WHAT IS CEREMONY
Ceremony offers us a way of stepping outside the realm of our day-to-day lives and into the realm of the transcendent. Ceremony is a way of touching that in us which is sacred. But what exactly makes a moment sacred? No matter what form a ceremony takes, there are 3 elements that universally mark the passage from the ordinary into the extra-ordinary: Community, Attention & Choice, and Heart.
There is a reason that all ceremonies are performed in the presence of community. Something simply magical occurs when we gather together for a shared purpose. There is a creativity, vibrancy and depth that emerges through relationship that is far greater than the sum of any of the individuals present.
ATTENTION & CHOICE
The quality of your attention and how you choose to use it are the single greatest resources that you have to give. When we step into ritual and ceremony, we consciously call forth the sacred through the focused application of our attention and choice in the present moment. How you show up truly matters.
The third element common to almost all ceremonies is that they function in some way to return us to our hearts, and into a heartfelt participation with life. In our daily lives it is all too easy to lose touch with our heart – to feel isolated, separate, or numb. To forget the profound depth that is available to us in any given moment
A Gastronomic Ceremony with The Culinary Alchemists is an experience for all the senses, where you come as strangers and leave as friends.
For centuries gatherings take place around food – people come together, share a meal, share their energy and most of all share their time. “Breaking bread together,” a phrase as old as the Bible, captures the power of a meal to build relationships, bury anger, provoke laughter, and create connections. A healthy and conscious way of living means to nurture body, mind and spirit. Nurture your body with outstanding healthy gourmet cuisine. Nurture your mind by being open to meet people from different cultures with different experiences and nurture your soul in a positive atmosphere sharing with like-minded people. So come join us at our ceremonial table and be open to the magic of community.
With just one seating per night and a limited number of guests, you are guaranteed an intimate and unforgettable dining experience.
Our Gastronomic Ceremony consists of 12-15 compositions, that will change every month and will never be announced in advance. It is part of the experience to keep an open mind without preconceptions of what will be served.
Your Ceremony starts as soon as you make your reservation. We invite you to think of an intention and hold it in your heart from that moment forward. On the day of service remember to hold your intention and hold the gratitude for granting yourself the experience about to come. For days, we have been preparing the space and the compositions that will be served for your Ceremony. We have smudged (cleansed the energy with sage, palo santo or other traditional ingredients) ourselves and the space so everything is ready for your experience.
To maintain the harmonic balance that we intend to provide, there is a strict “Ceremony Etiquette” in place, which each participant must agree to when making their reservation. After the last composition we close the Ceremony together and the chefs will be available for questions and comments.
“Being a restaurant owner/chef is the dream I never knew I wanted. My style is an expression of my life experiences…lots of contrast. Not just in flavor, but contrast in color and texture as well. I started cooking when I was 12, but never cooked professionally until much later in life. I became vegan in 2012 to improve my health, and as I relearned to cook without all my usual ingredients, I got much more passionate about it. I developed a line of raw vegan cream cheeses, and I started doing live cooking demos at local farmers markets. I started thinking about having my own restaurant but knew nothing about how to run a restaurant kitchen. So, I quit the job I had and applied for a job as a prep chef in the busiest kitchen in the town where I lived. A 4hr working interview later, I was hired. Nine months later I was running a kitchen with 7 employees. Shortly after, I received an offer from a friend in Costa Rica to run his kitchen, and 3 months later I was on my way. I spent 2 years in Costa Rica and that is where I really started to develop my style. But it wasn’t until I went to Ecuador in 2017 that I really started getting serious. I was doing small public dinners a couple times a month and was booked months in advance. That quickly led to my first restaurant, Mico’s Oasis Verde, in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. It was a gourmet, family style restaurant… completely plant-based and gluten-free. Six months in, I realized that family style wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted more complex creations and special menus. I wanted gourmet, high cuisine, Michelin style tasting menus. I needed a new venue. I closed my restaurant in Dec 2019 and moved it to Cuenca the 3rd largest city in Ecuador and a much larger tourist/foodie destination. I rebranded, refined the concept and El Oasis, alta cocina consciente was born. This is when I teamed up with my partner, Chef Annie, and with her added skills and passion, we evolved from a gourmet tasting menu to a full-blown Gastronomic Ceremony. After reaching #1 out of nearly 700 restaurants on TripAdvisor in just 20 months and receiving 2 nominations for Best Foreign Chef in Ecuador 2021 and 2022, we accepted an opportunity to move our gourmet, ceremonial concept to Costa Rica and rebranded once again as The Culinary Alchemists.”
“Life is about creating experiences. At The Culinary Alchemists we aim to create a magical unforgettable gastronomic experience in a ceremonial setting, that will warm the hearts of our guests and stay with them as a loving memory. Beautiful dishes, each one a unique expression of art, love and passion with the purest and highest frequency plants that we have available.
Cooking has always been part of my life. When you eat, you need to know how to cook. I learned the basics at home and also worked in different kitchens. I gave cooking classes to our cleft friends in the Philippines and cooked for our volunteers in Ecuador. I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life, but in order to create on the level that we do, with all our self-imposed restrictions, I had to unlearn and relearn. And that is also what life is about: to learn, to unlearn and to relearn. Keep flowing with the whispers of the universe. My personal journey of conscious unlearning started back in 2007, when I swapped my successful banking career for a backpack to travel around the world. Following my inner voice, creating art, writing, becoming an author and living a nomadic life, guided me to Vilcabamba, Ecuador where I dedicated a full year to the study of plant medicine, living surrounded by nature in a simple cabaña with no refrigerator and only an outside shower. This simple life was so rich that to this day, both my daughter Malia and I, treasure this experience as one of the most valuable and formative ones. The world situation in 2020 changed our plans and led me to accept an invitation to work with Chef Mico in his kitchen in Cuenca. Together we created the concept of the Gastronomic Ceremony and reached #1 Restaurant in Cuenca out of over 700 in less than 20 months. Most recently, following the whispers of the universe again, we accepted an invitation to move our world-famous concept to Guanacaste, Costa Rica and became The Culinary Alchemists .”
Together, Chefs Annie & Mico, have created an experience like no other. A Gastronomic Ceremony at the highest level. Their self-imposed challenge is to create bold, rich flavors without the use of animal products, gluten, soy, white sugar, and all chemical/artificial ingredients. They focus on using local, ancestral ingredients and presenting them with creativity, innovation, and style…. The Culinary Alchemists’ style. Welcome to the experience of food that not only pleases your palate, but nurtures your mind , body and soul. Welcome to your Gastronomic Ceremony, exclusively with The Culinary Alchemists.