My guest today fondly remembers his hometown of Mazatlan, a Pacific coastal town, for its amazing seafood. Daveed Placencia now lives in the Riviera Maya, where he owns a private chef service and in-home cooking course. His business is so popular, he has hired four other chefs to help him keep up with all the new business.
Daveed moved to Puebla in Central Mexico to study biology, but found himself spending all day, every day, in a lab. He quickly tired of being inside, so when a friend invited him to Cancun, he accepted without hesitation. Once in Cancun, Daveed accepted an opportunity to volunteer for Global Vision International (GVI). He says his life changed the moment he submerged himself underwater for the first time. He knew he wanted to study marine biology and do field work.
When he returned to school he had to change his focus. Daveed had a scholarship but it left very little money left for food. He made an arrangement with his friends to cook if they bought the food. He got permission from a professor to bring his food to school to sell and soon got paid to cook private dinners for parties.
In 2008, Daveed moved to Puerto Morelos, and got a job with Centro Ecologico Akumal (CEA), monitoring the bay to make sure tourism activities were sustainable. Hotel and tour operators paid his salary by way of donations.
Daveed decided to open his chef service company while continuing to work his day job. He would go to the rental houses of tourists or snowbirds, and cook traditional Mexican recipes passed down from his mother. Today, people are requesting different menus. Daveed still has his favorite, such as his mother’s chicken with mushroom cream and chipotle, fish tacos, and his favorite dessert, zucchini chocolate cake (a recipe a Canadian volunteer shared with him). Daveed and staff also provide in-home cooking lessons, which he says are fun for both adults and children.
It’s obvious Daveed loves Mexican gastronomy and biology, but he says making happy moments is the best thing in his life. He fondly recalls the friends he made in Puebla, the town in Central Mexico where he discovered himself, started his studies and lived on his own for the very first time.
Daveed’s Favorite Spots in the Riviera Maya:
● Banco Chinchorro — Off the coast of Mahahual. The coral reef is amazing.
● Xcacel Beach — The entrance fee goes directly to the turtle protection program.
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Email Kay: Askkay@locogringo.com