My parents immigrated from Mexico City when I was very young. Our family moved around often but wherever we lived, my parents would find ways to have a garden and cook creatively with what we could afford. My father was an amazing cook and we thoroughly enjoyed eating as a family. Meals were always together, at the table or at my grandma Mama Chello’s house. Her kitchen was filled with the smell of warm tamales, hand made tortillas and menudo; all the yummy goodness my grandma would always make. Food was the ingredient that kept our family strong.
However, shortly after my 16th birthday my father was killed, which devastated my entire family. As the oldest of four daughters, I was immediately thrown into the role of caring and cooking for my siblings.
This early experience in life molded my love for food and pushed my desire to have my own business. At the very young age of 17, I became a mother. Long story short, I went on to have three very talented, athletic wonderful kids. To care for my children I obtained an Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies and worked as a Paralegal for about 10 years until my kids became self-sufficient. It was then when I decided to follow my passion for food. I trained as a chef, and graduated first in my class at National Culinary School in December of 2011.
For years I cooked on a budget and always seemed to be the only parent in my neighborhood to shop and eat healthy. During soccer practice I’d bring bananas, oranges or home baked goods. On trips to the beach I was the one with the fresh fruits and veggies. Because I was the oldest and started cooking at a very young age, I really cared about what kids ate. I became an open kitchen for the local kids, and always acted as an advocate for them. Always making sure they weren’t hungry or being mistreated. I enjoyed practicing my skills on them; they were honest and wouldn’t eat anything that didn’t taste good. I learned how to cook healthy on a budget and as I honed my skills, people began noticing.
Now that my kids are grown, it’s my turn to showcase my talents and follow my dreams of owning my very own cafe. I believe in food and its’ power. I want to create a special place where people can turn to for a healthy alternative. I know what it takes – I’ve been there. We just have to make this dream come alive.