From the mountains to the sea: the journey of Dancing Chef Haley

dancing chef HaleyI have always thought of life as an adventure, so when I decided I wanted to do something outside of what most 19 year old college students do, everyone that knows me was not surprised. This summer I decided I wanted to do something different, so I moved to the island of Cozumel Mexico and become a Dancing Chef for the famous Salsa and Salsa tour (aka best summer job ever).

I was born in the mountainous state of Colorado. I get my adventurous side from my family, because when I was in 2nd grade, seeking adventure, my family decided to move to the sunny island of Cozumel, Mexico. I attended a bilingual school, so I am fluent in both English and Spanish. I lived in various parts of Mexico for 10 years including Cancun & Mazatlán. Growing up in a different culture gave me an exclusive view on life and I am always eager to meet people from all over the world and hear their unique stories. I recently moved back to the United States for college. I am currently double majoring in Restaurant, Food, Beverage Management and International Hotel & Tourism Management.

dancing chef haley with guestWhen I joined the Salsa & Salsa team this summer in Cozumel as a dancing chef, I didn’t know what to expect. I had done my research on the show and the company before moving down to the island for 3 months, and from what I could tell, everyone who had ever attended the Salsa & Salsa show had loved it so I was excited. This job was not only a fun summer job where I could live the island life in paradise, but also a learning experience. Customer service is a huge part of the hospitality industry and working for Salsa and Salsa, I got the hands on experience that cannot be taught at school.

My first day meeting my fellow coworkers, I realized I was walking into a family. From day one, they made me feel like I belonged. How many people can say that after their first day in a new job, in a different country and speaking a foreign language?! I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I realized working as a dancing chef that you need to treat every day as a new experience because you never know who will walk through your door.

Working for Salsa & Salsa this summer not only taught me the important things in the hospitality industry, such as: working on my personal skills with clients, learning how to do inventory, helping out in the kitchen and seeing what it actually takes to run Salsa& Salsa on a business standpoint, but also fun things like:

  1. I can’t Salsa dance to save my life, but I will have a blast trying and making up new moves of my own with my awesome dance partners.
  2. People can get very creative and involve a lot of “Styling”, as us dancing chefs like to call it when it comes to salsa dancing
  3. You truly can change anyone’s day with a smile (and maybe a couple margaritas 😉 )
  4. Tomatillos are actually from the goose berry family
  5. I will never go back to the old red roma tomato, white onion guacamole ever again

dancing chef haley with group photoThis summer has definitely been an amazing experience not only as being a stepping stone in my career and future, but learning a lot about myself as well. You never know what might happen, and even though you might be given the same show day in and day out, every day and every person walking through our gate is different, and I love the diversity. “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey

Con mucho mucho amor,

Dancing Chef at heart, Haley Saul.

LELA hits the road

Salsa LelaLELA (Lead, Encourage, Live and Act), the symbol of the altruistic side of the Salsa and Salsa tour, has recently turned 3 years old. She started a a little piggy bank at Salsa and Salsa in Mazatlan in 2010, filled with hope, positivity and love for the community. Since then LELA has collected over $30,000 USD for many organisations and charities world-wide and continues to touch the hearts of many guests who visit Salsa and Salsa in Mazatlan, Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas.

LELASalsa and Salsa also takes care of the communities, with charitable giving, which is awesome!” – Jonathan S.   South Carolina

We also gave to L.E.L.A. and paid it forward to help those in need!” – Heidi Bradshaw

They also have a program of donation to deserving organizations.” – Travelsalotindiana

 It was the perfect excursion: great staff and family-friendly – plus Salsa and Salsa even supports various charities.”  – Glenn F, Texas

Many guests who joined Salsa and Salsa and donated to LELA themselves, suggested their favorite charity to the Dancing Chefs. The simplicity of paying it forward has been the driving force behind this initiative. LELA has supported small and big charities alike.

Hands On NashvilleCozumel humane societyBack2Back

LELA has grown up and the time has come for her to discover the world. The Dancing Chefs are very proud and excited to announce that LELA will hoof out to discover unknown trails. During the last 3 years charities were embraced by LELA at 3 locations in Mexico, but now LELA will visit and help out your charity with the most amazing FUN-raiser you can think of. Yes… it’s true: the Dancing Chefs will hit the road and visit your location to with the #1 Tour from Mexico.

