From Friday, April 20 through Tuesday, April 24, Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot of Penn Quarter's Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar will bring an intimate group of 15 travelers to Havana, Cuba for a rare look at the island. 

Working with Insight Cuba, the leading provider of authorized people-to-people travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens, Chef Pernot accompanied by his Cuban-born wife Lucia, whose great-great-grandfather was Cuba’s 3rd president, together will be hosting guests and offering the first chance for most Americans to travel to the island which, until recently, has been restricted by embargo-era U.S. regulations.

The group will depart from Miami, Florida and head to Cuba for a five-day, four-night journey through Havana. 

The culinary tour is open to the public and cost $4,000 per person for double occupancy accommodations and $4,500 for single occupancy.  The cost includes:  round-trip airfare to Cuba, hotel accommodations; all meals; each day’s guided activities; U.S. Treasury Department License and Letter of Authorization from Insight Cuba; an English-speaking Cuban tour guide; all entrance fees for scheduled activities; all Cuban ground transportation, transfers and taxi fares to restaurants, paladares and other scheduled destinations; travel health insurance; emergency medical evacuation; trip cancellation coverage (up to $1000); and an Insight Cuba Travel Handbook

The cost excludes the expense of traveling to Miami before departure, air and visa processing fees, a departure tax of $25, baggage fees, alcoholic beverages, and tips given to service staff.

“Over the past year at Cuba Libre, we’ve been strongly devoted to bringing our guests the authentic Cuban experience through our menus and transportive ambience,” says Chef Pernot, a James Beard Award-winning chef who traveled to Cuba three times in the past year and fully embraced the culture and its emerging culinary scene. 

“Now, we’re finally able to show them the places, taste the foods and meet the people that inspire us.”

Five-star hotel accommodations will be provided by Hotel Palacio del Marqués de San Felipe y Santiago de Bejucal, an elegant hotel in a historical building located in Old Havana.  Through Insight Cuba’s licensed “people-to-people” program, Chef Pernot and his wife will help fosterfirst-hand connections between Americans and Cubans as the group navigates bustling city life, historic landmarks and discovers the new tastes of Cuba. 

The program, which highlights meaningful interactions with the people of Cuba, will include activities such as:  a walking tour of historic Old Havana with stops at the famous Cathedral Square, Plaza de Armas and the City Museum; a presentation on the evolution of Cuban cuisine at the Cuban Culinary Association; a trip to “Finca Vigia,” Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home where he lived from 1939-1960 and penned “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea”; a visit to UBPC Vivero Organopóniceo Alamar, one of the most successful organic urban farms in Cuba; and Convento de Belen, “The Convent of Bethlehem,” a former religious institution which now functions as a place of recreation and culture and also offers medical care. 

In addition to dining at the hotel, guests will travel to numerous local paladares, Cuba’s popular restaurants typically set inside a chef’s own home as well as other restaurants. 

Renowned paladares on the itinerary include those participating in Cuba Libre’s popular guest chef series, Pop-up Paladares, which invites Havana’s most notable chefs to cook at Cuba Libre and showcase the new cuisine of Cuba. 

The first event of the dinner series was held this past January in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and another chef will be invited this summer.

Award-winning Chef Guillermo Pernot traveled to Cuba three times in 2011. 

Each voyage has brought new inspiration to Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar’s exciting menu, reflecting the current culinary movement that is emerging in Cuba. 

Chef Pernot is the first American chef in over 40 years to cook in the embargoed country. 

He has earned numerous awards here in the United States and is one of the leading chefs in today’s culinary scene representing Latin American food. 

He is a two-time James Beard Award Winner, once for “Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region” and again for his book ¡Ceviche! Seafood, Salads and Cocktails with a Latino Twist which was named “Best Single Subject Cookbook”. 

His former restaurant ¡Pasión! received numerous awards from magazines such as Philadelphia Magazine, Gourmet,  and Fodor’s.  Pernot was named Esquire’s “Chef of the Year”, and was also name one of Food & Wine’s “America’s Ten Best New Chefs as well as Restaurant Hospitality’s “Ten Rising Stars.”

The restaurant is an affiliate of GuestCounts Hospitality which operates a diverse portfolio of restaurant, catering, and nightlife concepts in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Orlando and Washington, DC including, Brûlée Catering by Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, Square Peg (a restaurant opening in Philadelphia this spring),  Gourmetro Catering and 32° Luxe Lounge. Principals Barry Gutin and Lawrence Cohen bring a unique combination of expertise to each of their projects and have been partners in the hospitality business since 1995. For more information about Cuba Libre, please visit For more information on GuestCounts Hospitality please visit or call 215.922.3200 x132.

For more information about joining the trip to Cuba email

Chef Profiles, Industry News