Culinary traditions of grandmothers honored at YAYA, the new restaurant at the Chileno Bay Resort
Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Hostel Resorts Collection, is one of Los Cabos’ top dining destinations, with Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz’s Comal on everyone’s hit list. The resort now ventures into pan-Mediterranean cuisine around the theme of grandmothers’ contributions to various cultural traditions, including Italian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Palestinian – and, of course, Mexican. YAYA, which means “grandmother” in Italian and Greek, celebrates the recipes of generations of female home cooks with a menu centered on wood-fired cooking. YAYA will also source as many products as possible from female vendors.
Chef Eliana Godinez traveled to Italy to study her mother’s family foods, training with Massimo Bottura at the three-star Michelin Osteria Francescana before returning home to Mexico City to work with Jorge Vallejo at Quintonil. Along the way, she deepened her love of baking, which at the start of the pandemic she and her husband, Orli Del Angel (now the hotel’s executive sous chef), turned into an artisan bread business, starting with babkas and expanding into a wholemeal bread operation.
Godinez’s ties to pastry appear throughout YAYA’s menu, first and foremost with the bread each guest is served when seated. Essentially pizza dough 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 his current favorite dishes are shrimp aglio olio with peperoncino – which is a combination of Mexican and Italian pulses, with adobo, tomatillo, onion and Aleppo pepper – and pizza of the day, offered alongside the classic Marguerite. She also loves crunchy, clean, organic raw vegetables, like a rainbow on the plate, with spreads like fermented lentils with sumac and basil oil.
The Italian wine list goes with everything on the menu, and senior mixologist Yared Alba’s cocktail program includes Condesaa gin distilled in Mexico produced by women, and Mezcal YOLA. A new communal drinking experience offered here is the concept of sharing beer, much like wine is traditionally shared. Cerveceria Cielito Lindoa women-led brand in Jalisco run by brewer Laura Peña, is served in large caguamas (32 ounce beer bottles unique to Mexico) with several glasses.
Based in Los Angeles Studio MAY designed the space, which overlooks the three-tier 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 happening all around. For special events and outdoor activations, YAYA will spill over onto the resort’s El Limonero lawn, in addition to outdoor seating adjacent to the restaurant.
Along with Godinez’s energetic, elemental fire cooking, YAYA is another jewel in Chileno Bay Resort’s crown, and the restaurant opens just in time for visitors to dine at the hotel, which had become harder to book at short notice because of Comal’s success and popularity. And it’s great to see a hotel brand shine a light on women’s contributions to the culinary scene, both historically and in terms of cutting-edge contemporary contributions. Make reservations here.