Do you need to spice up your charity dinner or event? The Dancing Chefs will teach everybody how fun cooking and dancing can be…. Salsa style! For more information and availability, send an email to

And finally…. one last big OLÉ!!!!!!!    🙂

The Sacred Mayan Journey

The Maya civilization blossomed in the southeast  of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and parts of Honduras and El Salvador between the years 250–900 AD. The Maya were, in many experts’ view the most brilliant civilization of pre-Hispanic America. Their knowledge of astronomy, mathematics and astrology, amaze scholars until this day. The Mayan heritage can be appreciated in the many temples complexes in the Yucatan peninsula.


Religion was present in every facet of Maya life. They believed in predestination and followed a complex astrology. To win the gods’ favours they carried out elaborate rituals involving dances, feasts and sacrifices. One of the most mystical and beautiful rituals that was carried out was no doubt the sacred journey from Xcaret to Cozumel island. The Mayan word for Cozumel is Cuzamil which means ‘Island of the Swallows’.


For the Maya the sea was a two-faced authority. On the one hand the sea represented food and commerce. On the other hand the sea was seen as a dangerous place and an entrance to the underworld ‘Xibalbá’.  The sacred journey was performed to make requests to the goddess Ixchel (goddess of midwifery and medicine). In the early 16th century, Maya women seeking to ensure a fruitful marriage would travel to the sanctuary of Ixchel on the island of Cozumel, the most important place of pilgrimage after Chichén Itza. With the arrival of the Spanish this rite disappeared.


The journey today……

This ritual of Mayan navigation was revived in the past decade, with a strict adherence to historical clothing, rituals, dance, music, gifts and canoes. This unique adventure and unrivalled experience takes place in May and is open to the general public. Currently there are over three hundred participants in the Sacred Journey every year. Find out more about this topic on

Being born and raised on the island of Cozumel I do feel like it is a very sacred place, which warms your heart and if you leave, it always calls you back. I am happy to see that so many people from across the globe get to see this beautiful place, like our dancing chefs that visit us everyday. This is why I wanted to share with you the history of the place that I very proudly call ‘home’.


Dancing Chef Amanda.


P.S And because I love food, I also wanted to share with you a quick vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for a rushed day.




Three-layer Quesadilla (1 portion)


2 flour or corn tortillas

Grated cheese of your preference

Red Salsa

Sour cream


Place grated cheese on top of 1 tortilla and cover with the other tortilla.

Heat a skillet (without oil or butter) or ‘comal’ and place the quesadilla inside. Heat on both sides until the cheese has melted.

Pour homemade red salsa on top and a spoon full of sour cream.

And all ready to go! Quick, easy and delicious!!!! OLE!!!!!!!!

Organic gardening in Cabo San Lucas

My love of Organic Gardening and the world around us, started at a very young age. Watching my mother compost around a huge, very old Douglas fir tree in Canada.  Moving to Mexico in 1990 for me was just another step in the ever-evolving education of Organic gardening and cooking.

We purchased virgin land in Mexico and as the construction of our bed and breakfast boutique hotel progressed, I sat above the workers listening to them sing and laugh, working in the intense heat of the day and drew the plan of our garden. We wanted to plant in a way that would allow the indigenous species as well as ornamental and eatable to grow together.

Our B and B was known as Casa Terra Cotta i.e. CTC.  The first photo you will see the workers constructing on our virgin land, the beginning of 4 Casitas and a main building housing the kitchen and an outdoor kitchen. The next photo shows you the culmination of 16 years of Organic Gardening and Perma Culture way of planting (intermingling indigenous species with eatable and ornamental varieties) building on a terraced landscape.  We recycled all shower and laundry water into the terraced landscape through underground piping. All the organic waste from our commercial kitchen went into composting the entire 1/3 acre. Hedging was done with Neem trees and other low-water required vegetation.


Years later, those efforts were well realized. The hours of digging, planting and waiting for the shade and fruit trees, vegetables and herbs to mature were wonderful.  Eventually, we supplied our commercial kitchen with fruits, herbs and vegetables from our own Organic Garden.  So many great people have helped me to understand the soil, the climate and the art of growing food inMexico. The articles and cook books by the great Diana Kennedy, here in Mexico was the first.

The third photo shows the pathway to the kitchen and also my husband Robert and me. He was the designer and contractor for our entire development, me Chief Cook, Gardener and Bottle Washer…ha…ha..ha…we loved every moment of our life in the B and B business.


Keeping in touch with our planet and Mother Nature is an integral part of our being. Our children need to know food does not originate in a box or can, but from the beauty of the soil and its nutrients – in an Organic way to be in harmony with the needs of our planet. Here in beautiful Los Cabos Organic is a way of life and is now taught in our schools. Viva Mexico!

Dancing Chef Sharon

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