Sea to Plate

MUSA's incredible coastline is a region abundant with delicate and delicious sea life and nostalgic maritime explorations

In the quiet seaside village of Puerto Vicente, just 30 minutes south of MUSA, you may get lost in an old-world fishing adventure across the unpopulated coastline of the abundant Costa Grande. Just remote enough that commercial and charter boats don’t regularly traverse its waters, chances are you’ll have this hidden stretch of the Pacific to yourself, known to many as one of the best ports for Sailfish, Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, Wahoo, and Roosterfish. With our dedicated ethos for food; one rooted in quality, locality, and sustainability, we set out on a sunrise expedition to explore the origins and habitats of the celebrated seafood that make our menus so inviting in flavour and appeal.

Watching the sky turn blue to pink as the sun gently reached beyond the Sierra Madre, our panga cut through the glassy waters of the Pacific as we looked for signs of schools of fish fluttering below. Cruising just beyond the waves, we pass empty beaches speckled with palms and flocks of pelicans searching the water for fish. Small, spotted dolphins join in on the search as we punch forward, leaping beside the boat with interest and curiosity.

Free divers rise to the surface in faded scuba suits, hauling their humble bounty of wild clams and oysters they hand-harvested from the biodiverse waters below into the panga bobbing on the surface.

A region rich in fishing history, diving is a culture steeped in family heritage, with generations of local fishermen supplying fresh crustaceans and mollusks to villages across Costa Grande at large. Unaffected by the latest gear and tech, free divers rise to the surface in faded scuba suits, hauling their humble bounty of wild clams and oysters they hand-harvested from the biodiverse waters below into the panga bobbing on the surface. An important, and precious part of the marine ecosystem, clams are sorted and returned if undersized, or not yet at full maturity, before sparingly taking only what’s needed for the coming day’s menu.

In a successful search around the edge of a small offshore isle just beyond the shores of Papanoa, south of MUSA, a solo diver explores headlong, and returns with his daily catch of fresh pulpo (octopus), hanging from his rope belt.

The captain of our journey is MUSA chef, Rodrigo ‘Mole’ Serna, and his cousin, local fisherman, and Sheriff of the port town in which we launched from. Native to our region of Costa Grande, and born into a family of divers and fisherman, Serna is a natural with seafood; offering fresh and flavourful ceviches and crudos from the local produce every day at MUSA.

“Zihuatanejo and Guerrero have greatly influenced my gastronomic career. Guerrero is a place full of flavour, full of life, where we can do something unforgettable. When you arrive here you feel at home, you feel unique, you feel inspired, you feel something unforgettable. Something that makes you always want to be here, right?” - Chef Rodrigo Serna

For Serna, cooking is rooted in family – the bringing together of loved ones at the table, and the combination of all the flavours of land, sea, and agriculture from across our fertile territory. “I was fortunate to be born here on the coast. On my paternal side, my family were ranchers and farmers; they produced milk, corn, mango, and coconut. My grandmother was a great cook, so I was always very attached to the culture of cooking. On my mother's side, it was a family of fishermen and divers, so we always had consistent quality. In other words, if there was nothing to eat, we went fishing or diving (for pulpo, oysters, and mussels). That started to give me a tickle for the kitchen. How can a meal bring the whole family together?”

Docking back at port, we combine our small haul of clams and oysters, and purchase a handful of fish from an unassuming seafront mercado, before heading back to MUSA. With every culinary element possible locally sourced and handmade in the MUSA kitchen, Serna prepares each dish with intention and technique to let their robust, yet delicate natural flavours shine through. At our restaurant, the day’s adventures begin and end with delicious, seasonal plates such as our signature crudo del dia; a dish that brings into focus the ongoing effort to reduce our footprint and empower the micro economies of our humble, surrounding communities.