Rick Bayless at Axiote Restaurant in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen offers a multitude of restaurants, many recommended by our new friends and neighbors. But our primary method for finding a restaurant has been to walk around town and look at menus. On one of our menu strolls, we happened by Axiote where we saw a sign advertising a special dinner created and prepared by Rick Bayless, Cecy Gonzalez, and Xavier Pérez Stone. We paid for the dinner on the spot and looked forward to another unforgettable night of our roving retirement.

dinner announcement


Rick Bayless has long been one of my favorite celebrity chefs. I have followed Rick since he won the first season of Top Chef Masters on Bravo over a decade ago. I have not been to any of his Chicago restaurants, but we were fortunate to stumble into his Frontera Cocina outpost in Disney Springs in Orlando and we made a point to return for his Cochinita Pibil another time we were in town.

Unbeknownst to us, Axiote restaurant in Playa del Carmen is run by Xavier Pérez Stone, a celebrity chef in Mexico, which is really no surprise in retrospect. The first meal we had at Axiote, a few weeks ago, was very good and very interesting. The special dinner included Xavier, Rick Bayless and Cecy Gonzalez, a great chef from Monterrey. When we asked Cecy what brought her to town, she said “We’re all friends. Xavi invited us, so we came.”

Food Porn

Rather than repeat the menu, here is a picture of it:

Naturally, all the food was well prepared and tasted great. Some standouts for the night were the Hirasuma (fish) with Strawberry and Melon (and seaweed) from Xavi, Rick’s Beets Pibil and Grilled Squash Gratin, and Cecy’s Short Rib with Chorizo Risotto.

After all that food, we barely made it through the desert dishes of Chocolate cake and chocolate mousse, Mango Rice Pudding and a Quesadilla with Goat Cheese and Pecan Praline. Somehow, though, we rose to the challenge.


We are thankful to Rick, Cecy, Xavi and the entire Axiote restaurant team for a wonderful evening. Of course, we look forward to future meals there to savor the creative and inspired cuisine. Reflecting further, the entire food scene in Playa Del Carmen has been exciting to learn about and experience. Despite being a tourism-driven town, there is a lot to enjoy here beyond nachos and beer. All of this only serves to heighten our resolve to make the Riviera Maya a recurring part of our roving retirement.

Which Celebrity Chef would you like to serve you?

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  1. Wow! How cool is that??!!??!! Larry and I also really like Rick And have watched numerous shows on PBS. So happy for you guys to have had that experience! Enjoy your last few days down in the beautiful Mexican Rivera. ❤️

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