant.
With Godinez’s energetic, elemental live-fire cooking, YAYA is another jewel in Chileno Bay Resort’s crown, and the restaurant is opening just in time to allow visitors a chance to dine at the hotel, which had become more challenging to book on short notice because of Comal’s success and popularity. And it’s great to see a hotel brand putting the spotlight on women’s contributions to the culinary scene, both historically and in terms of cutting-edge contemporary contributions. Make reservations here.