Restaurant culture, especially Fine Dining, has undergone major changes since the world events of 2020. Challenging times inspire introspective and creative solutions. A burned-out chef has nothing left to give and since the energy of the chef flows directly into her/his creations the focus is shifting to balancing work and life in a healthier way. As a result, we see more fine dining establishments with fewer opening hours. Rising food costs have led to a more conscious, sustainable approach to minimalizing food waste and using/reusing as much as possible. Payments in advance had to be introduced to counteract guests who would make 3 reservations for three different places on the same evening, or just not show up without canceling, not considering the financial loss they cause for the businesses. Vegan places have become more popular and even some world-famous Michelin-star restaurants have changed their concept completely to follow the latest trends only to discover that cooking 100% plant-based means having to learn a completely new way of cooking.
The frequency of dining out has lessened and has become more intentional. Leaving the house has to be worth it. The times of cheap ingredients and heavily processed foods and oils are coming to an end. Going out to dine is supposed to be an experience for all the senses with homemade creations from fresh-grown produce rather than just mixing store-bought, prepared items together. ‘You are what you eat!’ is no esoteric claptrap anymore but has entered common knowledge.
Since the end of 2020, ‘The Culinary Alchemists’ have refined their worldwide, unique concept which unknowingly checked all the boxes of predicted industry trends. A concept that steps outside the box of traditional Fine Dining and combines creativity and health in a way that has not been seen before- a multi-plate offering of mouthwatering gourmet food, conducted as a Ceremony. A karma-free bonanza graciously provided by Pachamama. Every composition is presented with style and innovation, in an artistic way that makes each one a work of art, almost too pretty to eat, as many of their clients have said. Edible art, nurturing body, mind, and spirit while infusing elements of molecular cuisine like foams, gels, and caviars. A fusion of textures, colors, and flavors that will not just please the palate, but nourish the soul.
Is that a vegan place?
While the kitchen is 100% plant-based, the chefs don’t like to use the word vegan because of the pretentious dogma associated with it. Every person is different and has to find the individual diet that resonates with them. The majority of their clients are not plant-based, they are gourmet foodies who appreciate the bold flavors, textures, and combinations and not one has left their place unsatisfied or hungry. In fact, many have stated, “I would be vegan if I could eat like this every day”. The chefs follow their personal calling of showing the level of complexity and depth of flavor that can be reached while focusing on healthy ingredients such as plants, seeds, and fungi and their sacred properties. There is more method to their madness than one might think, as the chefs explain; “Because of our complex concept, we don’t allow substitutions, so by maintaining very strict limitations in our kitchen, it allows the majority of people to come and enjoy what we do. Our kitchen is not just plant-based, it is also gluten-free, soy-free, and free of refined white sugar, chemical and artificial ingredients, binders, and preservatives.”
Who are The Culinary Alchemists?
The Culinary Alchemists is a family-run operation comprised of two chefs; Chef Mico EagleFeather who has run several kitchens in the US before starting his own restaurants in Ecuador, and Chef Annie Lulu who traveled the world for over a decade with her daughter before joining EagleFeather in Cuenca, Ecuador to open and run his second restaurant: El Oasis, alta cocina consciente. Within 20 months they reached #1 out of over 700 restaurants on TripAdvisor and garnered two nominations for Best Foreign Chef in Ecuador. Together, Chefs Annie Lulu and EagleFeather, following their heart’s intuition, have created the concept of the Gastronomic Ceremony. The evolution of their concept turned out not only to tick all the boxes of the newest Fine Dining trends, according to industry news, but go above and beyond with a truly unique dining experience that attracts foodies and destination diners from all over the world.
What is the Intention behind the Gastronomic Ceremony?
The intention of a Gastronomic Ceremony is to hold the space for people, individuals, and strangers, to come together at a communal table, and share in the magic of a group experience. “Come as strangers, leave as friends”, is their mantra and they have witnessed its truth over and over. “Breaking bread” with the intention of the highest frequency in body, mind, and spirit. To enjoy a meal that is prepared with the highest level of consciousness and attention to detail. To make every participant feel connected and appreciated by not only receiving healthy and delicious edible art but also by experiencing an abundance of magical and unexpected surprises. Fine Dining, not just of the highest caliber but on a completely different level.
Eating with your Fingers?
There is a strict Fine Dining Etiquette in place but the time of 6 different dining forks has come to an end. Eating is a sensory experience and the more of your senses that you can incorporate, the more depth to the experience. Even though The Culinary Alchemists are gourmet, fine dining, they encourage their guests to use their fingers and fully enjoy the colors, flavors, and textures of their creations. “Honestly,” they say, “We love it when we see our guests use their fingers to get every last drop of sauce from the plate. It’s one of the greatest compliments a chef can get”.
Why is it so difficult to get a reservation?
Quality before Quantity. The two chefs prepare everything…butters, cremes, sauces, condiments, breads….from scratch, without the usual team of kitchen helpers and cooks that most gourmet restaurants employ. Since the energy of the chefs is infused in all of their creations, their main task is to keep their own energy as pure as possible, which also means balancing work and life accordingly. In addition, the energy of each participant is integral to the overall flow of the Ceremony. The Culinary Alchemists share their creations with a carefully selected, intimate audience. Seating is limited and due to the immense preparation that this concept requires there are only a few ceremonies offered per month. One can not simply walk in or make a reservation to attend a Gastronomic Ceremony. To experience this worldwide unique concept, one has to apply with a reservation request, which involves agreeing to their strict Fine Dining Etiquette, designed to set the expectation, guide the flow and balance the energy for this 4-hour experience.
If you feel the call to participate in a true Gastronomic Ceremony with the Culinary Alchemists, you can submit your reservation request through their website and once confirmed, you will receive all the necessary details, including their exact location in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.